Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Everything in Moderation

Hypothetical: Let’s say you have a friend who has taken up a new hobby.

Let’s say it is golf.

He picked up the game recently, and now he is completely obsessed. He spends an hour at the driving range every day before work, juggling responsibilties and having a completely hectic morning because of it.

He plays a round after work, so is never available for happy hours or other socializing. He cuts out of late meetings right at quitting time so he can get to the course in time. He has even taken a second job at a pro shop where he works on the weekends and late into the night - doing inventory and cleaning the bathrooms - in order to get rebates on the best equipment. He occasionally shows up at very special events, but only if he is given enough notice and can find someone to take his shift at the shop.

He can’t hold a conversation without mentioning golf. He talks non-stop about great shots he has seen or made or almost made. He carries around pictures of courses he has played.

Recently, he has gone over the edge. He took a three-month leave of absence to try to qualify for the Tour. He confided in you that he practices his swing every three or four hours, even waking up at night to make sure he doesn’t lose his muscle memory.

You would worry about him, right?

I mean you would really, really worry about him. Maybe you would even confront him, try to help him get a little perspective. Set his priorities straight.

I believe that in general, everything in moderation is good. Whether it is sweets or red meat or video games or booze, a little won’t hurt you, but too much is probably not a good plan.

I've discovered that you can’t parent in moderation.

If I spent as much time with tequila as I do my children, my liver would be the size of a watermelon. If I thought about tequila when I wasn't with it, and talked about it constantly, I would check myself into rehab.

Yet no one stages interventions for people who have taken up parenting as their sole leisure-time activity. No one shakes you by the shoulders and questions your sanity when you mention you have to wake up every four hours or so to tend to a newborn. In fact, people ask about your children and even tolerate pictures and stories. They share their own. They write blogs about their experiences and read yours.

I wonder if that's healthy.


merseydotes said...

I'm a big believer in parents having lives outside their children. But it's unfair to lump "parenting" into one big experience because a newborn physically needs a lot more attention than a three-year-old does. If you were getting up every four hours in the night to check on your preschooler, I might suggest you get some meds.

And while I've never shaken anyone's shoulders, I generally don't surround myself with people whose kids are their whole lives. I like friends who encourage their kids to play on their own sometimes, who have hobbies, who get babysitters now and then so they can do adult things and who don't stress and freak out over every decision regarding their kids.

Michele said...

I would be the Tiger Woods of parenting.

Where the F are my endoresment contracts?

Em said...

It will get easier to parent in moderation when your kids get a tiny bit bigger.

As for your "friend" I think it is time to stage an intervention. Just tell him to plan for an early retirement so he can try out for the senior tour.

Daddy L said...

I never claimed to be "healthy", that's for sure.

In the Trenches of Mommyhood said...

Great post. I'm a firm believer that everyone needs BALANCE in their lives--even, no, make that ESPECIALLY, mommies.

Daddy D said...

the answer is no, it's not...but it's an addiction....

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

Not healthy. I'm convinced that is why my parents always act so crazy/

laurie said...

brilliant post.

and no. i think you would be hard pressed to find anyone with tiny tots who felt healthy. mine are almost 5 and i still don't feel healthy.

stefanierj said...

What a great post. If it didn't look so dumb, I'd be pumping my fist at the keyboard saying "right on."

But they already think I'm crazy around here. :)