If Mama Ain’t Happy…
…well, you know the rest. Ain’t nobody happy. As I’ve previously mentioned, I work with a bunch of older people who find it baffling that I choose to keep my uterus free of further occupants. I had a conversation with one of these gentlemen last week. This guy, god bless him, is over 60, has one son, is still very involved with his grandson, and coaches all sorts of youth-league sports. He’s pretty awesome, and I like the guy. Except when he asks me if I’m signing my son up for sports, and I say, “No.” And I have to explain that my sanity overrides baseball.
Let’s get a few things straight. I am broke. Clearly, I’m not living in a Hooverville tent, making bum wine, and training my son to be a pickpocket to make ends meet. But a lot of extras need to be foregone. One of those extras? Pee-wee football, or Little League. The equipment is expensive enough, but did you know that my son grows about six inches every goddamn week? (That may be a slight approximation. I’m not that good at guesstimating.) It adds up. QUICKLY. Second of all, sports parents. They’re the worst. I dated a hockey player in high school, and the most terrifying experience of my life occurred at a roller hockey game when one parent threatened to “rip [your] head off and shit down your throat” when one kid checked another. I don’t believe in getting involved in scuffles between kids because it teaches them to giant weenies (clearly, with some exceptions). In sports? THEY ARE COMPETING AGAINST EACH OTHER. The point of the whole stupid game is for them to have a scuffle, at least on SOME level. Ugh.
Finally, and most importantly, I’m tired. The last thing I want to do is spend 3 nights a week on a goddamn ball field with these nut jobs, then to have to get up at the ass crack of dawn on my weekend and spend MORE time with potentially-even-crazier nut jobs. My child’s father is, for the most part, not involved in any aspect of his life. I register him for school, take him on vacation, feed him, clothe him, console him, laugh when he farts, help him with homework, read to him almost every night, and endure select children’s programming. Without any help from my kid’s father, financially OR emotionally. I’m not saying this to say “Oh, look at me! I’m such a martyr!” Because I am not. If I were, then I would be at a fucking baseball field til 9pm 3 nights a week, surrounded by other children and their batshit parents who take it way too fucking seriously.
Essentially, I do my best for my kid. I’m planning on signing him up for soccer, because it has what seems to be sane schedule for practices and games. Especially for 6-year-olds. I provide him with love, and food, and the occasional screaming match when necessary (“when necessary” = “when he pisses me off which is more than I care to admit.”) But I have to keep sane too. I need to have time to NOT be around my kid, or other kids. Or crazy parents. I need time to drink beer with my friends and watch all the sexy sex on Game of Thrones. I need time to sleep in on Saturdays because sometimes all the time I feel like my job is eating my soul.
I’m not a fucking martyr. I don’t feel bad about taking time for myself. I’m selfish sometimes because I’m a goddamn human being. My son is growing into a pretty awesome little dude (thanks to those with whom I choose to surround us) and isn’t that all that matters? This notion that parents have to sacrifice themselves completely to raise their kids is, quite frankly, fucked. Sacrificing mimosas on a Saturday morning to watch your kid’s soccer game is one thing (there are always Sundays, amirite??), but sacrificing your life and sanity so your kid can learn how shitty adults can be to each other seems silly. You, as a parent, are still a person. Should you stay up 5 nights a week til 4am drinking Jim Beam, discussing the finer points of Motorhead vs. Slayer (APPLES AND ORANGES, PEOPLE)? No. You should not. That is not going to help you raise your kid to be a better person. But spending a Saturday vegging out on the couch, watching a Back to the Future marathon instead of participating in a million sports? Totally acceptable. Stop feeling guilty for still having a life. So long as you’re not using Kris Kardashian or Michael Lohan as your spirit animals, you’re doing just fine.
What about non-team sports? Cooper does swimming lessons, and he loves them. They’re a 1/2 hour once a week, so it’s not a huge time commitment, but he’s still getting the benefit of a sport-type atmosphere, following directions, and learning life skills like not drowning. Plus, if you do lessons at the Y or something like that, they’re fairly cheap.
We’re also doing Taekwondo now, which is easy on the schedule, but is definitely more expensive (Don’t even get me started on the “testing fee” racket).