In Support of Parental Time Outs

(I have a post up at All Over Albany about our weekend trip to Manchester, VT. Here’s a little more about the reasons behind the getaway.)

Sometimes, the world of parenting in 2013 seems like it’s just trying to make moms and dads feel guilty all the time. Part of the problem is information overload- for every topic you try to research you will find 38 points of view stating that their way is the best and any other way will scar your child for life. And then there’s the blogs and the Pinterest images showing you all the ways other parents are more organized, more fun, more crafty, more creative, better dressed, etc etc etc.

If you’re lucky, you’ll find at least one friend who is also a parent and who will reassure you that you are doing just fine, commiserate when things get frustrating, agree that it’s just impossible to keep a clean house with a toddler around, and encourage you to by all means to take a break once in a while- and don’t you dare feel guilty about it. I’m here to agree with that friend: go! Take a break! It will make you a better parent. Really, it will.

It’s hard to take a break from parenting, I know. Whether you work in the home or in an office, the demands on a mom or dad can be endless. And while it’s a job that absolutely brings lots of joy and fulfillment, it can also be oh so draining. As a parent who works out of the home four days a week, I find it very hard to choose to be anywhere but with my child during any time off, whether it’s evenings or weekends.   

For Christmas, Patrick and I decided that the time had come to take a break together. Rather than give each other gifts, we made a promise to book our first weekend away together since Evelyn was born and to do it in the near future.

Thanks to a Groupon and grandparents who were willing to babysit, we got that getaway last weekend, and it was amazing.

We shopped, we explored, we had adult conversations, we reconnected, we reflected on the life we were building together, dreamed up future plans, and ate good food. We drank wine with dinner and beer with lunch, we took our time browsing books, and let time get away from us without thinking about when it would be naptime or snacktime or bedtime.

Meanwhile, Evelyn was having her own awesome weekend with her grandparents. We split the weekend between the two sets of grandparents, and Evy had a blast. She played in the snow both days, took Grandma to music class, ate pancakes, played guitar with Papa, read books with Vou, and happily noshed on Italian bread and Nonni’s freshly made tomato sauce.

I’ve had other moms proudly tell me that in six years of motherhood they’ve never spent a night away from their children. I give them lots of credit. For us, a weekend away in the dead of winter was good for all of us. As parents, we returned refreshed and recharged. Our daughter had a great time with her grandparents, and they loved having her around.

In 2013 I want to do a better job of making time for me and for us. I love being with my daughter, but I do miss making time to run, write, crochet, and have time alone with my husband. It was hard to do in the first year, especially with a breastfeeding infant, but with a toddler (and awesome grandparents nearby) it’s so doable if we just make it a priority. I think it’s important that Evelyn sees us beyond our roles as mom and dad, and that we show her how much we value our marriage. I want her to know that I have my own interests, and I want her to see me pursuing them.

So, if you’re researching whether it’s okay to have a weekend away from your little one(s), I’m here to say yes! Ignore anyone who says otherwise. Have a refreshing guilt-free getaway. Recharge and reconnect. Part of being a parent is doing your best to be the kind of person you want your child to be. I want my child to grow up to be an adult who gives to others and makes time to take care of herself, and I want to show her how that’s done.


1 Comment

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One response to “In Support of Parental Time Outs

  1. I love reading about how other people actually manage to still live their lives after they have kids. We're not quite up to baby free vacations, as J is still breastfeeding and my mother is a disaster of a babysitter, but I'm totally, totally looking forwards to is.

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