Monday, October 15, 2007

Good Cop and Bad Cop Get Away for a Night

As of late, my husband has really stepped up and taken on the role of "bad cop" in our house. I was getting tired of being the parent who had to dish out 99.9% of the negative consequences due to my role as the parent who is with the kids all of the time. I was starting to get jealous of how he could just walk in the door and be so damn popular with all the kids. Each night, shrieks of "Daddddy!" fill the kitchen as he enters the home, and I half-expect to see a cape unfurling in the wind behind him, his fists planted firmly on his hips as he announces in a deep voice that Super Daddy is home and wouldn't these swell children like some candy? It always makes me feel like the shrew in the background, hands also on her hips as she readies herself to shake the wooden spoon at Super Daddy and scold him to not fill the kids up before dinner.

Kids are kids. They don't see that you are the one who gets them fed, takes them places, knows about what is going on in all facets of their lives, and cleans up after them, both literally and metaphorically. Never mind the other little detail involving the Biblical sacrifice of our bodies and minds; that is something they will only ever understand if and when they become parents themselves. Kids just don't think that way. All they see is that we are the ones who enforce homework, who turn the television off and make them clean out the rabbit cage, or who snort in disbelief when they ask if they can go cruise the mall, alone, with some other juvenile delinquents.

Recently I've reached my tipping point. Or as I like to call it, the point where I start seriously researching beach side property in the Bahamas so that I might run away and own my own shrimp shack. Don't look at me that way. I'd still send postcards. And once a year I'd let my family visit and there would be an all-you-can-eat buffet.

In theory, I believe that we shouldn't take our children's behavior personally. I can sometimes live up to my own words, but it's been getting harder and harder, and there have been some huge cracks in my armor. I needed my husband to help me.

He has. In a big way. He's not working such long hours, he's doing a lot more of the driving, and we are dividing and conquering on those days where there are dance lessons, soccer practice, and volleyball. All starting or ending at 5:00. The relief I feel is immeasurable.

This weekend we went on an overnight date. We arranged for some victims good friends to take the kids, and we drove to a resort in the desert. For a blissful time, we were just a couple, just two people who danced under the stars, lingered over an expensive dinner, and didn't worry that someone was going to barge into the bedroom. I had to be peeled away, my arms wrapped around a palm tree, as we readied ourselves to leave.

When we picked up the kids, they were surly over the fact that we hadn't taken them with us. "It's not fair! We are a family! You can't go play without us!" I just smirked. My ten year-old looked at us for a moment.

"Did you and daddy actually swim without us?"

I looked at Bob. He continued loading up the car with their bags, then he simply said, "Marco."

I got into the car.

"Polo."

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Love this. Totally get the tipping point idea. I am struggling tremendously not to take one of my fella's recent (for the past three months!)tough behavior personally. Intellectually, I understand that there are no lessons to be learned in the moment of confrontation-- those need to happen at a quieter time-- but I find it difficult to remain calm, cool & collected at times. Yup, I deserve time outs, too.

Anyway, you are inspiring! Wow-getting away for the night with no kids. Congratulations.

BOSSY said...

Ha!

Lela said...

Ahh to get away! My husband and I went to OKC for a week this summer while the kids went to camp grandma. It was so nice to go to the water park and not have to chase short people, hear whining, and worry about who is going to drown who first!

Circus Kelli said...

Amen, sistah.

Hubby and I haven't been away by ourselves in a while... I think it might be time.

Mary Beth said...

I am not a parent so I can't contribute that way but I can let you know that as the kids grow up, they will understand and, hopefully appreciate, what you went through. My parent's weren't monsters but they weren't pushovers either and they turned out 6 relatively normal kids/adults (we're not sure we're ready to be grownups yet).

dawn224 said...

Marco / Polo ... smirk. Your husband sounds like good people to me.

Robin said...

I can really, REALLY identify with this post. My husband and I are getting away next month for our first "real" (on an airplane! to a foreign country!) vacation since having kids and I am literally counting down the minutes.

Nancy said...

Glad you had some down time together ... Marco/Polo ... too funny.

Rimarama said...

Awesome. I'm glad you got away. Aren't the kids so much cuter upon your return?

I remember my mom always saying how much she hated being the "enforcer" or the "bad guy" and I never really understood it until I became the bad guy myself.

painted maypole said...

ha ha ha ha ha. don't you love the things they think you do when they are not around. Our daughter just doesn't get that we don't play with her toys while she is asleep!

Glad you had some time away, and that hubby is helping out. We know it's YOU who really wears the cape. It's just invisible to anyone who hasn't borne children.

Mary Alice said...

Okay, I am so green with insane jealously over your night alone, that I cannot even write an articulate sentence about good cops. bad cops and tipping points.

Oh, The Joys said...

Nice!

Just Seeking said...

I am so glad you got your time away! You guys deserved it big time!

crazymumma said...

did you swim without them. snort.

hell ya.

BetteJo said...

I love this! Kids don't understand, of course they don't. But they don't have to, it's wonderful that you got that time away to reconnect. And it's fabulous that Bob is stepping up - that's what 'family' is all about! Sounds like you're doing it all right - I am envious!

Daisy said...

You actually swam without them? I loved your response.