I Don’t Live For My Children

LaToya Baldwin Clark
4 min readJun 2, 2021

In Anticipation of My “Forget These Kids” Weekend

Old suitcases  stack, mostly leather, retro, travel
https://pixnio.com/objects/old-suitcases-stack-leather-retro-travel

I am a bad mother. I curse around my kids. I don’t force them to eat vegetables. I encourage showers, but if they don’t stink, I don’t care. I told them we would get a dog and they could pick it out. Turned out I lied. We got the dog, but I picked her out. Her name is Hope.

I buy ice cream and eat it in front of them without offering any. (Actually, I don’t. That would be pretty savage.)

Since the pandemic began, I’ve spent only three nights away from my children. For my 40th birthday, my husband took me on a short trip. We sent the littlest one to stay with friends, but the older two, we left them home. Alone. They are 15 and 13. Some parents think that is too young. I don’t because I know my kids, there are lots of adults around and folks to check on them. So mind your business, lady.

This year ….

…I appreciated getting closer with my children. I’ve learned more about them. I know more about their rhythms, their friends, their lives. As a parent of teenagers, you don’t often get this kind of access. I’ve learned from them. I’ve learned about painting and chess and Exploding Kittens and Wings of Fire and video game servers and Catan. It’s been precious.

But this year…

…has also tested my patience. At first, the pandemic was a welcome break for me. I was in the depths of a very bad depression, and being able to stay home, crawl out of bed only when I needed to teach, and crawl back into bed saved me. But once I climbed out of that hole, I realized that I truly am the extrovert that everyone says I am. (I disagree, but the more people that say it, I realize that being the odd one out, I’m probably wrong.) I missed having cocktails and cookouts and happy hour and karaoke. I do those things at home, with my family, but it’s not the same as hanging out with someone who chose to be my friend and isn’t merely obligated to be with me because of our family ties.

This weekend, I am leaving my children and my husband to see friends I haven’t seen in 18 months. I am calling it a Forget These Kids Weekend (FTKW. The F could also be substituted see Ceelo). I didn’t check with anyone when I bought my FTKW ticket. I didn’t think about where they might need to be…

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LaToya Baldwin Clark

Law professor. Living with Bipolar. Teach and write about the law of educational inequality, property and the family. Mom of 3. All opinions my own.