There was a time not too long ago when my weekends started with exciting promise and often ended with me crashed on the couch from an abundance of fun-induced exhaustion. Last-minute trips and limited sleep created coffee-filled, fuzzy-head Monday mornings.
Then I had kids.
And while my weekends now are more about kid's birthday parties and household chores than jetting off to the coolest parties, I still find myself hitting Monday morning with a headache. Duh! It's because, if you look at it, life really hasn't changed all that much. In fact, you can just replace the word "Vegas" with "parenting" and it's all pretty much the same.
Rock stars and celebrities have nothing on my kids. Even after a Saturday morning of cleaning and organizing (I'm that mom with labeled bins for everything), their bedrooms look like the morning after a raging party.
Somehow, going to bed at 6 a.m. after being up with a child who's thrown up his dinner all over your dry-clean-only comforter doesn't feel the same as those long nights dancing and/or gambling. Although I've got to admit, it's much less humiliating doing the walk of shame to the laundry room than it was through a casino.
"Can we have a snack?" "No, I want something else!" No sooner than one meal is done, my kids become bottomless pits -- already ready for more. But unlike the servers in Vegas, this waitress requires them to actually finish what's on their plate, including their veggies.
Is it just in my house, or do the rest of you feel like you're regularly catering to the whims of tiny-yet-demanding guests? Would it kill them to throw a tip our way on occasion?
Like tiny drunk people, kids are constantly acting as if they've had one too many and you just never really know which personality you'll get. One minute they're clinging to you... the next they're fighting with each other -- and before you know it, you've got a sobbing, overly-emotional human accusing you of loving someone else more.
Walk into a casino and you have no idea whether it's light or dark outside, Saturday night or Wednesday morning. If you've ever had a kid home during school break, that same phenomenon occurs.
Take one of those elaborate Vegas stage performances, complete with over-the-top costumes and demanding directors, add a few items of clothing and some awkward, nose-picking kiddos -- poof! It's like being at the latest Cirque du Soleil show, except this time there's a chance the show will be stopped by a stubborn actor crying for his mama (oh, and no cocktails).
While Vegas can provide ample moments of fun and excitement, sometimes it feels a bit overrated. The novelty can wear off pretty quickly, leaving you wondering if you can grab that earlier Southwest flight in time to get home and sleep it off. But, like parenting, just a few minutes after leaving, you start to miss it and look forward to getting back as soon as possible.
Agony of Defeat
On the rare occasion you win a round of Blackjack, you're likely to lose your shirt a few minutes later -- just like those tiny parenting victories. Both will leave you feeling defeated and in need of a drink.
What Happens at Home, Stays at Home
Finally, like Vegas, things that go down behind our own closed doors oftentimes best left there. No one needs to know that mom lost her cool over a Buzz Lightyear toy on the stairs or that Dad forgot to pay the cable bill. That's why it's important to keep your escapades to yourself. Because if people knew the real behind-closed-door stories, there's no way they'd even dare go to Vegas -- or become a parent.