With my dwindling health, it is now rare that we entertain at home. We’ve started taking each week as it comes. Since I don’t know which day will not be a good one, I try to keep the freezer stocked with precooked food. On my good days, I try to replenish the freezer and make sure the house is in order since we don’t know what tomorrow may bring.
As frustrating as it is for me, it is not easy for my kids. It is definitely not easy for the hub either. But all three of them have been extremely patient and silently modified their lives to accommodate my needs. It would also be really unfair not to give credit to hub’s parents and aunts – they more than willingly babysit the kids when I need them to, they send food and above all, always call with prayers.
The kids have perhaps grown up faster than they needed to, but are largely independent. They dress up themselves, have their own breakfast, change on their own and tidy up after themselves. They know when mum’s out of commission and automatically, pick up where I slack. I try to keep things going in a system so that on those days when I’m out of the picture, they are largely capable of handling themselves.
This weekend wasn’t a really good one. But I had already committed with a training and a baby shower – neither of which I felt I could do but since the headache was mild and nausea wasn’t bad, I popped in my stash of candy(or what Imran refers to my 9 daily medicines as) and pushed myself to plaster on a smile and enjoy.
On Sunday, my headache grew but I tried to clear out the laundry so the kids would have their uniforms ready. In the daily grind of parenting, it always helps to be ahead. Since N wouldn’t be back until Tuesday, I asked Imran to run to home depot so he could pick up some wood to reorganize our laundry room. I managed to get the laundry done, purged the kids toys, reorganized their baskets and was just done vacuuming when Imran called that he’d run into a friend and wanted to bring them over.
No problem. We always enjoy good company.
The friend came over with his wife and three kids. I quickly fried two types of premade kababs, corn and put in a brownie to bake along with some chai. The mum took her kids and we went down to play. We were sitting and talking but the mum was clueless about her children’s whereabouts. The daughter was ripping out the stars from my walls, writing on my kids’ flashcards, wiping vaseline down my sofa, emptying the toy bins but the mom wouldnt look until i pointed it out. Come home time, she picked up her kids and left.
Seriously?! After an entire day of dragging myself to prepare myself for the week ahead, the last thing I wanted to do was face this tornado.
I have been an advocate of child free get togethers, but I don’t promote not visiting people with your kids. I take my kids out during the day, we have play dates and interact with friends. However, we don’t take kids out past their bedtime. We have had days when we had no babysitting, we took the kids to weddings but drove around till they fell asleep and let them stay asleep at the hall. If they woke up, we stayed and left before the kids had a meltdown. We pack cars, dinos, dolls or other toys and notepads with crayons to keep them busy. Its about keeping kids engaged and preventing them from being an annoyance to other people. We attend playdates but clean up before we leave. I admit, I’ve had days when I didn’t but after this visit, never again.
My kids love having friends over. I have a friend who visits most weekends with her kids, but when she leaves, she makes sure the kids (hers and mine) put every single thing away. Although we chill, cook/eat and chat, she always keeps an eye on her kids. Her visit is never painful.
Painful is watching kids running around way past their bedtime at weddings, causing premature wrinkles to cake through the bride’s stressed face. Painful is watching kids smear vaseline on my couch. Painful is cleaning up after guests. Painful is watching bins of unpicked toys. Painful is watching parents unknowingly instil bad social skills in their children.