How to be a Better Parent: Theater, Tapas and the New York City Skyline

Up until this point in my seasoned parenting life, I was convinced that being a good parent meant that I must stay awake at all hours of the day and worry about things.  Like if she’s gaining enough weight and if not, how to fix it.  Investigating new and different sleep training methods.  What if she gets sick? What if she has an allergy to the tylenol I just gave her for teething pain?  What if there’s eggs in that? She can’t have eggs.  I don’t think.  Did she poop today? Why not?  Too much?  Can a baby poop TOO much? Should I take her out? If I do, will she not sleep tonight? What if I push her naptime back a half an hour? Will that ruin the routine that she doesn’t follow anyway?????!!!!????

In case you haven’t guessed, I have a lot to learn about parenting.  Like, not being so uptight for starters.  I’ve been so uptight the last four weeks, that even when I actually got the little booger to go to sleep for an hour, I would just lay awake paranoid about when she was going to wake up.  Sigh.  I felt defeated.  Like I was the worst parent ever.  Why couldn’t I do the things that were supposed to be simple?  Feed child, play with her, put her to bed.  None of those things were working.  Not for weeks.  Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore.  I hadn’t slept longer than an hour at a time in 4 weeks-yup, that’s right. Four weeks, people.  So, on Friday morning I woke up with a resolve I wasn’t sure I had.  Credit card in hand, I marched myself to the computer, purchased two tickets to Godspell and booked a hotel in the city for that very night.  My in-laws were gracious to offer staying at our place for Ellie’s first night without us and I picked Rich up from work for our first time spending the night anywhere else other than our home or the hospital without our daughter in ten months.  That’s waaaaaaay toooooooo long for those young parents reading this.

I thought I would be a nervous wreck the whole time.  I was terrified I had just blown money we didn’t have on a night I would never be able to enjoy.  Never underestimate the power of the theater, tapas and the New York city skyline.  I cried at opening curtain, remembering all of a sudden who I was.  I was someone who used to love this.  Watching this.  Doing this. I had two glasses of Sangria at Salinas (which you should all be running to the phone and making reservations now before it becomes too popular to get a seat) and paella to die for (crispy noodles, NOT rice-what?!?).  The biggest blessing of all?  After a beautiful night with my love, we walked back to our hotel where I slept for 10 hours.  And woke up to 6th Ave. covered in snow and a steaming cup of coffee.  I threw open the curtains, looked back at Rich and gleefully exclaimed, “I love it here!” He was kind enough to not make fun of my new found enthusiasm for life. What a difference a night of sleep can make.

Sometimes, in order to be a better parent, you have to take the night off of being one.  It doesn’t make you incapable.  In fact, just the opposite.  And how did Ellie fair, you ask? Slept 7 hours for her grandparents, ate french toast for breakfast, played in the snow, watched cartoons and wasn’t all that phased when we came home.  🙂


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