Monday, July 11, 2011

Survival Flashback: A Night with No Children

** I recently came across a forgotten old blogging attempt of mine, written back in 2007 when we "only" had three children and one on the way. It was pretty fun to read this glimpse into the past; two toddlers and an infant (ages; 3,2 and 6 months at the time) kept me hopping and being  pregnant drastically add to my fatigue. So I've decided to share a few of them with you in the form of "Survival Flashbacks", look for more in the coming weeks. - Leigh Ann**

Every once in a great while, I stumble upon a brave soul willing to pledge the ultimate gift to a tired, stay-at-home mom: a few hours of babysitting. This is quite rare however, as it seems the more children you have, the more friends and family invest in caller ID. Hunting down a sitter, even a paid one, often feels more like an elaborate scam than a job offer. No, they really aren't that hard to watch at all! They go to bed early, will eat anything you feed them and will not under any circumstances try to escape out the back door, I swear!

Hey, ya gotta do whatcha gotta do.

Unfortunately, any reputable sitter with a few years’ experience under their belt would notice the bags under my eyes and desperation in my voice and run like the wind. So as our toddler tally rises, we are left to prey on the guilt of family members. After surviving nearly a year without an evening to ourselves my husband, Brian, and I were pretty desperate for a couple of hours to ourselves. But a well-timed "I miss you" call from the little ones to Grandma scored a far more significant booty. Buckling to the pressure of teary voices (my own included), my mother finally agreed to keep all three children… overnight.

Twenty-four hours! Twenty-four silent, self-absorbed, sane hours. I could barely contain my excitement. Such an occasion even warranted a mid-day phone call to my working husband, whose comparative lack of enthusiasm confirmed my suspicion that he has not endured nearly enough Barney-filled childrearing hours.

When the big day arrived I was surprised at what a complicated process it is to pack up three small children for an overnight trip. They needed changes of clothes for the various activities that were planned, toothbrushes, soaps, creams, diapers, wipes, and bottles, all of which were piled in along side the Pack-n-Play, Exersaucer and bikes. By the time we wedged the kids in amongst their must-have toys and set off on the hour drive to my mother’s house, I began to wonder if it was even worth it. It wasn't until we purged the van and kissed the kids goodbye that blissful reality sank in: we were alone.

Our night of freedom commenced by ejecting our worn copy of "Kid Songs,” chucking it into our now-empty backseat, and replacing it with the first uncensored CD we could grab out of our dusty collection. We enjoyed Kid Rock's foul mouth for the whole return trip without worrying whether it would be parroted back to us in the middle of the grocery store. Our seats were not kicked, no hair was pulled in the backseat, no empty sippy cups were thrown at my head; this was heaven.

Once home, I hopped out of the car and walked straight into the house. Amazing. No wrestling with car seat straps, no dragging weepy toddlers into the house; I got myself from point A to point B and my job was done. I opened all the baby gates and marveled at how fun it was to walk freely from room to room. I turned the TV to a program that featured adults speaking to other adults, without a single colorful puppet in sight and then for my grand finale, I peed—all by myself! The silence was foreign to me and while it was a pleasant change, the house felt empty—a little too empty, the way a house feels right before you move into it. I don’t think I could stand the lack of chaos for long, but my rendezvous with sanity was quite refreshing.

I spent two glorious hours primping for our evening out. I lingered in the bathtub, amazed at how much more relaxing it is when you don't have a young audience beaming you with tub toys and poking at your pregnant belly. Of course, now my mini-spectators are replaced by a husband who is seated a few feet away with the newspaper urging me to hurry up and get out while I still can. I should have had my mother keep him too.

I leisurely applied my make-up, doing my best to hide the pregnancy acne and bags under my eyes. Then I selected my hottest outfit, assuming of course that an outfit containing an expandable belly panel and leak resistant breast pads could be hot. Determined to feel sexy again for just one night, I dug out my high heeled boots and begged Brian to help me reach my swollen sausage feet. Oh yeah, baby, they even zipped up over my cankles. I was totally rockin’.

Once dressed, we breezed out the door and were headed down the road in a minute flat. This was the life. Let our wild, carefree night begin! We had nothing holding us back, we could go anywhere we pleased and do anything we wanted. It was just like our early dating days all over again (well, except for the fact that I had a small human camped out in my rib cage and I had to pee every 10 minutes). 

We arrived at the restaurant a little before the Saturday night rush. Well, okay, more like we got the jump on the 60-year-old early-birders. But that’s alright, no wait-time is a good thing. We were seated and placed our order with an eccentric waitress that prompted a hushed discussion about exactly what we'd do if one of our daughters tried to come home looking like that. Halfway through the appetizer we had pretty much worked our way through every bit of interesting conversation we could think of and started on the old stand-by: "So when exact is the new yellow Wiggle supposed to start?"

After dinner we found ourselves seated back in the car again, engine idling beneath us, waiting to dash off on our next adventure. "Okay! What next? Where do you wanna go?" After spending the next two hours wandering around Target, Wal-Mart and Shoe Carnival (to buy comfy shoes to replace the death heels which I will be promptly throwing away), we concluded beyond a shadow of a doubt that we no longer have any redeeming social value whatsoever. At 26 and 34 years of age, we are far from old; however, constantly immersing yourself in a slew of pre-school-aged children really seems to take its toll.

With our pride dented, we decided to go to the local sports bar to watch a much-anticipated boxing match that was due to start soon. Yeah, that's it! We'll gather together a big group of people and go to the bar! Shooting pool, throwing darts, big screen TV’s on every wall. The perfect environment to get back in touch with our adult life. "So who all should we call to meet us there?"

An hour later we sat, defeated, sucking down Pepsis in a loud, overcrowded bar& grille all alone. One little known fact about parenthood: it's lonely at the top. Our party-hardy pre-child friends long ago deleted our numbers from their speed dial, and our fellow child-laden friends were all sitting at home watching Law & Order. Now I understand why. We were bored, we were tired, and we were feeling a wee bit pathetic. Once the jovial (read: drunk) crowd around us became more than we could bear, we gave up and returned home to our PJs and a movie rental.

The return of our children the next morning was bittersweet. Our alone time was over and the pandemonium began again instantly, but it was nice to be back to our familiar niche. An occasional break is important for parents not only because it gives you time to recharge your batteries, but also because it reminds us why we chose this child-centric life in the first place.

To see more hilarious comics by JJ, please visit

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  1. Amanda Lynch7/11/11, 8:25 AM

    That comic even LOOKS like you and Brian! LOL

  2. It's supposed to look them. The artist creates the comic for the blog. It's so cool that Leigh Ann has someone to do this for her.

  3. Amanda Lynch7/11/11, 10:26 AM

    Oh that is so cool! Didn't know that.

  4. You should have asked Jane and I to child mind your kids while we were there - 5 more wouldn`t have made much difference! Next time we come to Boardman plan an evening out with Brian.


  5. I forgot to mention, your blog was a great read.

  6. After many nights of doing the same thing, I started keeping a list. If I hear of a place I want to go but don't want to take my kids, I will write it down, the same thing with other stores that carries a lot of breakables and stuff like that. That way when we can hit grandmas soft spot and have her take them, I have lots of things to do. Great post though very funny.


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