Tomorrow my friends get back from Paris. I've been watching their 3 kids for 8 days while they had the trip of a lifetime. I almost cried at Michael's today. I needed some more watercolor paper for a project I need to finish for work tonight. I thought we'd just quickly pop in after picking up the big kid from school. Before leaving the house, I asked the littlest if she needed to go potty. She didn't. I didn't think to ask if she needed to go when we got to the store, but she informed me while we were in the checkout line that she was peeing in that moment. And the only person I could really blame was myself for not just putting her on a toilet earlier.
I have always had a lot of respect for parents. I always knew it was a lot of work - when I lived in Brazil, I had an 8 year old and a teenager who I cared for as a parent. But there, I lived in community. We all helped each other. We took turns across the village and it wasn't like this. The kids are being quiet for a moment now, playing with play-doh that they got in a present from their parents for the day (1 present per day while they are away).
So now I have this overwhelming sense of awe for parents who day in and day out feed little mouths, wipe poopy butts, break up arguments, wipe tears and teach their children how to be lovely people. I've spent a lot of my 20s lamenting over being single. I had such a desire to be married with children. I spent a lot of time saying "poor me." But what if instead of wasting time wallowing in my own sorrows, I was able to offer support to my friends who are raising children.
What if we (as women + maybe even men!) banned together to lend an occasional hand to our parental friends. It doesn't have to be for 8 days, not everyone has a flexible work life like me (I barely got any actual work done anyway). But it could be for a weekend. It could be for a long weekend. Heck, it could even be for a night.
What if we as single people, gave up the immense freedom of our daily lives for a tiny bit so that our married friends can get away for a weekend and spend time holding hands, looking in each other's eyes, laughing, doing something fun, seeing each other - without interruption of someone peeing in the checkout line.
I think that would help our society as a whole. Happy marriages create happy families which create happy children which create a happy culture.
I guess I want to just make a challenge to those other single gals out there - reach out to your married friends and see if they want a few nights away and offer to care for their kids. Don't accept money and tell them to get a massage or something.
In the end for me, even though this hasn't been totally easy, it has been a lot of fun, we've had so many cuddles and sweet moments. Not to mention, it's a drop in the bucket for me in terms of days that I can't do exactly what I want, when I want it. And I know that my friends will remember this trip for the rest of their lives, which makes this all more than worth it.