Sunday, July 3, 2011
At What Cost?
You don't get nothin for nothin anymore.
Maybe you never did.
Most of us are familiar with 'paying the rent' after a big night out.
Be it as a vague recollection or giggly memory of last night's antics.
(I happily sorted receipts for taxation purposes last night - not exactly a wild night!)
But in the past few years (anyone say motherhood?) it seems that every last little thing has it's price. Not always necessarily monetary cost - but definitely in some form.
Be it mother's guilt in bulk, blood, sweat, tears or all four.
These days, it's just a matter of what we're willing to pay, really.
Oh, Maam. I see you chose to indulge in that last glass/bottle with the girls - when we both know you should have hit the road, not the wine.
Let's see... that's going to cost you an inevitable wakening in the night for a child's sore tummy/bad dream/drink of water/cuddle/vomit/earache...
Pushing your bub beyond their 'awake time' threshold?
That's going to cost you a major public meltdown, a screamer of a trip home and a refusal to nap for the remainder of the day.
A night out with Hubby or Hubby & friends?
You'll begin paying for that even before you walk out the door. There's the pre occasion guilt, the organising of childcare and then reorganising when something/somebody falls through, the busting a gut preparing the house, meals, snacks, entertainment, routines... in your absence. Then you have the mid occasion guilt causing you to check your phone incessently, call and text home, play the justification game where you remind yourself and anyone who questions you that you are worthy of a few hours of old fashioned fun. The post occasion guilt is usually peppered with a child's illness, allergic reaction or soiled bed.
A girls' dinner?
That one will set you back an ear bashing and a case of the guilts. Hearing the 'woe to be me' tales of Hubbies having to fend for themselves ie. dish up the perfectly edible dinner you had cooked before you fed the children, cleaned up, bathed the children, wrapped a gift and selfishly spent all of ten minutes in the bathroom before racing out the door.
Trying on clothing - in an actual store?
Leave your self respect at the changeroom door. Trade it for sing songing your little one to "please let Mummy find something to wear so I can put my maternity clothes away at last" or hissing at your toddler to stop opening the door while you are pant less. Then there's all the apologies. For bashing into all and sundry with your stroller / trolley / massive bag, for your son flambouyantly whooshing back the curtains on other customers, for the broken coat hanger, chewed tag or biscuit encrusted jacket. Then the humilating "no, thank you. I won't be taking any. Thank you. Sorry about that. Thanks again."
A sleepover at the grandparents?
These have been known to require payment plans to negotiate the size of such a debt (not in my personal experience, of course!) There's the pre packing of epic proportions, the lack of sleep for little and not so little people, the "Nanna/Grandad lets me" attitude that finds it's way into the car the next morning, the tales of cheekiness and boundary pushing that make you fume and the meltdown that afternoon.
A beauty treatment or hair appointment?
Prepare to feel like a high maintenance 'Hollywood type' for daring to uphold some degree of personal grooming and hair management strategy. The scheduling of such an appointment will require military type precision and planning. Then inevitably having to change your original appointment due to a family 'situation' will leave you feeling like a scatty Mumsy fool who should probably just embrace regrowth up top and the boy leg cut down below.
Trying to answer that last email, finish that last task or wrap an issue up before leaving work for the day?
That will result in the ridiculous dash to daycare to be greeted by the frosty stares of carers and the "No-bodys left here to play with, Mum" greeting. Cue more apologies and guilt.
Forty minutes at the gym, once a week?
Be sure you can afford the wails of "Muuummmm, Muuummm" as you walk out the creche door. Not to mention the 'tears on sight' when you're spotted walking back in the door. Or the heart in your throat as you spend the forty minutes waiting for the carer to summon you from the gym to attend to your inconsolable child. (Thankfully, persistence was the key here. So much so that Magoo saw me return this week and promptly went back to his play.)
I could go on.
You know it.
You also know that the 'rent' is worth every cent.
The property value is astronomical - immesurable - and we wouldn't trade it for the world.
We know the probable costs and we make decisions as parents about what is worth our energy.
I voluntarily rise before the rest of my family a few mornings each week to indulge in a much loved run - trading some sleep for the more valued endorphins.
When Hubby's away I'm learning to swallow my pride, cash in some dignity, and - heaven forbid - ask for the occasional Magoo-sit to allow me to pound a little pavement and run out some bad vibes.
When he is here, Hubby and I have chosen to forego a weekend morning of dedicated family cuddles as a trio in our bed to pursue his or hers individual sporting goals or commitments. For now, we'll cop that one.
We've even gone down a road I thought I would never venture down. Hubby is currently travelling far more than any of us enjoy - with the long term pay off of (hopefully) a positive career move in our sights.
I decide that I'll just wear something I find in the back of the cupboard for now - or rewear the same old trusty favourites over and over. Real friends don't care, right?
I work a couple of days a week and we have made the necessary adjustments to accomodate all the prepping, packing, pushing and picking up that comes with it. (God bless grandparents and fantastic child care). The emotional cost has slowly decreased with every week of our routine.
I juggle like the clown that I am - to get to that hair appointment or waxing and wear the 'bad client' label. I rejig appointments continuously and begin texts to my fab hairdresser andbeautician with "Hi. i'm so sorry but it's me again. Daycare can't fit / Hubby's gone away..."
I get to spend a dinner out with girlfriends every few weeks or so and wear the 'selfish me/guilty me' badge quite happily.
So why do we do it?
Because the odd night out with friends, realisation of a personal goal, precious date night with the love of your life or simply grasping at sanity is priceless.
That said, I've not been able to contemplate/stomach the cost of a weekend away with the girls yet. One day.
What's your price?
How much are you willing to pay?