I checked into my favourite hotel, a.k.a. my parents’ spare bedroom, this weekend. It’s got all the makings of a five-star resort: ocean views, thick quilts you get lost under and homemade breakfasts that fill you up until dinner, cooked by none other than chef dad — mom only believes in dial up meals.
After a month of side projects keeping me running around the clock, I indulged in my first night off in a long time at the Fitzgerald escape. I felt like a kid again and in my stress-free giddy reverie I totally threw caution to the wind, tucked into bed and turned on a sickeningly romantic late-night flick that kept me up to 2 a.m. I kept turning down the volume during the commercials fearing my mom would hear and tell me to go to bed. Fortunately, it was dad who walked into the hallway bathroom at 1 a.m., so my naughtiness went unnoticed — or at least until the morning when he asked why I was up so late.
“You’ve been exhausted and you stayed up until when?” my mom gasped, fully embracing the mom role she hadn’t exercised in a while. “You are going to bed early tonight. You need your sleep, honey.”
It was nice to be cared about. It gave me warm fuzzies until mom sent dad downstairs to disconnect the cable.
I really was a kid again. I realized maybe parenting is what I needed right now in my state of working-around-the-clock schedule, horrible diet and worse exercise regime.
As an adult, we are free to make decisions never privy to us as kids.
The first thing I did when I moved away from our organic-this-and-that home was buy a box of Fruit Loops. I ate the whole box in one television sitting, slurping back every drop of the pink-coloured two per cent milk (not skim, not Soya). It was a liberating experience. Wow. I was an adult now. I could eat cereal three times a day and live to tell about it.
While Fruit Loops were soon replaced by porridge after tiring of sugar highs and crashes, I still eat like a kid sometimes.
This Thanksgiving I bought a whole pumpkin pie for myself. I ate two pieces one night. Okay three, but with only Teddy watching, there was nothing stopping me from shaving off a little sliver that really doesn’t count as four. So I’ve decided to parent myself in regards to what I eat. Cookies are not the fifth food group and no eating after 9 p.m. I am parenting myself to only one treat a day and a full and healthy meal must precede it. Again, no matter how fruity, Clare’s leftover apple pie does not qualify as breakfast.
I started thinking of other parenting tips I could benefit from.
I decided to set myself a social allowance. I don’t remember having credit cards as a kid.
Time on the computer would be limited to 10 hours a day with one entire day off. I’d have to tell myself to go out and play, although Teddy said he is happy to help out.
No more low-riding hipster jeans or at least not without a long shirt. Just think how many twenty-something boys I could have dodged heeding this parenting dress-code advice.
I’d take family time at least one night a week: a sit down dinner with friends or some phone time with my family on the island.
I’d keep up on yearly check ups at the doctor and dentist, I’d be home before midnight and I’d up the amount of hugs I get in a day.
And unlike a kid, this time round I get to make the rules myself. I guess that goes for the punishments as well.
Wagging your finger at yourself in the mirror saying, “If you are going to live under my roof…” just doesn’t seem to have the same effect. Being sent to my room or being put to bed early sounds more like a treat than a punishment.
How do you punish an adult?
Maybe grounding myself from going to The Cat Empire next week or restricting my wardrobe to one pair of high heels for an entire month. Taking away my ski pass on a powder day or parking my car and taking the bus might be other possibilities — I think one day would be punishment enough.
So I’ll eat all my Brussels sprouts, go to bed at a reasonable hour, play outside and keep my room tidy. I am an adult after all. I can keep my hand out of the cookie jar… How much is a bus pass?