I am craving a getaway. Just a little weekend away with The Hubs and without the kids. It all started when I saw a photo a friend posted on Facebook. It was a picture of a beautiful pool surrounded by lush landscaping with the caption, “…full-service cabana by the adult only pool.” I died of jealousy on the spot. Lucky for you I bounced right back to blog about it. You’re thanking your lucky stars right now, aren’t you?
After my miraculous resurrection, I realized, with some surprise, that the part of the photo caption I was most jealous of was the “adult only” part. See, I’ve always been OK with kids. Prior to having my own children I wasn’t really a lover of kids in a general sense. I liked some kids – namely, the cute ones – but I did not (and do not) believe in the Theory of Universal Cuteness. Sorry. (But obviously YOUR baby is cute, so no need to throw things at me.) All that to say that I was largely ambivalent about babies. If they were around, cool. If not, cool. I thought people who went out of their way to avoid kids were just being ridiculous. I remember going on a date with a fellow many years ago who requested that we switch tables at a restaurant because there was a child nearby. I was shocked and completely turned off. And he ended up being a total prick, so my instincts weren’t entirely off base.
Once I had children, I found that I was far more tolerant of them than before. I understood that they would make noise and messes and it didn’t mean that they were feral little creatures whose parents were obviously inept. I became much less judgmental and much more sympathetic. (Though, for the record, I still feel strongly that children should be taught manners and good behavior.)
So why the sudden change of heart? Why does “adults only” or essentially, “NO KIDS!” suddenly sound like paradise?
Because I finally get it. I finally understand the overwhelming need for quiet and calm. Initially, I thought any situation where I wasn’t directly in charge of children would be relaxing, like: Oh, that baby is crying? His mother will take care of him while I drink this margarita. No worries! But it’s not really like that. My mom instincts still kick in and my brain starts spinning, “Maybe he’s hungry? I wonder if it’s too hot/cold in here? Is there a changing table nearby? Oh poor thing, maybe he’s over-stimulated. It IS really noisy in here…” and on and on and on. I can’t turn it off. It’s possible that I’m the only person whose brain works like this but I’m willing to bet I’m not.
Having children warps your brain.
Need more evidence? Let me present Exhibit B, a little something I call Sappy Mom Syndrome (SMS). Say you’re enjoying a lovely lunch out with your spouse. It’s so nice to finally have a little time together. You can order your food without rushing. You can set your drink anywhere on the table – anywhere!! Nobody is going to grab it! CPS will not be called because a toddler has started chugging Merlot while you were getting crayons out of your purse for him. It’s bliss. You start to relax. Maybe you say something scandalous just because YOU CAN. Then, two tables over, you see a cute little girl sorting splenda packets while her parents guard their drinks and stack all the flatware on the far side of the table. It’s just like when you go to lunch with your little one. *sniff sniff* You start to wonder how your little guy is doing. Is he happy with that grandparent? That grandparent whose mission in life is to give him everything his little heart desires. Probably not. He undoubtedly misses you and is desperately hoping you’ll come home and cut off his grandparent endorsed cookie binge. Maybe you should just call and check on him? No, no. That’s silly. Just text. Yes, just send one really quick text. And ask for a picture. Maybe a few pictures. Or a video, just a quick one! Aww – now the little girl is playing Fetch That Crayon! with her daddy – how sweet! This is a really good time to think about how good your baby smells and how soft their chubby cheeks are and how you plan to squeeze them for six straight minutes as soon as you get home. Next thing you know, you’re asking for your check and discussing the fastest route to get home. If you hurry, you can be there when your little angel wakes up from nap… Boom! SMS strikes again.
Suddenly “Adults Only” takes on a whole new meaning. It’s not just for grumpy DINK’s* whose mojitos go flat at the sound of a stray giggle. It’s the only hope I have for taking a true break. A break not just from the constant activity of caring for two young children but from the incessant mental noise that goes along with it.
So if you ever come across me lying in a lounge chair, unable to form a coherent sentence, you’ll know that I’ve finally reached vacation nirvana; that glorious moment of knowing that my children are perfectly fine and that I can just BE.
Also, you’ll know that I’ve probably had one too many cocktails, in which case you should have someone bring me a very large bottle of Smart Water and summon Ryan Gosling to carry me back to my room. I just want to make sure we all know the correct procedure for this: Step 1 – Smart Water. Step 2 – Ryan Gosling. And if there is no readily available Smart Water just go straight to Step 2. Studies show that Ryan Gosling’s sweat is 4x more rehydrating than the leading electrolyte beverage so I’ll just lick his face…or something…don’t worry…
* DINK = Dual Income No Kids. A phase in my life that I have fond memories of.