Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Childfree Time: Awesome and Glorious

A few times since Lady Baby joined us on this earth we have flown the coop and left her for a weekend at home with grandparents. While I thought I would be worried and stressed and concerned for her safety, I was none of those things. On the contrary, I was a giddy free spirit. We tore the band-aid off early with the whole babysitting thing and have been leaving her with others for the evening since she was a wee thing. When we left for that first weekend away, it was not as if we had never been apart from our child. We had just never both been away from her overnight. In another town. Several hours away. And it was awesome. Yes, that's right. Awesome. 

Our first trip away was to the beach with friends early this past  summer. My parents came up and watched Her Highness from Friday evening to Sunday lunch. I thought it would be difficult to enjoy myself so far away from my precious offspring, but I was seriously mistaken. Maybe it was because I knew she was well taken care of (they did keep me alive afterall). Maybe it was because I knew she was in her comfort zone. Maybe it was a little bit of both. Whatever the reason, I was foot loose and fancy free and we had an outstanding adult only weekend. We talked about our kids a lot, but they weren't there, sucking up all the attention with their constant need for parenting. There was no one to entertain, no one who needed milk or snacks, no one who relied on me to monitor whether they had pooped their pants. Let me tell you, it was glorious.
The Awesome and Glorious beach weekend

Please don't get me wrong. I lurve my child. She is the light of my life, the reason I am alive. The sun shines out of her little bum. But we are together a lot. Seven days a week minus two mornings of preschool and the occasional movie night. I have done the math and that is like minimum 150 hours per week. I include sleeping time because as every parent knows, just because they are asleep does not mean that you are off duty. Children are tricky little beasts who often grow neediest the moment they sense you drifting off. So after months of 24/7 Mommy+A time, we both need a little break. Cue the grandparents. Hubs and I get 48 hours of just being normal people. We can finish a sentence. We only have to hold someone's hand if we want to. The huge tip at dinner is because it was a fancy meal not because of the amount of food on the floor. Ahh, bliss.

When I hear people say that they cannot bear to be away from their children, I don't get it. I just cannot relate. I enjoy a break and I am not embarrassed to say it. It doesn't make me a bad parent. I don't love her less than other parents love their kids. It just means that I like time away to get back to being plain old T. I need moments where no one needs my attention. Where I can sit and enjoy other adults. Time to eat a meal with my husband and have a conversation that does not include the phrases "do not throw that" and "stop feeding the dog." I have to have a little space, especially after life with a clingy toddler. One can only be touched but so much on any given day without feeling a little squirrely for some personal space. I like date nights, girls trips, and weekends away. Not only do I benefit from it, but so do my marriage, my friendships, and my child. I believe it is good for her to spend time with her dad and her grandparents when I am elsewhere. It forces her to develop bonds with them that don't happen as easily when Mommy is available to hang on and hide behind.

This past weekend we had an epic (often overused but appropriate here) time hosting friends from out of town for a concert. Alice was at my parents and we had a weekend in our own house without the child. Weird. It was a little heart wrenching to drive away and actually leave her somewhere for a few days, but only a little. She had a great time with Papa and Busy, we had a great time with our friends. Amazing how much less stressful it is to wear your party-pants when you know there will not be a toddler waking you at 7am. In a few months we are going to NYC with friends and we will be dropping the child off with Grandma and Grandpa. She will get several days of spoilage by her grands and we will enjoy a mini-vacay. Win-win.

When I have been away from Lady Baby, the reunion is always a very sweet one. I return refreshed and ready to tackle motherhood again, instead of feeling worn down by the daily grind that often takes over. She is happy to see me because she is a toddler and they are basically human puppies. Not much sense of time and happy no matter when you walk in the door. When we arrived at my parents to pick her up this past Sunday she was so excited she kept hugging me, screaming, and hugging me again. It was a great reminder of how a few days apart can help us remember how much we love each other. Absence makes the heart grow fonder they say? True. Very true. A little of it also makes the Mama happier. 


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