Friday, August 31, 2012

Top 7 Parenting Mistakes I Made This Summer

Yes, this was my FIRST summer being mommy to two mildly-functioning humans. Marley, 4 years old, and Holland, 15 months, are both little people now....there's some talking, a little walking, and a lot of pooping.

True, I was a mommy of two last summer also. But that didn't really count. With a newborn, I was in a sleepless-haze-stupor and have no recollection of what transpired during those warm, dewy months of craziness. (I think I was just glad to have the baby out of my body. All I remember is the Darth Vader-esque haaaa phoooo, haaaa phoooo of the breast pump gathering precious drops of goodness from my leaky boobs.)

This summer though....oohhh...I was fully awake! Awake for all of the happy-face-plant in the sand-and-seaspray moments of ecstasy. I witnessed precious first steps, squeals of delight, and the budding bloom of a beautiful and colorful big sister/little sister relationship.

But I was ALSO awake for "let's rip our diaper off and take a shit in the park." I was introduced to "toddler negotiating" and privy to hours of loud squawking from the backseat when any car trip exceeded 2.5 minutes.

Now that the 80-degree heat has retreated and cooler air is breathing some fresh life into my bones, I can see what went wrong...

Here are the Top 7 Parenting Mistakes I made this Summer.
1.) I signed up for too many camps.I guess I was nervous. With school ending and the prospect of endless hours of entertaining two kids, I freaked out. I signed Marley up for 6 weeks of camp at our local community center. The problem? It was from 9am until 12pm. Too freaking short!!! Basically, I rushed to drop off Marley, was late for Stroller Strides at 9am, worked out, went to the store, rushed home to feed Holland, and then rushed to pick up Marley. Marley was starving, rushed home to feed her. Rushed to put Holland down for a nap so I could wake up her in 2 hours to go to Marley's swimming lessons. Which brings me to #2....
2.) Signing up for swim lessons 30 minutes away. What the f-ck was I thinking? OK, this one is actually my mom's fault. She sold me on the classes and promised to help me with the girls. I think she "helped" three times, and then I was on my own...driving 30 minutes each direction in rush-hour traffic and chasing Holland around the perimeter of the pool while Marley splashed around. We lasted 6 lessons until we found something local.
3.) Taking my kids on a week long boat trip on a 39 foot boat. AM I FREAKING RETARDED? I still cannot BELIEVE I did this. For this fiasco, I will blame my husband, Ian. "It will be fun! Live it up, don't be so afraid!" My husband is a yacht broker and has a company "retreat" in Catalina each year. My dad was going on the boat too. I was a little nervous about staying the entire week, but also nervous about leaving the island alone and wrangling both girls onto the ferry by myself. So I went. To be fair, the girls did great! They fell asleep during the 5-hour crossings to and from the island. They slept all night, every night. My dad had a great time. My husband had a great time. Still, I GOT MY ASS KICKED. There is nothing crappier than changing shitty diapers and watching your wild offspring bounce off the walls in cramped quarters. Or watching them figure out various ways to throw themselves off the boat into the ocean. Yes, we spent plenty of time on land, at the beach, getting sandy (I was getting drunk) while my husband took cell phone calls. (Not his fault, just work.) There were some beautiful, fun, amazing moments, but it took a year off my life. So next year...I will go again, but brave the ferry and stay only....3 nights!
4.) Having ANOTHER ginormous party for Marley's 4th birthday. This was the LAST TIME we will every have a huge party in the park. Mark my word. If I do it again, SHOOT ME IN THE HEAD. Yeah yeah, the bouncer was fun, the kids were great, grandparents pitched in and helped out, and most importantly Marley had a blast, but it's too much work. Done and done!
5.) Forgetting that summertime is my husbands busy season and I would feel like a single mom all summer. It's not Ian's fault people want to buy boats in the summer and sales is a round-the-clock job. It's my fault for forgetting it! In the months of July and August he had about 4 days off. 4 days off where he was with us--but not with us--constantly on the phone, the email, setting up a showing or trying to keep a deal together. Next summer I will hire a special summer nanny who will help my tired ass out!
6.) Overestimating my ability to handle stress. Yeah, I think I'm kinda a badass. Turns out...I'm NOT!
7.) Over scheduling everything and not having time to just BE. I screwed up big time on this one. The last week before school has been so slow and beautiful...lazy late afternoons at the beach, fun splashing at the pool, feeling so free and liberating because we didn't have to RUSH anywhere. Next summer we will keep schedules to a minimum and embrace those slow, lazy moments. I promise...

So yes. It was a glorious, memorable summer, full of happy and joyful moments......but...oh hell, screw it.... I'm so glad this summer is over and school is starting!

Did you make any parenting mistakes this summer? Do tell!