Let me start by saying that I like it when the boys have friends over. I like that they are here and I don’t have to worry about them at someone’s house. I like that I don’t have to worry about someone having a gun or drugs. I like that I don’t have to ask the boys’ parents about those things (although since I know most of the parents now, I don’t have to ask). I just like knowing what they are doing and that they aren’t getting into trouble. Also, most of the boys’ friends don’t live in walking distance, so they need to be dropped off and picked up (for Michael this is the result of being open enrolled at a school besides his home school).
I do like having the boys’ friends over on a regular basis. That being said, sometimes Chris isn’t up to having people over. If he is tired and we have a group of kids here, it gets noisy and he can’t rest. On top of that, I know that the boys’ friends need to be dropped off and picked up. What this means is that the friends aren’t likely to stay for 1-2 hours. Having friends over for the boys means 1/2 a day. Which is usually fine with me.
Except when I get asked if they can have friends at 3:30 pm on a Saturday afternoon. This is not a good time to have friends over. Boys eat a lot. I know this and don’t mind providing snacks, but I can’t afford to feed the boys’ friends dinner on a regular basis. Especially when Michael won’t eat pasta (a cheap filling food). So having friends over means that we need to either have them after dinner or between lunch and dinner.
It is frustrating to me to have them ask at 3:30 pm knowing everything that needs to be done to have a friend over. And this is what happened this past Saturday: Michael asked about having friends over at 3:30 pm on Saturday. He wanted his one friend to come over to go to the pool with him. However, this friend hurt his knee playing football and probably couldn’t swim anyway. When I reminded Michael of this, he asked if David could have friends over and go to the pool. David was home on Friday and saw the doctor, so I didn’t think that he should go to the pool (the doctor thinks that he is suffering from asthma/allergies and we had some allergy testing done and will get the results on Friday – he’s also on an antibiotic, nasal spray, Zyrtec and Singular since he has been sick more often than not since the end of May). But Michael was mad at me because I said, “no.”
I offered a compromise; call his friends and invite them over on Sunday or Monday. Sunday, David had plans to hang out with a friend at her house, so he wouldn’t be around. Michael wasn’t happy with that. He wanted a friend over then. We talked about why that wasn’t going to work. He didn’t have a phone number for one of his friends (so that wasn’t my fault). But he said I never let him have friends over. Which, of course, isn’t true.
I thought that Michael understood why asking to have friends over at 3:30 pm wouldn’t work. Apparently, I was wrong because on Labor Day he asked again if he could invite friends over at 4:00 pm. He got really angry with me. I told him that we would check the calendar and see what would work and that made him angrier. Chris spoke with him and told him why he couldn’t have friends over at 4:00 pm on a school night (that hadn’t been arranged beforehand).
Life was simpler when we were kids. We played with the kids in the neighborhood. Everyone went outside. We didn’t need to plan, we just went. If the weather was bad, we either watched TV or maybe (if we were lucky) got to have a friend over. But it was always someone who could walk or ride their bike to our house.
I understand how my mom must have felt driving my brother and I to all of our activities (usually happening around the same times). I played softball, he played baseball. We swam (getting to the pool required crossing one of the most dangerous intersections in Illinois, so while it was close enough that we could have ridden our bikes, it wasn’t safe so we weren’t allowed to). We needed to be picked up from after school activities during Middle School and during the early years of high school. But we didn’t need a ride to school every day, we took the bus (or in Elementary school, walked).
Michael needs to be taken to school and picked up every day, since there is no bus. Thankfully, we carpool and I am only responsible for about 1/2 of the trips. But he has choir one day a week before school (he needs to be dropped off early – so I get to take him) and he has band either 1 or 2 days a week (depending on the week) after school. Finally, he has soccer practice on Friday after school. Soccer games are on Saturday. David has no outside activities right now, but Jazz Band will start soon and it is supposed to be one day after school. The boys’ schools are across the street from each other. David needs to be picked up from Jazz Band at 4:00 pm which is the regular dismissal time for Michael. But is Jazz Band on a day I normally pick Michael up at 4:00 pm? Of course not. It is on a day that Michael has band after school and doesn’t need to be picked up until 5:00 pm. So it will involve 2 trips. David also said that they are supposed to be starting a Men’s Choir at school that he’d like to participate in and that they would meet after school.
I’m not complaining about the boys being busy and having activities. I’m glad that they are involved in things. I am just spending my life in my car. I also don’t know what I’m going to when I find a job. I don’t know why the boys are angry with me when I don’t want to do any extra running around. Having friends over at 4:00 pm just doesn’t work, unless it is worked out in advance. Spur of the moment doesn’t work with our lives in that respect. I wish it did. Then maybe I could have some friends over too.