Monday, April 18, 2011

The Dream versus Reality

At last it was going to happen. Sylvia had placement testing at a place where there just happens to be a Starbucks. It's always been my dream to be one of those people, sipping coffee, either reading or on a laptop, with seemingly nothing better to do. Not every day, but just for a few hours. This, at last, was my chance.

Got my coffee, found a table outside but not directly in the sun, and was prepared for my time. And then a mom with two pre-schoolers sits next to me.

Whenever I happen to be kid-free, I don't want to be around other families. I realize that time off from motherhood is not really time off. You never stop being a mom. But still, those parents actually with their kids feels like an admonishment somehow. An admonishment for wanting to enjoy a few hours sans kids, that I'm not spending enough time with my kids.

To be clear, I know there's no logical reason to feel guilty. Riley was in school, Sylvia was essentially in school, I'd taken a vacation day from work so I wasn't even playing hooky. I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I'd even told someone, "it's not often when I'm actually supposed to be doing nothing, so I'm going to enjoy this." That mom with her kids should not have affected me. So I tried to ignore it and go about doing nothing.

The mom read the kids a story. Okay, fine, no big deal. But then she started asking the kids probing questions about plot and character motivation. "Do you think the alligator was being a good friend?" "What do you think would have happened if the alligator did [x] instead?" "Draw a picture of this scene." OMG, she was relentless.

She'd taken a 10-page book and was guiding her pre-schoolers for a good 20 minutes on critical analysis!

I finally gave up and left.


BigLittleWolf said...

I had to crack a smile reading this. Oh, when you finally earn yourself that break, you want it to really be a break! Amazing how a coffee, a table, a little fresh air and a laptop is - for some of us - pure pleasure, when we can get it.

Tara R. said...

It's that needling guilt that can make a simply break like that stressful. I think you will come to a point when taking some time for yourself will be a welcome escape. A little 'me' time can also make you appreciate the time you have with your girls all that much more.

Erica said...

Bwah!! I wasn't thinking about guilt, I was thinking DAMN! I hate when you get time away as an adult and then kids have to be there to spoil it - we get so little time away. They should have "adult only" coffee shops like how some resorts have "adult only" pools. I love kids, don't get me wrong, but sheesh can a person just get an hour or something???
(Realizing I look like a huge bitch for saying all this.)