Parenting Without A NetWe’ve cut the cord. We are all alone.

For the first time, Jennifer and I are doing this parenting thing with no backup. When we first moved to Calgary, Jen was on maternity leave. Then we had live in nannies for the past 3 years. Now, as the boys are in full time school, there is no need for the nanny, and we’re on our own.

Many may see it as no big deal, parents do it all the time. But it’s still a switch for us. We’re a $400 plane ticket away from grandparents, and while they will (and have) flown in to help us during desperate times, we’re on our own.

So Jennifer drops the boys at school in the morning, before going off to her job. Then I hustle out of the office in the afternoons to be there for the 3:30 bell to bring them home and make dinner. I love that both boys are at the same school. I love that we can walk to and from together, as a family.

Still, there’s no net.

Over the past 3+ years of nannies, we have just had them look after the boys for our rare date nights or work obligation overlaps. It was easy, and comfortable. Now? No nanny, and finding a babysitter has come up dry for now.

So, during the Back To School Meet The Teacher nights, we were the only ones with kids tagging along to play in a corner of the classroom.

Last night was Diner en Blanc Calgary, a wonderfully elegant flash mob / pop up picnic event where everyone wears white and has dinner in a public place. The guests gather at points around the city, packing in their tables, chairs, dinner, and flatware unaware of exactly where they’re headed. Then, at the appropriate time, everyone strolls in to a field and it is transformed into a beautifully white night.

Diner En Blanc Calgary

We had tickets to Diner en Blanc, confident we could land a sitter in the month long lead up to the event, but no dice. So we brought the kids.

It wasn’t really a kid event, we were the only ones with children in tow. Charlie donned a Stormtrooper costume, Zacharie a white karate outfit, and we did a couple of laps of the beautiful field to get a sense of what we were missing.

I was so uptight and uncomfortable the entire time. I felt like the swank, childless, twentysomethings, and those who had babysitters, were firing daggers in my back. I couldn’t relax.

Diner En Blanc

I felt guilty for bringing my kids to the event and was prepared to politely apologize and explain we were there for just a few minutes if anyone approached us. It never happened. People thought Charlie’s Stormtrooper was hilarious. They were taking his photo and laughing and smiling. Still, I felt like I was doing something wrong. My problem, I know.

Stormtrooper Love at Diner En Blanc

Diner En Blanc

We stayed for 10 minutes, doing a quick up and down the huge grounds to see what we were missing, said hello to friends, had a small sip of bubble, and then headed out before everyone was fully settled in since the boys thought it would be fun to wrestle in white on the grass.

Next week Jennifer has work dinners, I had invites to go out, but something has to give. So I’ll take the boys to swimming lessons, she’ll schmooze, and then she’ll return the favour the following week.

Parenting without a net just means parenting, really. Having help for the past few years has been nice, but now it’s time to juggle on our own. No net.

Top image via David Gallindo on Flickr

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