Friday, February 12, 2010

Taking Time Off Is Needed.

I cannot be the only one. When I think that I am my mother points out, "Everyone has different needs and limits and at least you recognize what those needs and limits are." Is she placating me? No, I don't think so, but it is true. I need and take more time than most to be on my own with friends, away from the kids, on date nights with H or just completely by myself. That last one being rare, but it is there. Coming off a weekend sans kids where H and I did nothing more than eat, sleep and fritter time away without a care in the world I find myself wondering why I do feel as if we are in the minority.

Some of my friends simply need a few hours reprieve and they say, "Just to get away and clear my head. I don't need a whole weekend away." Need? What about want? Don't you want a weekend away with just your husband or with a good friend? Have you asked your partner if maybe they might want that? H and I do not work well when we are apart a lot. We also begin to malfunction when either one of us hasn't had enough time to go to the gym or have some down time with friends or just off by ourselves. I do not think that is selfish either. I think it is called being balanced. We are incredibly blessed that we get to be this balanced so often.

However, I know there are plenty of people who disagree. They don't hire sitters and they don't let family or friends watch their kids. They will gladly offer to watch yours but never take you up on your reciprocal offer. Call me crazy but I think that's, well, a tad crazy. There I said it. Now I will say more. When someone says, "It's my child. I am the parent. I'm the one who is responsible raising that child and no one else so I won't let others watch my child...." I want to go all late 1990's on them and give them the hand. The face? It is not listening and for these reasons. One, a sitter, a friend, a family member who watches your child so you can have dinner with your partner isn't "raising" your kid. They are minding them for a bit. Only you can actually raise your child. Two, I think it speaks volumes about trust and security issues when you cannot let others look out for you and your family. You have to have someone to fall back on just in case. There has to be an outlet. Lastly, until recently it has literally been a community, extended family, a "village" effort to raise a child. The onus is not on just the parents. Kids need expansion and that time with others to see how various people do every day things. I look at TD and see how amazed she is at how different each set of grandparent does even the smallest thing like make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Children learn in so many ways and while I am not saying, don't vet your sitters or just leave them with your crack addict mother-in-law just because she is family, I am saying this- Go out. Get a life. Let your kids see you having one. Let them see what parents are like who get a break. You might not think you need it but you do more than you know.

Go ahead and think I'm judging someone else's parenting skills and techniques.  That's fine.  However, realize that I say all this because I am hearing both sides of the parental unit story from various couples.  I am hearing one or both wanting and needing these things but being too afraid to communicate these needs and make them real.  Fear holds us all back at some point, doesn't it? 

I am not ashamed to take weekends away. I like them. I appreciate my kids more. H and I can discuss family issues, parental concerns and eat all our food while it's hot all in one sitting. It's nice. I like my solo runs, I enjoy my girl’s night out with friends. It recharges me and makes me appreciate everything I have and feel whole again. I'm not just a butt-wiping appendage or grocery-getting kiddie entertainer. I am Vicky again and all that is wrapped into that, including being a parent but it is not the whole of me. It is nice to remember that and see it in H as well. It makes us better for each other and for our kids. 

Call me crazy but at least I know my limits. What about you?


  1. Every once in a while I take a peek at pregnancy forums and what surprises me is the number of women who think that letting family members and friends help out with childcare is an old fashioned concept, and they are modern women who don't need anyone's help, or anyone's outside influence on their child. And it makes me sad. I'm sad that because of all our moving around, my child isn't going to have the network of cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and family friends that I grew up with.

    I also think it's just as good for the kids to have some away time, to learn how to deal with people other than their parents.

  2. Anonymous4:00 PM

    You're lucky that you are in a position to be able to take off without kids. Too many families of kids with special needs are not afforded that luxury by family, friends, or respite care. I'd love for someone to say, have a weekend away with your husband and I'll watch your child who needs constant supervision despite being a teenager. I'll make sure he gets his meds and IV infusions. I'll be sure everything is done right and you don't return to a child who is worse off than when you left. It would be nice.

  3. HOORAY!! I am not yet a mom, but this is the picture of motherhood that I think I could do: Ann, who is also a mom. Not a mom who used to be Ann. Good for you. Let me know when you want another weekend away. ;)

  4. I know moms who won't leave their children with their spouses, the children's fathers. I think that speaks volumes.


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