Why I don’t feel guilty when I…
Go on a vacation without my kids.
Go on date night without my kids.
Go to book club, breakfast out, or catch a meal with friends without my kids.
I know it may sound completely sacrilegious to some people, but let me explain.
This last Saturday I was privileged to have brunch with a precious friend. We don’t get to see each other often, but when we do, we try and make the most out of it. With three kids each and all of our other responsibilities, there just aren’t enough hours in the week to see each other on a semi-regular basis. So we make time when we can.
We planned things weeks in advance and made sure to clear our schedules before leaving our kids at home with the dads. While we were at brunch (definitely check out Delish by the way…you can thank me later…), she shared with me about a recent trip she and her husband took without their kids to Disneyland. I was SO stoked for her (if not slightly jealous…I mean, Disneyland!!!). While we were talking, she mentioned a conversation she had had with some other mom friends of hers about her trip and the response she received from them.
You see, rather then being excited for a momma who works hard homeschooling her kids, volunteering at church and at BSF, getting some dedicated husband/wife time at the happiest place on earth, they were slightly judgmental that she and her husband didn’t take their kids with them on said trip. The irony is, later on in their conversation, the mom’s were complaining about taking their kids to the grocery store because it was a lot of work. My friend turned to them and said, “If you don’t even enjoy taking your kids to the grocery store, why in the world would you want to take them to Disneyland?” She said their eyes lit up and understanding dawned.
That’s kind of how it is though right? When someone does something that you don’t really get you just kind of brush them off or make a comment that is meant to make them feel guilty about their choices. Until of course, you are faced with the same choice.
My husband was the one to push for us to have our first date after the birth of our first son. The first to push for our first overnight stay away from our kids. The first to push for a week without them. While we both (logically) knew the importance of our marriage and keeping our friendship, he was the one to initiate that time for us. He fought for it and I am so thankful. Because while it was scary leaving my kids with trusted family members, it was SO important for me (and him), the mother of young children, to have some time away from them, from their needs and their wants.
I love my kids, and everyday that they are with me I feel like I am pouring myself out, taking care of them and meeting their needs in the best way that I can. But it’s hard. Motherhood (and fatherhood for that matter) are hard. The needs are always there. It took me years to figure out that taking a little time out of the week for myself was good for my mental stability and for my family. It helps me love them better. Helps me serve them better. Makes me appreciate the time I have with them that much more.
So no, I don’t feel guilty leaving them for a few hours each week with the babysitter or once a year for a few days while I go recharge and reconnect with their daddy. It serves our family as a whole and ultimately allows us to love more fully.