Eating Popcorn In The Dark Because You’ve Earned This.

Attention moms of littles who haven't peed in private in two years:

It will get awesome. I promise you. Let me tell you what I did last week.

First, I will warn you, this might be kind of like mom porn. It may make you all hot and bothered and then you’ll find you can’t get enough of it and start craving more and fantasizing in the middle of music time at the library and googling stories late at night after the kids are in bed.  Once you find out about this whole other world, there’s no going back.

See, there’s a time coming when your kids can all be in school. People will tell you you’ll miss their cute little baby toes and the smell of their cute little baby heads, but let me tell you why older kid Sweaty Feet Smell is better than Baby Head Smell. Because the sweaty feet walk out the door.

And then you’re by yourself. (I’ll give you a minute to exhale in ecstasy. I know this is a lot to take in.)

The first time this happens, you’ll freak out. You’ll be adorable with a to-do list with little checkmarks, because you’ve been given the gift of time and you’re going to be productive and clean and run errands and go to the gym (I’ve heard people do this and see the tight asses in the carline so I assume this is a thing.).

At first you maximize your alone time and laugh while eating salads and fold laundry while catching up on television and if you work from home like me, you write ten billion blog posts and update your bio and finally return those emails. You log into SignUp Genius to volunteer at your kids’ school because even though they’re gone gone gone you still love them and don’t want the other moms to judge you for being a total slacker and you want the teacher to like you and feel like she’s probably keeping track of parent volunteerism with a chart with gold stars and the kids with the most parent stars get to be line leader more often and you don’t want your kid developing a complex about lack of line leader-ing.

This is how you start off as a school mom. You start strong. You’re parenting like a bee-yoss.

But then you relax into it and let the alone time wash over you. You text a friend. After SignUp Geniusing and being all responsible and involved, you happen to pop over to the movie theater website and notice there’s a 10am showing of a movie you wanted to see.

Hmm. 

You’ve been working really hard. And remember that one time you wiped butts for SIX YEARS. 

You deserve this.

Is what I told myself last week.

After my kids went to school, I drove by myself to a movie theater and met a friend. I ordered the large popcorn - the bucket (You know the one.) - with free refills, and I ate the whole thing while slurping a Coke slushie. We cackled devilishly in the dark during two hours of a raunch-com featuring zero cartoons, unless you count the giant sketch of someone's man-member painted on the drywall. 

We lingered in the lobby with our Coke refills until racing home in time for our kids to tell us all about their days. 

I offered the refilled popcorn bucket as an after school snack to my kids, brazenly flaunting my movie-going ways.

I wanted them to see Mommy having fun.

Is what I told myself when I forgot to hide the evidence and felt like a kid caught throwing an all-night kegger. “Here’s some popcorn you guys, because yeah, I did that.”

This will be your life, too. The day date, throwing caution to the wind. Sure we had responsibilities. But days like these remind me why life is fun and older kids are fantastic and laughing resets the brain.

It will get awesome. Someday you'll find yourself laughing in a movie theater with a friend and the naughtiness of sneaking away during the day will make it that much better.

Later today when you’re wiping your twenty-fourth butt of the week, hang onto this: someday soon you’ll be stuffing your face in a movie theater with a friend. And all those butts will make the movie that much better, because you will have earned it with rash cream under your fingernails.


Written by Melanie Dale. Photo by Kate De La Rosa.

p.s. For those of you still wiping butts, a darling book and Boba carrier giveaway