The Game of Outlast

Monday, June 2, 2014

After four years of being a Mum, I have come to the understanding that so much of my day with children under the age of five, is actually just a never-ending game of Outlast (not the video game kind which I didn't know existed until this morning), but actually the definition of the word Outlast; to last longer.

Outlast generally consists of children wanting to do something and parents knowing that a) the kids are trying to postpone the necessary (nap, teeth brushing, etc) b)it will cause an enormous mess that is simply not worth the trade-off or c) something that is potentially dangerous, harmful, or inappropriate for the setting

Outlast strategies for parents include; creating distractions, resetting the day, and standing firm in your decisions once made.  For example, when it's clearly time for a nap for an overly tired toddler.

A few weeks ago, Gem was obviously exhausted but absolutely had no interest in laying down for her nap.  In her room, she screamed and pushed against me with her defiant little fists while I gently swayed side to side and hummed to try to soothe her.  All the while my mind was scrambling for some footing, "No matter if your sweet, angel of a two year old is screaming directly into your ear; you can last longer.  Hang in there, you're 30 years old for goodness sakes - you're an adult, you've done more difficult things than this - get it together!"

Ever so slowly, the screaming turned to yelling to whining to silence as she laid her precious head on my shoulder and attempted to meekly fight off the sleep.  Oh sweet, sweet victory.  The Triumph of Outlast!

My children have seemingly caught on, however, that my abilities at the game of Outlast are markedly less impressive come 5:00pm.  Cleaning up endless messes, never going to the bathroom alone, watching the same superhero move thirty-six times in a row, and refilling spilled cups of water; all take their toll on my skills of keeping it together.

Outlast strategies for children include; persistent whining, repeating the same question or phrase over and over again ("Can we go in that doghouse display at PetCo"), making excuses to distract parents (ie. "I want different jammies on," "My legs are too tired to pick up that huge mess I just made", etc)

Right before dinnertime, this scenario is much more likely,

kids:  mum, we want to take off all the couch cushions
me:  not right now, guys, we are getting ready to eat
kids:  but we want to play ninja fighting
me:  i said not now, it's almost time for dinner
kids:  muuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmmmmm, puhleaseeeeeeee
me:  just come sit in here for two minutes, let's have a talk; dinner is about to be done

This is the moment in need of Outlast strategy, alas Mumma just doesn't have the energy
--while kids catch a glimpse of my precarious nature--

kids:  but we're ninjas.  And we need the couch cushions off
me (clearly exasperated):  Greyson and Gemma, please.  two minutes.
kids: *whispering* let's just go take them off... woohoo! (as they happily leap across the room from one couch cushion to the next)


Using up so much energy at this game of Outlast for the duration of the day is why, when my husband walks in the door from work and asks, "how was the day, mumma?"  my usual response is to barely manage an exasperated, "Can I  please just be quiet for a few minutes.  I love you, but I need silence for like 5 minutes."

He was off on Friday and while at the kitchen table when the kids were showing off some serious stellar talent at Outlast over the astonishingly annoying and loud version of 'who was going to sit on which side of the bench for lunch,' he looked at me with a disbelieving expression.  I just gave him a knowing look and responded, "Yea...All Day."

I have found there are a few small pick-me-ups that I can offer myself to increase my stamina in the all-day game of Outlast.  Things like hiding chocolate in the fridge (top compartment behind the cream cheese) to sneak a sweet bite or a cup of hot tea in the mid-afternoon when my fuel is running low.

But usually, at the end of each day, the parents seem to win the game by only a slim margin.  The concern we have right now is we are not yet outnumbered, although those days are quickly coming to an end.  Will a shift in the team rosters affect our abilities to win at Outlast?  As they continue to grow; do their strategy skills get better, while ours gradually deplete from older age and fatigue?  How long does this game last?  Until the kids reach a certain age?  Until forever?

So much is unclear, I just have my eye on the prize for TODAY's game.  That's all I really can focus on, it's the lacing up my metaphorical running shoes and giving it all my talents today to get through this one game of outlast.

The bad news is that today's game already feels a little rigged in their favor -as we have already experienced a dumped out hamper of clean laundry (on purpose), what looks like rain on the way, and two kids who still didn't get nearly enough sleep last night.

Good luck, today in your own games of Outlast, friends.  Mondays aren't usually my best performance days...

No Comments Yet, Leave Yours!