We all need alone time…
There’s nothing wrong with giving yourself some much needed ‘Me’ time, as a parent. But when does ‘Me’ time, turn into ‘All the Time’?
Now I cherish the short amount of time I get with my husband, or even just to myself, without the kid, as much as the next parent. it’s opportunities to catch up on work, relax a little, or (god forbid) even get to go out and have a little fun with friends during dinner. But my son is always first priority, and I’m usually more inclined to spend a night reading to him than dancing at a club with my girlfriends. Why? Because the club is always there-my son’s time as a little guy is getting shorter with each day. He’s almost a year already and I feel like I just brought him home! But if he’s visiting grandma, and I can get away for an hour or two, of course I’ll join a friend for a birthday celebration. Even let my husband take me out for dinner, which we never do anymore.
When is there too much “me time?”
But I know some parents who are able to find babysitters every weekend, and go out whenever they want. Envious? A little. But I still wouldn’t change my mind, even if I had the flexibility. I don’t want to miss out on that much time with my child. Is is a judgement on their parenting? Not at all-if it works for you, go for it. Some parents can, I’m just one of the ones who personally cannot.
But I’m bothered by a select few (who I’m sure everyone knows types like this) who are hardly ever spending time with their kids as a family. Who are always leaving them with a babysitter every chance they get, to party, to hang out with other adults. Who choose to forgo an opportunity to take their child to the beach, over going with friends to the beach. Who choose a night at the movies with girlfriends, over watching their kid in the school play. I was shocked when a friend of mine openly admitted she “didn’t have time for (cheerleading) practices”, but yet is at the club every weekend instead. Equally as shocked when learning that some of the parents I know won’t allow their son to play football, because it cuts into their time doing some other activity for themselves.
Again, I’m not judging their ability to wipe noses, kiss their kids goodnight, or provide for them the necessities they require for survival. But one thing I learned when becoming a mom, was that as the saying goes, “It’s a time to put away your childish ways, for your child’s ways.”
Parenting Isn’t Easy
Being a parent requires a certain level of sacrifice. I sacrifice sleep, time to use the bathroom alone (or at all), hair appointments (yes, I rock Mom hair, no shame), and a lot of other things, so I can devote more time to my child. I’m not saying cut out all of your hobbies and pleasures altogether. That’s where time management comes in. But it saddens me when I see parent’s choosing themselves over their kids like this. Yes, my son might only be 11 months old, but when it’s time for him to want to play a sport, there’s no question which will come first: Baseball, or my spin class. If they are scheduled at the same time, guess what I’ll be doing? Spinning my little car to the diamond field so he can practice pitching. When he has the lead in the school play, or even just as a member of chorus, I’ll be there at every production – happy hour or not. And if all my friends, childless or not, are going to the beach? Move over so my little boy can get in between us and build a sand castle.
It saddens me because our time with our kids is so very limited. They are only children for so long. And they have lives, too. Lives that are better enriched by activities. It shouldn’t be a hard choice to pick your child over your own social life. Your work schedule is a different story, but when it comes to “Personal Me Time”, I don’t think it should be more than the time you spend with your kids. And I don’t think they should suffer because their lives conflict with yours.
Family is what really matters
Sometimes my husband and I do things for ourselves as a couple, or we separate and do things as individuals. But it’s seldom. It’s not at every opportunity to dump the baby at Grandma’s. I’m not saying anyone is a bad parent for doing these things, but this is how I look at it; those club nights add up. The missed after-school activities add up. The chances to go with Mommy and Daddy to the theme park, add up. What do you think your child will remember most?
I don’t want my son to remember that he didn’t get to participate in karate, because it conflicted with my yoga class. I don’t want him to recall growing up spending every non-school night at his aunt’s house because “mama needed to get her drink on.” I want him to remember that not only did he get to play sports, but I was there for every game. I want him to remember the time I declined girl’s night, so me and his father could go out to a family dinner and movie date.
I don’t want him to ever think that “Mommy’s time” was more important than he is.