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Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Runaway Mom

Do you remember the movie, The Runaway Bride, starring Julia Roberts? It’s a romantic comedy about a woman who has been engaged about four times, but never goes through with the wedding. A reporter/magazine writer, played by Richard Gere, gets wind of The Runaway Bride from one of her jilted fianc├ęs and pursues writing a story about her. Of course, in the end, they fall in love; solve the reason why she runs and get married… eventually.

Such a happy ending.

I was thinking of this movie today and thought, ‘They should have made a movie about the Runaway Mom.’ It would star a beautiful, yet frazzled, woman who is the mom of four or five children. There could be one older child, but all the younger children have to be younger than four AND she must be recently divorced, widowed, separated or something that throws her into the midst of single-parenthood.

Just knowing this brief background about this mom would cause everyone watching to say, “No wonder she runs away.” So, now that I’ve justified the running away for a movie idea, I’m hoping you’ll support me as I run away… Okay, not really, but I really want to.

Picture this: It’s 8 p.m. and my infant is wide away, which is good. In my mind, I’m thinking that if she’s awake at 8 then she’ll be asleep by 10 and possible sleep ‘til at least 2 a.m. The dilemma is since it’s 8 p.m. it’s time to get the 2 and 3 year olds ready for bed. The infant doesn’t take kindly to lying in the crib looking at her toys. Well, to be fair she played for about 10 whole minutes. By this time I hadn’t even gotten the other children in the bathtub yet. So I grabbed the front carrier and strapped her in.

She hung out, literally, for the entire bath time with just a little fussing here and there. I’m not exactly sure if the children got really clean, but they were cleaner! It’s kind of hard to wash up little wiggly people with a little wiggly one strapped to your chest. But, I felt like I accomplished something. I didn’t complain about the sweating or the fact that my teenager wasn’t available to help. (Doing the very important 11th grade homework!)

After everyone is safely tucked into bed, I step out of their bedroom door and it starts immediately. The “it” is the constant calling of my name, the fighting, the playing, the jumping… whatever you can think of that children do that’s what they do. No, it doesn’t stop if I threaten, bribe, spank (hey, don’t send me hate mail because of that), give in… nothing makes it stop. They don’t go to sleep until 11:30 p.m. And that, my friend, is one of the major reasons why I want to run away.

Oh, not because it happens one or two nights a month, but it’s every single night. After two or three nights straight I’m usually at my wits end and starving for some quiet time and obedient children. It’s not just them either – normally during this time the baby is fussing, burping, eating, fussing, fussing, fussing, crying, burping, crying…. ARGH!! I just want to scream or, you guessed it, run away!

What’s a mom to do? I didn’t go through this type of thing with my oldest daughter. Even if she didn’t go to sleep she would play contently. Reprimanding her once worked – she dreaded getting in trouble as much as she dreaded getting immunizations. So, what’s the problem with this new generation of kids?

Am I too old? Less patience? Wrong techniques? What? Thus, the very valid reason for my desire/need to runaway. You’ve been warned: If you don’t hear from me in awhile don’t be alarmed. Just check my closet for the suitcases… and if they’re gone you know that I did it! Escaped to freedom…
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