The girls have been invited to about 3 places this weekend and my response to the invites gives me pause. Read on if you enjoy my private therapy sessions with myself.
I've been trying to analyze my habit of being home more than "out and about". I am realizing that I'm home more than anyone I know, and I like it that way, but it tends to collide with other people's plans sometimes. It also makes me feel a little backwards, so I'm blogging about it to work it out in my own mind. Keep in mind working part time paired with school in the mornings takes up a lot of time.
First to consider are the logistical aspects of me getting out. I have five children here, essentially a set of 2 year old twins (my cousin's Adri is only 6 weeks older than my Jay). If we are out during Shane's work week, I'm the only adult. Being outnumbered is no fun in my eyes. I don't have a friend who's single, kid free, and ready to go run around at a moment's notice, so there's very little fun involved in the whole thing. Quite the opposite. My children have well thought out debates regarding who gets to sit where in the van. Even Jay has started fully rebelling against her car seat (to no avail, but with much spanking sometimes). Getting all the diaper bags and stuff (Polly Pockets, DS game, whatever) to the car and then back out once we get home is another chore I don't exactly cherish. You know that stuff grows while you happily (or not so happily) move on down the road. It takes 2 trips to get it all out!
Maneuvering around nap time is also a challenge. We don't go by strict schedules, but the babies sleep until roughly 10ish and then go back down in the afternoon. It ain't pretty to mess up a 2 year old's nap-and surely it is miserable to mess up two 2 year olds' naps.
So, how about just running a child or two to another person's house for a few hours? Sounds great and very normal. Yet my first thoughts are to reject this idea at all costs. I know part of this is totally my own issue (yet I don't really know why yet).
This is what has really made me think about my home-habit. What I've come up with so far is that we are really busy at home. (What is everyone else doing? How do y'all have time to spare???) We are still doing some light school work most week day mornings. When we're working through a family read aloud, that's an evening thing, so one of the older girls being out means no reading that night. Karate 2 nights a week and life group takes 3 nights out in a row for family reading. Maybe I work my kids too hard (I doubt it though), but they have responsibilities at home. Keeping Adri is mostly their job, they have animals to tend to and we work throughout the day at keeping the house semi-clean. Our biggest pursuit right now is to keep Jay from biting Adri. This takes man power and when my men, ahem, girls, are out, I feel the loss.
Also, there's always the after effects of an older sister being gone. I guess because we homeschool they aren't really used to one sister being gone while they have to be home. While I completely understand that at times it's very appropriate for only one girl to be invited somewhere, I catch a lot of flack from the sisters who have to stay home.
So, to tally that up, it means I'm left with one less big girl helper and the ones left behind whine to me and bite each other. Sounds peachy, huh?
The ironic thing is, I don't necessarily love being home. If given a choice of a day at home with Shane or a day running errands, exploring the town's little shops, and hanging together, I'd easily choose the out and about day-with no children :) I don't have a home I relish being in all day, but it is the easiest way for us.
Even the entire family going somewhere fun for the day is a huge sacrifice-it takes up many of the few precious hours we get with Daddy and our ongoing need-to-get-done list only gets longer. It has to be a really great thing for all involved or it probably won't happen. Not that we're slave drivers and stay home to get things done every weekend, but without a husband home & able to do stuff in the evenings, it's just reality that we end up hanging around the house on his weekends-both the get stuff done and just to enjoy each other in our own environment.
As I re-read what I have tried to explain, I realize it's pretty much all about me! I don't like the hassle of taking a car full of kids all around town, I don't like being left with the ankle biters, and I don't like our to-do list being neglected. I have agendas for most days and I want to stick to them (rarely happens perfectly). So, is it just "how I do it" or is it selfishness?
Just and edit to add that I was talking to a friend on the phone this morning sharing my little struggle about this and she and I touched on the aspect of it being a totally different dynamic taking your 11 year old to a friend's when I also have little bitty ones in tow. Most people have kids in a closer age range. Not sure this makes a difference to anyone but me, but there ya go ;)