Why I don’t take my Kids ANYWHERE

There are some parents who have jam-packed activity schedules for their children. Every day. All the time.  They go to art galleries…museums…rock climbing…harp lessons…wildlife reserves…kayaking…wine and cheese tasting…flower arranging classes…skydiving…snake pit dancing… They take them everywhere and their children have lots of fantabulously exciting and intellectually stimulating experiences. I don’t actually KNOW any of these kinds of parents personally, most probably because they are far too busy taking their children everywhere to have a spare moment to talk to me. Or it could be because such parents would never deign to be friends with a loser like me because:

I don’t take my kids anywhere.  (Heck, I don’t even go anywhere myself. The cave is a scintillating place to be, why do we have to go out for?!)

But that’s because the few times that I do try to take them somewhere…really irritating things happen.

I decided to take the three daughters to the library. Sounds simple enough, right? Ha. First drama erupted when Bella decided her regular shoes were just not good enough to go the library in. ‘I want sparkly glitter shoes. Why don’t I have any pretty shoes?’  A five year old having a fashion crisis meltdown  is a horrible thing.

Then the trio couldn’t find an overdue library book. Much searching and yelling ensued. Much messing up of an already messy house was involved in this hunt for the elusive book. Bella cried because she couldn’t find it. Big Daughter snapped at Little Daughter because “its all your fault the book is missing. Why didn’t you take better care of it?” Little Daughter cried. Then Big Daughter asked, ‘Why don’t we just tell the library we lost the book and pay for it?”

“Do you have money to pay for it?” I snarled.

“No.”

“Well, then don’t make such ridiculous suggestions. Get out there and FIND THAT DAMN BOOK!”

After thirty minutes of emotional upheaval, the book was found. Hallelujah. We traipsed downstairs and got in the car. Which is when I noticed my car registration had expired. Just fabulous. The library parking lot is always riddled with parking cops, eager to hand out tickets and fines.

‘Don’t worry,’ the Hot Man said. ‘Go pay for the registration online and print out the receipt. You can put it on the dashboard when you go in the library.’

I went inside. I got online. I paid the registration. I tried to print the receipt. But I couldn’t. Because the printer had run out of ink. Just fudging fantastic!!!!

I went back outside. I slammed the door behind me. It didn’t make me feel any better. This day sucks. Who’s dumb idea was it to go to the library anyway?

For one tremulously wonderful moment, I contemplated cancelling the trip. Telling them all to ‘get out of my car, go inside and watch TV and don’t talk to me for the rest of the day. Not if you want to live…’  I thought about how crappy an ordinary thing like going to the library can be when one leads a messy, disorganized life like me. Those OTHER parents who take their kids everywhere can do that because their kids have sparkly shoes, they have a special shelf for library books so they never get lost (probably bar coded and GPS tracked for extra organizational wonderfulness points in heaven), their cars are ALWAYS registered on time, and their printers ALWAYS have ink in them (with extra cartridges stored for emergencies. Like the Zombie Apocalypse.)  This is the problem with taking my kids out of the house. It’s a reminder to me of what a loser parent I am. Why am I even bothering?!

But then I looked at three hopeful, patient, excited faces. In the car. Waiting. Anxiously. Because I never take them anywhere. Because a visit to the library is about as exciting as their lives get.

So I took them to the library and resigned myself to getting a ticket. What the heck, every other annoying thing has already happened…ticket me! Come on, do it!

And you know what? We had fun at the library. In spite of all my dark threats, there was no overdue fine to pay because little kids books don’t get fined apparently. Everybody got lots of books. All three of them found friends from school to talk to and look for books with. Bella played games and did puzzles. And I watched them all and asked myself, ‘Why don’t I do this more often? Its nice in here…’

Oh – and we finally caught a break – and didn’t get a ticket.

That night, I sat and read library books to Bella. She snuggled in beside me, listened avidly, laughed at all the funny bits and made me read the best books twice. Then she said, ‘Mama, this is so fun. I love you.’

Which of course had me all choked up on equal amounts of happiness, love and guilt.  And promising, yes I will take these children to the library more often. Possibly to the park. Maybe even rock climbing! (yeah, lets not push it. Keep it real Lani.)

And resolving to get some blasted spare ink cartridges for the printer, never be late with my car registration again, buy some sparkly shoes for Bella, and DON’T LOSE ANY LIBRARY BOOKS.

How about you? Please tell me I’m not the only one who dreads taking kids places?

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8 comments

  1. LOOOOVE todays soul post! God, I almost cried tears of “OMG that’s my life”. And more so in this last week. Exhausted. And then feeling like a failure of a parent because I actually have my own life and passions now so there just seems like less and lesser time to do everything. A seemingly vicious circle that always ends with the silver lining of a huge hug and a golden smile at the end of the night to the tune of “I love you mum”. It makes the next day almost worth looking forward to bwahahaha. Are we just glutton for punishment or misdiagnosed for something like but not really insanity. 🙂

    1. I know what you mean Maureen. I spent ten years being a full time parent pretty much teaching myself by trial and error to ‘be a supermum’ (ha). In the last two years as they have all started at school and Ive turned to being a full-time writer, theres been a lot of joy in that for me BUT also lots of challenges and readjustments with my children and how I interact with my family. Its been great to have Darren be at home fulltime with the children this year because hes never had that opportunity and its a joy to see him interact with his kids in a whole new way and for them to know their father in a new way too. He had always been an involved father but working ten hour days, six days a week really limited how much time he could really spend with them. Bella in particular is loving having her Dad fulltime. BUT, I struggle with feeling guilt because Im not the super mum anymore. And I struggle with feelings of loss every now and then because our children do grow up so fast and while I work from home – there are moments Im missing out on and experiences Im not having with them because my main focus now is my work. Its a neverending journey of new discovery and challenges this parenting thing!

  2. Hey Lani,

    I love that you feel your the only one who dreads taking your kids out…The home body I am never prepared me for the day I had to entertain my 3, overenergetic kids.

    I seriously have to mentally prepare myself before even considering taking my lot ANYWHERE!!! The thought of it causes ‘dry mouth’. Don’t get me wrong my intentions are there; but it’s about mustering up the energy and mind set; to be ready & prepared for the unexpected. Believe me not you are not the only one who dreads taking their lot into the big wife world!!!

    Home body ‘me’ enjoys the maddest in my own sanctuary where and if the unexpected was to occur it doesn’t seem so far stretch to remedy as everything is at hand, and letting your agro shine is not at all ‘abnormal’ or out of context!!!

    I can say your experience on your ‘trip to the library’ sounds heavenly compared to my worst experience taking my kids out. If that at all makes you feel any better in anyway?! You need to know your NOT the only one! LMAO!

    Here’s to the dramas signed up for when we made the decision to become Mothers/parents and a slave to responsibility; being our kids.

    You gotta love em’! 😀

    1. YES! my husband doesn’t understand why its such a big drama big deal for me to take these kids anywhere. Theres so much mental prep I have to go through before I take them and then theres all the physical prep of just getting ready to go…so exhausting. He takes them everywhere at the drop of a hat while I have to psyche myself up big-time. Im glad Im not the only one Jess

  3. Just like my days its a big thing to go to the library,like catching a plane all aboard…..we need to come out of our woman caves and feel the sun on our faces,and be happy and ‘ fudging fantastic’ of such is the life of a mother…..

  4. I don’t have kids yet so I can’t relate on parenthood but I can in that going to the library is a great day out, especially when I don’t have late fees from overdue books and walk out with a stack of books that I never manage to read!

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