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Should I stay or should I go

By Robin Dearing
Sunday Margaret attended a birthday party for one of her school chums. It was a lovely party in a park complete with pony rides. Yes, there was a pony ... how wonderfully charming is that? But my favorite thing about this party was the favors. Instead of a bag of toys (which the kids love — but really, how many plastic slinkies does one kid need?), they painted small terra cotta pots, in which they planted marigolds. Margaret painted hers in stripes with the dominant color being orange ... very much the same color as the pot itself. So simple and clever. Something that both Mar and I are very happy to have. When we arrived at the party and Margaret dashed off to play with her friends, the mom graciously told me that I was welcome to stay or to leave Mar there and that I shouldn't free pressured either way. This mom is the kind of mom I would like to be: hands on, organized, gracious and welcoming. I had wondered beforehand what the role of the parent is in these situations. I even called a dear friend for advice, quickly stating the obvious, that I am clueless when it comes to social parenting (and most other kinds of parenting, too. But it seems I should get brownie points for knowing when to ask for help). So, the gracious mom left it up to me. Which should I do? Go or stay? Should I stay to make sure she didn't need me for anything or have a bit of time for myself? Yeah, I bolted out of there faster than you can say "sugar buzz." As Mar and I were getting ready to leave the party, the mom told me that Mar had about 15 minutes when she was weepy and wanted me. I felt terrible. I should've stayed. I should have stayed to make sure that Mar was OK. I should have stayed so that the mom didn't have to deal with my weepy kid. I should have stayed because it's what those good moms do. Instead, I had a glorious hour and a half to myself. I reveled in it. I enjoyed it. Because that's what the bad moms do.