It was one of the best ideas I had ever had. First Born was invited to his classroom friend’s birthday party at the local moonbounce/lazer tag/indoor playland germ factory. Wait, don’t get me wrong, these places are genius and I have also used them for a couple of my sons’ birthday parties. I mean what is better than having a party, where you don’t have to clean up before, during and after the party. All you have to do is show up, bring the cake and watch them go nuts for 2 hours! The kids love it and you are a guest at your own party. I don’t knock it and I think these places are great. With that being said, when it is not YOUR kid’s birthday, they suck. I know, total double standard, but I gotta be honest.
So First Born is invited to his friend’s party. It is from 1pm to 3pm on a Saturday in January. Normally I would go with him and stay to help out the parents in charge or just hang out with the other parents. However, I did not know anyone at this party. I met the mom and dad at a back-to-school night but that was it. I brought my son in and when I asked if I could stay and be of any help, they basically said, no and just to be back at 3pm for the pick-up. Sounded good to me. I grabbed my son, and had to hold his face in my hands so he would listen to me.
Me: “OK, here is the deal, is it ok if Mommy leaves and comes to get you when the party is over?”
First Born: (Looking at me like I have tusks) “Uh, yea!”
Me: “Pay attention, eyes here, you never leave this play area, you stay with the party, and if you have to go to the bathroom, you tell Mrs. New Friend and you go with a buddy. Look at my eyes, are you listening?”
First Born: “Yep, stay here, pee with a friend, tell Mrs. New Friend. Mooommmmm I am 8 years old!”
Me: “OK I know, and you are a good boy. Now - eyes here! - Remember to say please and thank you and if there is an emergency, what is my cell number?”
First Born: Rolling eyes “610-555-5555”
Me: “Very good, - hey, eyes HERE- are you sure you are ok with me leaving?”
First Born: “MOMMMMM, all the kids are already playing, you can go! Love you!” all this is said as he is running off.
OK, I double check with Mrs. New Friend and I head out to my minivan. I start the car and start going over in my head all the things I can do with this new found 2 hours. I have laundry that needs to be folded, our bathroom needs a good once over, the cat box needs to be cleaned, our yard needs to be cleaned of dog poop, bed sheets need to be changed, etc. etc.
As I am doing this I am yawning. The Little One has been hijacking our bed at night on a regular basis and since it was extremely windy the night before, both Little One and First Born were scared and joined us in bed. We live in a new construction type house and we also live on the area’s windiest hill, so when there is 50mph gusts, the whole house shakes. I probably slept a total of 3 hours that night.
Then it hit me. Hubs is not expecting me home. I could just stay here. I could get some sleep. Oh, I was giddy! I turned the car off, locked the doors and climbed into the back seat of the minivan. It was very sunny so the car would remain warm. The back of the van has tinted windows, so I was not easily seen. I moved the various games, books, and jackets off the seat, used a sweatshirt as a pillow and covered myself with my coat. I set the alarm on my cell phone for 15 minutes before I had to walk back in to get First Born. I think I was asleep within 3 seconds. I woke up on my own about one hour later, arm hanging off the seat, head lolling to the side with drool coming out of my mouth. If someone looked into the car, they probably would have thought I was a dead body. Luckily no one did, or if they did I did not know. I readjusted myself and fell back to sleep for the next 45 minutes, I even hit the snooze on the alarm.
This may seem a bit ridiculous to most. I mean I was 15 minutes away from my house that is fully equipped with my bed. But this was the most peaceful uninterrupted sleep I have had in a long time. There was no one calling me, no one climbing in next to me, no one yelling for me from another room, no one groping me, no phone calls to answer, no computer to look at, no door to answer; It was wonderful. I did have some second thoughts about people seeing me and wondering if I lived in my car. If you look in my car, it kind of looks as though someone could sustain themselves for at least a week, with the half eaten boxes of Animal Crackers, bags of Goldfish, and various half full bottles of water. Not to mention the practical wardrobe of clothes. But I must admit, at that moment I really did not care. I was so excited that I was getting a nap that it just didn’t cross my mind for more than a minute.
Immediately upon returning home I send my First Born into the shower to kill all the germs from the germ infestation. My husband asked, with sympathy in his eyes, “So how bad was it?’ I hesitated. I am not proud to say that it crossed my mind to lie and use this as some sort of leverage, since he got to stay home with our Little One while he napped and I had to go to the party. I KNOW! I am not proud. BUT to my defense, I did tell him that I slept. He looked at me and said “What? You slept? Where?” I told him about my 2 hours in the car like I just cheated on him. I did, I felt guilty.... for about 10 minutes. He just looked at me and said “O.... Kay....” with a perplexed look on his face.
See I know there are some out there who are right with me on this one. I know for a fact that some of you have slept in your car, or in an office, or in a bathroom stall, and that you are all mothers. We really don’t sleep like normal people. As a mother, it starts off with late night feedings, infant rockings, diaper changes, that turn into late night, bad dream soothers, vomit fests, wet bed cleans, cough calmings, thunderstorm reassurances, fever checks, concussion interviews. Not to mention our own late night problems, like night sweats, getting up to pee because these damn kids ruined our bladder, sex since the kids need to be SOUND asleep before I can feel comfortable having sex and generally staying up late because it is the only time we have to ourselves. For instance it is currently 11:47 pm. I should be sleeping, but I enjoy doing this, damn-it and I can’t concentrate on things I like doing when my children are awake.
For my fellow mothers out there you know what I am talking about. You understand what it means to get unexpected alone sleep. Which is completely different than night time sleep. We are still on the clock at night. Mothering does not end when you close your eyes and turn off the light. But when you are curled up in the back seat of your car and your husband is taking care of one and the other is being supervised only 100 feet away, well, you can sleep like a baby.