Posted in Lessons Learned

All In Weekend

Last Updated on May 31, 2020 by World's Okayest Mom

An All In Weekend means I polish off an entire bottle of Prosecco but spend the time hearing all 50 punny animal jokes My Girl has memorized.

My life is run by a to-do list – partly because I have a terrible memory and partly because I expect too much from myself. I fully admit that no one puts that pressure on me but myself, but it’s how I am. Acceptance.

But also, I like crossing things off. There’s just such a sense of accomplishment. I’m not alone in that, right?

But my to-do list can make me a bad or impatient mom. Let’s go with impatient. That sounds better. I truly love spending time with My Girl. She’s the funniest, most creative and craziest person I know. But I don’t have time for her craziness when I’m worried about my to-do list.

My All In Weekend

I recently read a parenting article about how to enjoy time with your children. The writer said I needed to “dig deeper”. Really go “all in.”

So when The Husband was gone on a fishing trip, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to have an “all in weekend.” All in. My attention is completely My Girl’s.

Let’s see how this experiment went, shall we?

Disclosure: This is a judgement free zone. I don’t judge how much wine you drink. Don’t judge that I should have been doing these things all along. Also, don’t judge how much wine I drink, either.

Rule #1: The Anti To-Do List

So Rule 1 for the All In Weekend was to not worry about my to-do list. It will either be there later, or I’ll get it done after My Girl goes to bed.

Some of the things on my to-do list:

  1. Change the guest bedroom sheets
  2. Purge the medicine cabinets
  3. Clean the upstairs windows
  4. Iron
  5. Treat the leather couch with conditioner

I’m not kidding. Those were just a few things on my list for the weekend. That might show you what a fun and spontaneous person I am. I’m crazy, right? Like a straw.

My Girl wanted to create a list of all the stuff we were going to do during our All In Weekend. I suggested calling it a bucket list because I don’t want to cripple My Girl with the to-do obsession that I suffer from. That worked for a little bit. Then she thought it would be fun to put checkboxes next to each item. That sounds dangerously close to a to-do list to me.

But her list was much cooler than mine. A few of the items:

  1. Eat lots of waffles (sadly, we did not accomplish this one but I love that it was her #1)
  2. Kayak
  3. Movie night
  4. Picnic lunch
  5. Water balloon fight
  6. Sit and chat (that was all her, as well)
All In Weekend me and My Girl
Lesson one of kayaking. When I give My Girl my all, we have time for these kinds of things.

Rule #2: Tiger King Memes Can Wait

Rule 2: Leave the phone behind.

Kinda. I mean, not completely. Let’s not be crazy here. I still need my phone for easy access to the camera and music. (Oh, and if The Husband calls… obvi.) My Girl has my music obsession (no clue where she picked up that bad habit – innocent smile), so we had tunes blasting pretty much the entire weekend.

But my internal rule was to not check it. If it pinged because someone texted me, they can wait a few minutes. Hell, they can wait an hour.

And shockingly enough, I didn’t miss anything important. I don’t know what my 300 Facebook friends had for lunch on Saturday and I didn’t see the newest Tiger King meme. But I’m ok with that.

Rule #3: Stop, Drop and Roll

Third rule – stop, drop, roll. When My Girl talks to me, stop what I’m doing. Drop that concern for the moment. And roll with the My Girl tide, wherever that may take me.

This is the rule that I’m most ashamed I had to create. I should always do that. Always. But I am a master multi-tasker, so I often keep doing what I’m doing when she’s trying to talk to me. I half listen while I’m sorting the laundry, or texting LeslieAnn or typing up this week’s blog post.

But when you’re “all in”, you give undivided attention. So that meant I listened intently and without checking my phone (Rule 2) or worrying about my to-do list (Rule 1) for the entire 20 minutes while she explained to me why her list of Ranger Rick jokes were funny.

“What does an octopus say when he opens his new store? We’re of-fish-ally open for business. That’s funny because an octopus is a fish. Well, he’s not actually a fish because he doesn’t have a backbone, but I bet a lot of fish come to his store. What do you think he sells in his store? I think specially made pillows for fish. But they don’t sleep much, so maybe he had to invent a new pillow that would float along with the fish and keep their head nice and soft and comfy.”…

I wish I was kidding. But this was one of many conversations with My Girl.

Along with helping My Girl develop a special fishy pillow for the poor clownfish who are uncomfortable during the long nights, I experienced a lot of other things I wouldn’t usually, due to my impatience and to-do list worries.

For example:

  • I taught My Girl to play badminton. Usually, I wouldn’t have the patience for this because, and I am not exaggerating, we played for 20 minutes and she only hit the birdie to me six times. There was a lot of ‘a swing and a miss.’ And at one point, I had to listen to her recite all of the lyrics to a Frozen 2 song because one line reminded her of how she “almost touched the edge of the birdie.” (In case you’re wondering – and why wouldn’t you be? – it’s from “Show Yourself” where Elsa sings: “Something is familiar, like a dream I can reach but not quite hold.”)
  • We enjoyed an impromptu stop at our local coffeehouse (donning face masks because, you know, there’s a pandemic going on) and tried a vanilla sprinkle frappe, which tastes like something King Kandy, the Imperial Head Bonbon and Grand Jujube of Candy Land, would use to landscape his colorful path to the Lollypop Woods.
  • I learned the correct way to pretend to be a momma and daddy ostrich, while My Girl loudly demonstrated how a baby ostrich would cry when hungry for cotton candy. Like you do.
  • We spent 15 minutes watching a baby chipmunk on our front porch (all without a murderous plot conspiring as Monica has been waging war with the cute little rodents for two summers straight).
  • I taught My Girl to kayak around the lake by herself and since I wasn’t in a hurry, we quietly paddled up to two sandhill cranes preening themselves and sat and watched them quietly for quite some time.

I loved all those experiences and sharing them with My Girl. But the weekend wasn’t all sprinkles and baby ostriches.

All In Weekend My Girl kayaking
One of the few times My Girl sat still this weekend. She could have watched those cranes for an hour.

All In Wasn’t an All Fix

I think I had in my head that this giving My Girl my all was the magic solution to our problems. And maybe if that’s how I live my life every day, it is. Or at least, it’s part of the answer. But it wasn’t the magic solution for the weekend. Part of me wanted it to be that simple – Give her all your attention, and she’ll be the perfectly behaved child.

Unfortunately, when My Girl hears “fun weekend”, she equates that to “do whatever the hell I want” weekend. So I found myself repeating myself over and over, which isn’t unlike a normal day. But I was consciously working with a longer fuse than usual. In the end, that just means the boom is bigger.

We made it until about lunchtime on Sunday before I lost my shit. That shows a pretty good effort on my part. But I can only tell My Girl not to empty the front backpack pocket full of white fuzzy dandelions into the backseat of my new car so many times before I yell. Three. The number ended up being three.

I think the frustration at that moment was not so much the ridiculous amount of allergens floating around in my new car as it was that this didn’t work. This giving My Girl all my attention and keeping my voice low on the Mean Mom Scale (see here) and letting her pick all the fun activities for the weekend was not enough to fix our listening problems. If that’s not enough, if that’s not the fix-all solution, what the eff is?

I’m sure it also didn’t help that I had to pee really bad and was still 20 minutes from home. Small bladder issues make me a bad mom. Sorry. Not sorry.

I already knew this, but there’s no easy answer to any of the issues we struggle with – listening, attention span, thinking before doing, emotional outbursts. Also, giving My Girl my all for an entire weekend isn’t easy either. Eventually, the laundry needs to be folded and I need to text B. Swift back and I really do need to see the newest Tiger King meme. (totally joking on that one. I didn’t even watch Tiger King.) What I did learn from this All In Weekend is that there needs to be a happy medium. I need to spend the time really focusing on My Girl, but it’s ok to say we don’t have time for the 400 calorie, sugar-coma inducing frappe from The French Press.

Of course, the whole weekend was trying and tiring – to the point that after three days, I polished off a bottle of Prosecco by myself. I could say that I used it to make mimosas, which makes me sound classy. Or I could say that I poured it straight into the mug Leslie Ann made me that says ‘This Might be Wine,’ which shows a level of exhaustion achieved by few. Maybe I won’t say anything and let you guess which path I stumbled down.

Share your own imperfections.