Date #8 – I’ll crush you at Donkey Kong but don’t give me any guilt trips.


Date #8

Push-ups – 25 (Day 8)

Push-ups – 65 (Day 20)

I’ll crush you at Donkey Kong but don’t give me any guilt trips.

It’s amazing how hard it is to try and do something for yourself and spend time doing you. Tonight, I came close to the point of stressing out when I left the gym (work) thinking about where I was going to take myself out on a date.  I kept reverting to thinking about all the things that needed to be done.  My ordinary routine brain kept telling me there were so many things that needed taking care of and there were legitimate tasks that needed to be completed. I started to have a case of the “shoulds.” I should go do some work…I should head home…I should spend time with my daughter. Guilt sets in at every angle in these moments and the shoulds of life start to take control of the wheel in my life. It’s so easy to give in. Because the reasons are valid and we can justify anything if we want to.  There are always things that need tending to and there will always be an excuse as to why you can’t do something for yourself.

My goal after these 30 days of dates is not to be self-indulgent on a daily basis, but to begin to teach myself that it’s OK to take time for fun and time for just me when I need or want to.

As a parent, it’s so easy to have an overwhelming sense of guilt because what we give to our kids never feels like enough. Not enough time, not enough involvement, not enough activities, not enough of being super mom, not enough healthy food.  But what I’m teaching myself as a single parent is, the amount of myself and the amount of my love I pour into my daughter is enough.  It’s a game that many parents know so well.  The game of how much we’re doing for our kids and the constant battle that we should be doing more. Whether it’s from a comparison standpoint, comparing yourself to other moms or dads or from a heart-breaking guilt standpoint, understanding that we are giving enough helps break us in operating from a place of guilt or from the thoughts that we’re not good parents.

In my opinion, every situation and family is different. Every kid’s needs are different and every parent’s needs are different. We have different situations, different jobs, and different personalities. There’s not one solid right way to parent.  So we shouldn’t compare.  Our jobs are to find what we are best at and making sure that we show up for our kids and being present with them.  Not just on a daily basis, but most importantly are showing up at our best when it really matters.

I have to put myself in check when I feel I should be at home with my daughter or when she lays it on heavy with a guilt trip when I need to go to work for a couple hours.  Which is the worst! I used to let those feelings take over. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes those are good feelings that tell us we do need to be at home with our kids in that moment. But I would operate from those feelings and make decisions based on those guilty feelings instead of simply wanting to be there and enjoy our time together.

Feeling like there are no other options other than spending every minute with our kids or spouse doesn’t give us room to grow. During the first four years of my daughter’s life, I felt I needed to be the one and only person to take care of her and didn’t want to ask for help even though I desperately needed it. Being the only parent in her daily life, I felt I needed to over-compensate to make sure she knew she was loved.  I felt I had to prove I could be there for her 24/7 and I was stubborn about it.  This caused exhaustion, resentment, and I was always running on Empty more than I was running at full capacity.

I dislike talking about parenting like it’s a job, but it is a responsibility that has the same type of aspects of a job.  If you’re constantly showing up at work dragging and only giving 50% of yourself, doing your work half-assed and turning in crappy work, you’ll probably lose your job, which will turn into a poor sense of self-worth.  If parenting is the most important job we’ll ever have, doesn’t it make sense to attempt to show up the best we can?  I’m not talking about being perfect and struggle with this immensely.

I get to the point of exhaustion that I’m yelling at my child with zero compassion for her needs.  It’s not a fun place to be and it feels like complete shit.  I’m aware of the moments and start doing what I need to do to get back to the place I need to be at both of us.

Therefore, I try very hard not to let guilt factor into my decisions.  When I’m taking care of myself, I feel my best.  When I feel my best and am taking care of my needs too, my home life happiness magnifies.  That is when the true dance parties happen!  These are the times tickles, joy and laughter are most present in our life.

Wow, well that got a little off course, didn’t it?!

Anyway….What about my date!?  Earlier today, I had thought about going to the Arcade bar I mentioned in my Introduction blog.  I talked myself out of it half-way there saying I could make better use of my time.  I even got off the exit to head back south!  As I sat at the red light and presented a solid case about why it wasn’t a good idea to go, I said shut up.

I said no to the case presented and yes to going without any more thinking.  I got my butt right back on the interstate and headed to Lowry Parcade & Tavern.

I heard about a place that had old school arcade games and craft beer about 15 minutes outside of downtown.  I’m not a beer drinker, but the thought of old school, nostalgic games such as Galaga, Ms. Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, NBA Jam and pinball machines sounded pretty freaking cool!

I got a babysitter for the night and decided I was going to make the best of my 2 hours.  I walked in the bar, told the bartender it was my first time there and to give me the low-down (down-low? I don’t know how to be hip anymore!).  I chatted small talk with the welcoming bartender and sampled a few beers.  I settled on a Pumpkin lager brew and headed to the coin machine to turn my 5-dollar (hollar!) bill into 20 quarters of fun!

I felt a bit awkward but got over that quick as I headed to the pinball machines.

I was starting to smile but was trying to play it cool!  Again, I got over that quick as let out a big “Ahhhh Come’Onnnn!!!” when one of the Tetris shapes did not land where I obviously wanted it to.  I played all the games I was familiar with, and played quite a few games of Donkey Kong and Skeeball! Yes, Skeeball.

All the games were a quarter!  So, my five dollars lasted a good hour or so.  (high-five to that!)

After I ran out of quarters, I sat outside and attempted to finish my beer.  I smiled.  That was fun I told myself.

The bar was clean, welcoming and of course super hip.  They allow children and dogs as long as you accompany them.  A pretty cool place I must say!  If you haven’t checked the place out yet, go for it!  Tell them you read about it on my blog. 😊

I enjoyed my date and there’s no doubt it was fun.  However, I don’t think I could be there much longer than an hour or two.  The nostalgia wore off, but my smile didn’t.  They have board games and other activities so I could see it being fun with a group of friends.

I got in my car, rolled the windows down, opened the sunroof and put on one of my favorite City and Colour records.  I drove down the interstate singing loud and feeling free.  I was home by 9p and ready for bed!  I walked in the door ready to see my baby and ready to see what tomorrow brings.

Conclusion –

I like quirky things like playing pinball on a whim, but I don’t foresee myself doing that often.  It would be fun to go back sometime and have some healthy competition playing Tetris, Galaga or Off Road!

It was fun, but not a hobby I want to pursue.  I do like playing games, there’s no doubt about that!  The nostalgic piece of the date was enjoyable, but I’m not 12 anymore.  My journey is to find out what I like to do 25 years after I have conquered all the levels of Donkey Kong and collected all the fruit in Ms. Pacman.

Until tomorrow…

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