I know before I even write this that two things are going to happen here: 1) People will comment that I am a terrible mother and then give vivid details about the wonderful memories they have from the idyllic sleepovers they hosted, and 2) the parents of my kids’ friends will all freak out and never allow their kids to sleep over here again. (Pow! It worked. Sly, evil, grin).
The sleepover request usually happens here on Saturdays after a long day of a million or so kids hanging out, eating all my food, using every freaking pool towel I have, running in and out and in and out of the house all day long, and never shutting the screen door behind them no matter how many times I ask, but hey, I don’t mind—I love having flies in the house. I love kids, the shrill screaming of their happy little voices, watching them chow down on all the snacks I was saving for the school week, the empty plastic cups littering my yard, that’s all fine with me…until the sun goes down, then I am done.
My parenting shift (and all of my patience) ends at approximately 10 p.m. right after I take off my bra, scrub the makeup from my face, and pull on the sweatpants I bought back in the ‘80s that have now literally molded to my body shape, saggy ass and all. Once this outfit is complete, it’s a full-on transformation from sweet, got-it-all-together, saintly suburban supermom into “I couldn’t give a rat’s ass—just leave me the hell alone” evil-villain-of-the-night mom. And be warned: If your kid stays here with that mom, both of you will suffer the consequences.
Now, if my kids catch me off-guard and ask for a sleepover before the sweatpants are all the way up and I agree, please know that once this saggy ass hits the couch, there will be no more monitoring of your kids.
“Joey can only watch G-rated movies so can you supervise what they are watching?” (No) “Haley cannot eat sugar after 8.” (Don’t give a fuck) “Jackson has an early soccer game tomorrow so can you make sure he is asleep at a decent hour?” (Nope, not going to happen).
I can guarantee you this however: If your child sleeps at my house, they will have the same kind of sleepover I did as a child, which means they will be locked in the basement where they will have access to piles of processed, GMO-laden, nonorganic crap and watch wildly inappropriate movies, then play Truth or Dare until the sun rises. In the morning, I will ship your adorable zombie with the crack-sugar hangover right back to you so you can enjoy hearing them whine all day about how tired they are.
One of the absolute worst things that can happen at a sleepover, though, is that kid who decides at 2 a.m. that they miss their mommy and want to go home. There they are, standing a few feet away from my bed. I can feel them, through my closed eyelids, staring at me in the darkness, like some freaky kid in a horror movie.
“What is wrong?” I growl.
“I don’t feel good. I want to go home.” (Sniffle.)
“OK buddy, listen, the car keys are downstairs on the kitchen counter. Don’t forget to move the seat forward so you can reach the pedals and duck down if you see a cop. Tell your mom I’ll get the car in the morning.”
But what I really hate the most about sleepovers—really, really hate—is the expectation of breakfast the next morning. Breakfast? I don’t do breakfast. There will be no mommy in an apron whistling “Sweet Sunshine” while whipping up a fresh batch of pancakes and sausage with all the fixins in this house. Coffee, coffee, coffee is all you need, at least that’s what I tell my kids. So if your kid wants a cup of Joe, that I can do. I am more than happy to hand him a mug, a spoon, and point him in the direction of the Keurig.
What’s that, you say? Does my kid want to sleep at your house? Well, now we’re talking, and by they way, my kids really love a big breakfast.