We recently started re-watching The Walking Dead with the kids. Oh I KNOW. Don’t even bother twisting your face into that disapproving “…Huh” expression. There were a handful of kids in Riley’s classroom last year who told me they watched The Walking Dead and I was like, “Oh my gosh, really? It isn’t too scary for you?” while secretly I was kind of a tiny bit totally judging their parents. I don’t know why I drew some arbitrary line between, say, Dylan’s all-time favorite movie (Predator) and a bunch of zombies, but anyway, I’m officially out of Smugtown because our wholesome evening family together-time now revolves solidly around watching people being torn apart or shot or skewered or in Lori’s case, generally sucking all the oxygen from the apocalypse. (Upon second viewing, it’s a real toss-up for who is the actual worst during those early seasons: Carl, for being constantly unsupervised and doing dipshit things that endanger others, or Lori, for being Lori).

After we allowed TWD, I felt like it was a little silly to hesitate about taking Riley to some of the grown-up action movies he wanted to see, so he’s been my theater buddy lately. We recently saw Logan (so good, and super sad), and Life (not great, but if there is a movie where people are getting killed in space I will pretty much always Fandango that shit), and I don’t know, it’s really neat being able to connect in that way.

It’s so cool to have older kids who like the same things you do, and at the same time I feel like the needle on the life-stage spectrum has edged its way back into the You-Have-No-Life-Outside-Parenthood Zone. Like, the more things we can do with the kids, the less we do on our own, or with friends, or even as a couple. Does that make any kind of sense? It’s not the all-consuming hands-on madness of the younger years, and thank goodness for that, but it’s like the more we level up as a family unit the less attention we pay to our individual selves.

Orrrrrrrr maybe that’s just how I’m feeling, these days. Like it’s easier and more enjoyable to feel as though I’m part of a larger entity, because it takes some of the focus off myself.


14 Responses to “Slices of pie”

  1. Stacy on March 28th, 2017 3:08 pm

    I think you just only have a certain amount of time to spend in general and it’s tough to decide how and with what type of company to spend it.

    Honestly I think it’s awesome that you both enjoy doing something together. I didn’t have that really when I was younger but my boyfriend did and he is basically best friends with his dad and it’s awesome.

  2. Stacy on March 28th, 2017 3:08 pm

    (my boyfriend is 31 now for reference lol)

  3. Colleen on March 28th, 2017 5:20 pm

    Yes yes yes! SO relate to this. (And absolutely love your writing.)

  4. Erin in CA on March 28th, 2017 5:39 pm

    My kiddos are 13 and almost 11, so a little older than yours. I love that my 13-year-old wants to watch the BBC Sherlock with me, and that the Office is his favorite show. I mostly agree with you (especially b/c OMG THEY STAY UP SO LATE GO TO BED!), but I will say that they also start to spend way more time with friends, and suddenly you’re having to stay up on Friday night so you can go pick them up from a co-ed party at 11. So I come down on the “enjoy what you can now” side. My oldest will be in 8th grade next year and I swear the time is slipping away too quickly just as he becomes this super awesome, fully formed person!

  5. Alison on March 28th, 2017 6:31 pm

    Mine are 5, 3, and 6 months, so I’m still squarely in the “what have I done” zero personal time phase, but I’m starting to see a little of this with my oldest. He’s decided he loves Star Wars, so we read SW story books, do Lego sets, and watch certain parts of the movies (I feel like eps. 4-6 are fairly innocuous, but he’s prone to nightmares). Darth Vader is his favorite and he will not be dissuaded. I’m not sure if I should find this disturbing. My husband’s interests don’t skew quite as nerdy as mine, so I love the idea of one or two of my kids latching I to the same stuff I like.

  6. Shawna on March 29th, 2017 5:32 am

    My kids are almost exactly the same age as yours (11 and 8) and my oldest took the babysitting course last month, which means… (drumroll please)… my husband and I can legally (where we live) leave them alone together and go out, just the two of us! We went to a movie, and to a home show. Out somewhere fun without kids! Two times in the last month! Crazy!

    The oldest is very responsible, and we threatened the youngest with dire consequences if he didn’t accept his sister was in charge and do as he was told, but in general he’s usually pretty chill and all we have to worry about is him getting a headache from too much screen time when we’re out.

    And the youngest will be turning 9 on June 3rd, which is when he can take the Home Alone course. Coincidentally, one is running in our neighbourhood on June 4th, so he is signed up for that sucker!


  7. jennbb33 on March 29th, 2017 5:33 am

    My son is too afraid to watch the show – he’s 8 – but has read the first compendium of graphic novels. It’s HUGE and HEAVY and for a reluctant reader, both his teacher and father and I and his entire IEP team are cheering him on because guess what motherjudgers? HE’S READING A HUGE FUCKING BOOK!
    Boo yah. Parenting win. And he made the judgement on the show his own self. When he wants to watch it, have at, boy.

  8. Mary Clare on March 29th, 2017 9:10 am

    Oh, Carl. I want to punch that character for how he screws up everything over and over. Anyway, awesome for ya’ll that you can watch WD together!

  9. Jessica on March 29th, 2017 10:18 am

    There were kids in my (now 8 year old’s) Kindergarten class that watched The Walking Dead so you held out for much longer! Mazeltov!

    (I’d watch it but *I’m* too scared of zombies to do so!)

  10. el-e-e on March 29th, 2017 11:03 am

    Lori. Lori is the actual worst.

  11. MD on April 1st, 2017 6:40 pm

    I have one exactly aged in between your boys, and I’ve been 100% alone since day one. Take it from me: Try to find the balance between doing something for yourself, doing something as a family, and doing something as a couple. Your sense of missing Me Time is not to be ignored. Otherwise you’ll get resentful of those other people quickly.

  12. Kathy on April 1st, 2017 11:04 pm

    My kids are grown and married now but I’m positive I was a horrible parent and let them watch things that were the equivalent of TWD when they were young. Well, at least my boy child. My girl child is 22 and I have to beg her to watch horror movies with me. She is a fan of TWD though.

  13. Lori on April 2nd, 2017 6:54 am

    From my personal experience having a daughter who’s old enough that she hasn’t lived in my home for almost two years, I’d say YES ABSOLUTELY find things to do as a family. Dates with your husband are important, of course. But if I could do it again, I would’ve spent more time doing stuff as a family. We did a lot, but I’d still do more. We can’t get those years back, and I’m having a hard time with that realization. Parenting is cruel in that way… when you’re in it, you often feel like you’re drowning. Then once it’s over, you wish you could drown again.

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