Do We Overbook Ourselves and Our Kids?
In the running world it’s called bonking. In motherhood it’s called overbooking. The end result is the same: exhaustion.
A few weeks ago I wrote about how the endless stream of company and chaos (albeit, self-imposed) affected my milk supply. Luckily I got it back up by putting brakes on the crazy. Things are much more calm around here lately.
I started to think about why I pushed myself to such a ridiculous point and to to thinking: does it seem like our generation of moms feel the need to constantly get out and “do” more than previous generations? My mother-in-law, my aunt, and countless older moms have teased me about how much Fia and I were on the go the first two years. Part of it was living in an apartment in Brooklyn. You’ll go stir crazy if you don’t get outside. Part of it was the need to connect to other moms. But is there another part in our technologically-obsessed, plugged-in culture that makes us incapable of sitting at home? Or god forbid, letting our children entertain themselves?
Recently I was feeling guilty for not taking Emmett to the “Mommy and Me” movies. Every week in LA a couple of the movie theaters show a new release for moms. You bring your babies. Diaper changes, crying and breastfeeding are the norm. No one cares because you’re all in the same boat. I did it when Fia was 3 months old (we were out here for a brief stretch). Her first movie was “Shutter Island.” Okay, now read the first sentence of this paragraph again. Guilty? For Emmett? He gets no benefit from the movies. It’s purely for me.
Could the play date and having to ”do” something with the kids end up being harmful? Does it gear them up to think they ”have” to be entertained or go somewhere? Instead should we be teaching them calm and quiet? To play with themselves? Commune in nature? My aunt thinks so. She feels that the drive in this generation of moms will lead to some uncontrollable kids/tweens/teens who don’t know what to do with themselves if they aren’t “doing.” As she put it, “Being able to be alone with yourself, entertain yourself, read, etc., is paramount to becoming a well balanced, non-hyperactive teen and adult.”
Are we selfish in wanting to see movies and do yoga while dragging our babies along for the ride in the guise of “mommy and me” classes? Or are we helping ourselves get through motherhood by creating our own villages? If it’s the latter, they are very activity-centered villages. At least mine always have been.
I’m sure the ability to text a friend and get an instant response contributes to the ease of meeting up. Before the age of email and cell phones, it may have been different by default, not choice. But is this the right choice for us and our kids? I don’t know. I think it’s something to ponder.