While I have only just returned to watching hockey on a regular basis, I think of the mama decisions as akin to whether or not the goalie should be pulled at close to the end of the third period when the opposition is leading by one. Sure, it puts six players on the ice that can all focus on scoring a game tying goal. But it also means that no one is on defense. No one is guarding the net. And a wide open net can be scored on from more than half way across the ice. By any of the five players who are already kicking your butt.
I feel at this point I should reiterate, I've only just returned to watching-that's watching-hockey. My husband Mark will surely laugh and have a few pointers for me on how to refine my analogy, and having played hockey as a kid and watched it all of his life, I will certainly take his feedback and apply it for the future. But onwards.
As a mama, I have to consider all the possibilities before I agree to a big or small social event for my girls. Sometimes it's easy. Invited to the W's or the C's? Unless someone is contagious or immobile, Mark and I need that social time too, so we're going! Those two mamas parent like I do and won't bat an eyelash if I inform then my misbehaving kid has to stay by my side for a while. They will just as quickly lend pjs and a blanket if someone gets sleepy.
Going anywhere by car that required driving more then thirty minutes when C was a baby? Not going to happen. Not for strawberry picking nor seeing the pandas at the zoo. That kid can scream for an hour straight at a deafening volume making it impossible to think near her never mind focus on traffic on the 401.
Invited to an acquaintance's that we said yes to but my girls have a day of not listening and clearly need to unwind at home before an early bedtime? Sorry, I'm going to have to cancel even if it makes your kids sad.
Invited to a loyal friend's annual family Christmas party? We're there, even if it is in shifts or just me or for a short time.
Plans to go downtown on a Saturday that turn into a Sunday dinner "somewhere" without reservations during Christmas season and my girls have been hyper, need a bath, need to generally get ready for school and have an extra early start the next day when I'm on my own with three grumpy bears? Not going to happen.
In all of those instances above and others where I have had to decline invitations or cancel plans, I'm never worried about the reaction of my girls but rather that of the adults involved. Most of whom are parents. I understand that you can't let your kids rule your life. But I also understand that I can't let an adult's expectations cloud what is best for my girls. And generally, a warm bath, a hot dinner, and hanging out while listening to music and reading, trumps the hassle. The hassle, not of going out, but of everything going to hell in a hand basket when we get home again and I have uncooperative, overstimulated, exhausted children x 3!