Tough topic - but something I think that needs discussing and I certainly am interested in all of your opinions as you have been the greatest supports for me lately, aside from my local friends here in Jersey the past few months!
Having an identity outside of your kids.
I am lucky to be madly in love with my husband. I know that sounds kind of silly and kind of obvious - but I realize that in today's day and age of quicky divorces and couples therapy and "irreconcilable differences" that I am one of the lucky few who really is married to her best friend.
Sure, we both do things that irritate each other - he moves at a snails pace for certain tasks and likes to take his time waking up in the morning, whereas I'm a tasmanian devil starting as soon as I open my eyes in the morning running through the house doing things to get my day started - but at the end of the day we can laugh about it and it works.
Laughing is important. We laugh all the time.
We got married because we chose each other to spend the rest of our lives with. Kids were an afterthought. When we were getting married, I can't even remember if we had discussed kids - although I always knew I wanted some. We talked about work and school for sure because we were both setting out to begin our careers and we both WANTED careers - so that was important to us both. But, kids I think we decided would come later.
We were married for 2.5 years before we decided to have Kaitlyn and our decision was made on an airplane. (no - I'm NOT talking about the mile high club ladies) We had just spent 3 AMAZING months living and working in San Francisco and prior to that we had had 2 FULL years of traveling around the US and world together. We were both working and happy in our jobs and decided that we had started to check off some of our "life" list things so maybe it was time to start thinking about kids.
We returned from SF in April and got pregnant in May. Apparently it was meant to be!
I love my daughter. For those of you who like or love working, (I fully understand that distinction can change every day) you can understand what a sacrifice it can be to decide to give up a career path to stay at home with kids. Not only financially - but personally.
I love working. I loved being tied to a blackberry and accountable at all hours. I always checked my email at home. I didn't go to work at 9:00 and forget about it at 4:55. Work was a part of me.
I love being challenged - which is why I went back to school while I was working FT to get a masters in Human Resources because I loved the field so much I wanted to get my degree so I could progress within it.
When I decided to stay home and move closer to my husbands job so that we could have more family time together - that was also a sacrifice. I was leaving the town we had made home, local friends, being closer to our parents and my job.
However we were gaining the ability to be together more - just the 3 of us. My husband now has a 5 minute commute. If I need him during lunch time because I need a serious mommy time out - I have that. He helps grocery shop and cook and spends alone time with Katie all the time.
It's a wonderful life. I don't mean to sound braggy - but for all the sacrifices that we made, we really have a very happy and fulfilling home life. As a couple and a family.
Which brings me to the main topic (sorry... it's taking so long)
My husband and I still enjoy spending time away from our kids. I think it's important that he have the ability and desire to go out after work one night and do something JUST FOR HIM. I also think it's important that he spend alone time with our daughter - the same way I get alone time with her during the day. She calls them dates and she loves them.
On a Saturday afternoon, he might take her to the little zoo close by - just the two of them. I don't feel we have to be together every free second of every day. I don't think it's necessarily healthy. And I certainly don't think I should feel bad about being left behind in a quiet house.
My parents are amazing with Kaitlyn and will stay overnight with her and have even started taking her to their house for a few nights so we can have some peace and quiet. (especially since I've been pregnant) I don't feel bad about that. She has a GREAT TIME! She is super well prepared for the fact that when this baby comes, mommy and daddy won't be at home with her and she might be with someone else for 2 days. I think it's going to be less traumatizing than if she had NEVER stayed with anyone else.
I think as parents you are MORE THAN ENTITLED to time alone. I think that as parents you have to have an identity outside of your children. I mean, after all - you were a person before you had children weren't you? With interests and hobbies and a social life. So, I don't think that should be put entirely on hold until your kids "leave the house."
Now, I haven't left the country or even traveled away from her by plane and I don't know that we'll ever do that because I have travel issues and the thought of leaving her behind freaks me out- but I don't think that if you take a weekend to get away from your kids that it makes you less of a parent or less dedicated.
Now, if your kids are at your parents house every other day and you are out partying and never spending time with them and resent being around them - that's something else.
I'm talking about having a healthy relationship with your husband away from the kids and having some sense of personal identity that is separate from your kids. I love going away for a night and going on hikes and walks and trying new restaurants - things we do WITH and WITHOUT Katie. But, let's be honest... when is the last time you were able to sit at the bar at a local gastropub and listen to a live band that just started playing for an hour with your kids? I've never done it, but we were able to do it one night while she was with my parents and we went to dinner and the live band just kinda showed up and it was awesome.
We came home refreshed and relaxed and ready to go back to parent mode.
I don't think that I should feel bad about that and I don't think that there is anything wrong with having a life outside your kids. I personally think it's the healthier of the 2 options.
What do you think?