I’m not Catholic, but this was the best scenario that I could come up with when describing what happened to me on Saturday night.
My husband and I haven’t had a break in ages. Not a single night to ourselves since November of 2011. Between money and having Ursa Minor, The Husband and I have been tethered to home.
Now that Ursa Minor is finally 9 months old, he is FINALLY sleeping through the night consistently. We’re now 3 weeks into full nights of sleep, and I’m knocking on wood as I type this because I really need this to stick. We haven’t wanted to ask anyone to babysit overnight unless we know he won’t disturb them. I also don’t feel like pumping a million bottles, so we’re trying to wait until Ursa Minor is 1 and we are giving him whole milk.
So, sleep problem fixed. Check! Now, about money.
Weeellll, we did our taxes. We’re in no way the Murdochs or the Gates’ or the Romneys, but we are getting enough back from our governor this year that we can avoid a nice dinner and 1 night in a moderately nice hotel. As soon as The Husband told me what Turbo Tax spat out, I was like “WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO WITH IT!?!?!”
Husband, dubious. “I mean, we could put it toward the down payment on the house…” He ventured. God Bless him. and yes, that is a perfectly fine and practical thing to do with this precious bit of money.
But this Mama needs a dinner that is hot and screaming baby free. And this mama needs a night in a king size bed and the opportunity to sleep in past 6:30 without worry or care.
“I really, really need a vacation.” I say sweetly… bugger that: I whine. That’s right, I whined.
Surprisingly, the Husband acquiesces easily. “Alright, honey. Let’s make a plan.”
We don’t have a whole lot of family up here in The North with us. We have the batshit crazy Brother-in-Law and the overwhelmed Sister-in-law, and there is no way in hell I’m leaving the boys with them over night. Luckily, my mother and her husband recently moved here on very happy coincidence. They both work very hard, but they have made time to see us on the weekends and they have even babysat on a few afternoons (not so that we can do anything fun, but so that we can conduct business without worrying about the double stroller). They’ve been begging us for more opportunities to babysit, and they’ve been dropping little hints like “You two never get any time to yourselves. You really ought to make plans to go on more dates just the two of you. We’re available!” And that has brightened our spirits. We’re like “we’ll take you up on that!”
And then we do. And suddenly, it’s a lot of himm-ing and haww-ing, like babysitting is the most inconvenient thing that ever happened to them in the history of grandparenthood. The last time we had them babysit, The Husband and I were apartment hunting and we had a little time on our hands. I call to check on the boys.
“Hey, how are they doing? Are they behaving?”
Mom sighs, “I mean, [Ursa Major] is having a great time… [Ursa Minor] hasn’t been happy since he finished his bottle.”
Me, concerned and apologetic. “Did you give him any of the solids? The oatmeal?”
Mom, distracted. “I mean, we’ve been bouncing him. I didn’t think to give him the oatmeal. He’ll eat that.”
Me, rolling my eyes in frustration. Why would I give you something if he can’t eat it? “Yes, he’ll eat it. If you think he’s still hungry, just go ahead and give him some of it.”
“Great, we’ll just do that then.”
“So, [Husband] and I are hungry…we were thinking about catching a bite to eat at one of these places around here…”
Mom, distracted, sighs. “I mean, sure, not a big deal. You know, don’t rush. We’ll be here. have a good time.”
Me, not reassured. “I mean, we’ll come back if you want us to. Not a big deal.”
Mom, oblivious. “No, we’re fine. Just take your time.”
Yeah, we hurried back and picked up the boys. They were fine, everyone was fine, but I felt the need to get them. I don’t want to inconvenience people with my children. Even my own mother.
So flash forward to Saturday Night.
“Hey, so we got a little money from [Governor of The North] and we’re trying to take a Saturday to ourselves. We were wondering if there is a good weekend in May when we might be able to give the kids to you?”
Mom, another deep sigh. “I mean, this is about the kids. Can they sleep through the night? I just need them to sleep through the night.”
“Oh yeah, totally. [Ursa Minor] has been sleeping through the night for two weeks. He’s totally fine.”
Mom, dubious. “Really? Because I mean, we talk all the time, and you tell me about your trials and tribulations with these kids. And some of that was them not sleeping. So…”
Me, frustrated. “No, [Ursa Minor] is sleeping through the night. And we’re going to wait ’till May so that you can give him whole milk…”
Mom, not satisfied. “Oh, ok, well, I mean, you know, if you want to give them to us, just pick a weekend and we’ll make it work.”
Me, annoyed. “I mean, that’s why I’m asking, because I know that May is traditionally a busy month for you. Will you be on duty or anything?”
Mom, happy for the exit. “Yeah, that’s a busy time for me, you know.”
“Well, we can make it April, or June if you need…”
“Look, [Kay], I’m on my couch, you are asking me about May, I can’t even think about next week…I’ll talk to [Step-Father] and get back to you…we’ll just make it work.”
I then, at that point, am desperate to get her off the phone. I just blurt that I’m sorry to bother her and that it’s not a big deal and that we can wait or whatever…and then I’m like “bye” and get off the phone.
It is so confusing and frustrating when people offer their support and then snatch it back as soon as you choose to accept the offer. Here I am, her daughter, and I share with her the fun, the funny, and the frustrating portions of this journey though motherhood (something we can share, because we don’t share a lot), and here she throws it back at me when I ask her for help.
So when I tell my husband, the only way I can describe it is “it’s like when you give your confession in the booth, and then the Pries uses all of your sins against you…”
So now I don’t even want to go on a day vacation, even though I know that I need it. I need a mental health day and I don’t want to take one because I don’t want to bother my best babysitting opportunity and I can’t trust my alternative.