I hardly ever get a night out, but when I do, there always seems to be some major catastrophe that befalls the rest of my family. Not, of course, calamities that would require a mom to call for help, but daddy emergencies that require immediate attention from the absent mother.
Say, for example, the first time I went on a Moms' Night Out dinner with the girls. Ten minutes in, my phone rang. Assuming the worst (you know, sharp stick in the eye, snake bite, poisoning), I answered in a panic. "What's wrong? Who's hurt? Should I meet you at the ER?" I panicked. "Hey, Honey, quick question, um, which pan do you use to make cheeseburgers?" came his totally serious reply. My heart rate just went through the roof, and he's asking me about cheeseburgers? Someone's going to ER, all right, but it's not the kids. And no jury would convict me.
Or the night that I was sitting in the hair dresser's chair, foils all over my head like something out of a sci-fi movie, when my cell phone rang from deep within my pocket. Ignoring the evil glares of the other patrons, I quietly answered with, "What's wrong?" (See, less panic. I'd been doing this mom thing longer.) I heard the sorrowful voice of my preschooler: "Mommy? Mommy? I can't find my Ariel doll and Daddy didn't make the oatmeal right!" Really? He didn't make the freakin' oatmeal right? It's instant. Add milk, microwave, and you're done. How do you mess that one up? And why are you interrupting my "me" time to tell me that? (And why is a hair appointment "me" time?!)
Or, my personal favorite, while I was at the movies the weekend before delivering my second child. My best friend and I were trying to grab one last kid-free evening before I was back in baby jail with a nursing baby, when I got the call. This time, with panic in his voice, it was, "How do you sing the bedtime song? She won't go to sleep without the bedtime song!" Well, actually, she will. Close the door and tell her to go to sleep. She's working you big time, buddy. If she's two and you've never had to sing the bedtime song before...can you spell "manipulate"?
But the bigger issue is my right to time off. In motherhood, there's no sick leave, no vacation pay, no days off. When you are a mom, it's a 24/7 job. You're never off-duty, ever. Even when you take a night to yourself, you still have to be the mommy - and that's exhausting. So sometimes, kids have to make do with Daddy, who has to step up, take charge, make the decisions. With that in mind, I devised a list of approved reasons to call me when I'm "off":
~Severe blood loss requiring an ER visit or a 911 call (not "where are the Dora bandaids?")
~Prolonged, projectile vomiting (not spit up)
~Fever of 102 or above (and don't ask me how to use the thermometer or where the Tylenol is)
~Fire requiring the services of the fire department
~Broken bones protruding through the skin
And then there's the list of interruptions guaranteed to result in an angry wife:
~Lost toys/loveys/pacifiers (Find it yourself!)
~Cooking questions (Really, just read the chicken nugget bag.)
~Homework questions (You have a Masters degree. Figure it out.)
~Any call including the words "But they wanted to call you!"
~What to allow children to play/watch/eat/do/wear
~Questions relating to the location of common household items, like the extra diapers/pjs/books/thermometer/his mom's phone number/cheeseburger stuff
Slacker Mom Says...guard your "time off". Let the daddies know that your time off is sacred and not to be interrupted without just cause. If he can handle it himself, he'll feel better about being in charge, and you'll relax and enjoy your night out. Just make sure he knows where his cheeseburger stuff is - or, better yet, bring your leftovers home for him and turn your "Moms' Night Out" into Date Night as well. Everybody wins.