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. 


  1. DEEEAAAAMMMMMNNN, love nate and steph

  2. Glad you had a great time away :D

  3. Guilt free, you say? Good for you girl. I'll be havin' a little of that guilt free time myself this weekend as my hubs & I head to Hilton Head. Three whole days without dinosaur chicken nuggets.

  4. So when I read your writing (and each time I'm around you) I always literally 'laugh out loud.' No cutesy acronym here. Not only do a 'laugh out loud,' but I always end up crying to. You are such a great writer.

  5. I'm glad you enjoy your time away, however I must point out that you've gravely misused the term "childfree." "Childfree" is the name of a minority group, often marginalized for their lifestyle choice. The lifestyle choice of which I am referring is the deliberate choice to never have children. Perhaps you were not aware of this?

    It's hard for a minority group to gain recognition and acceptance without a label that clearly identifies who they are. Misusing the term robs it of it's meaning and makes it more difficult for people to understand what people who are actually childfree are all about. I would even go so far as to venture that lack of knowledge of the existence of childfree people may be partly caused by popular misuse of the term.

    I just thought I'd clarify that for you, should you like to correct the mistake.

  6. I am looking forward to some CHILDFREE time in Nov! My husband and I are leaving Man with the grandparents and are off to the beach!!!

  7. I had some awesome child-free time twice this year! I was without my child for alumnae weekend at my college and I was also child-free when I visited my best friend earlier this month. It's good to have some child-free time to reconnect with your spouse or yourself.

  8. gee, I wasn't aware there was a copyright on the term "child free". I would think it means being without children, as lint free means being without lint, and scent free means being without scent, and senseless means being without sense.

  9. Anonymous
    Exactly. Therefore, a parent is not childfree, regardless of whether or not they've dumped their kid with a sitter. There's no need to get defensive when corrected, assuming it was an honest mistake.

  10. Pathetic post by goldencoathanger.com, no correction should be necessary as your choice to be childfree needs no recognition by the public. Who cares if you are childfree or for that matter if I am with my child or for the moment childfree!
    Anonymous reader

  11. This is quite the hot topic...and to think I struggled with the correct title of this post!

  12. Thea,
    Someone simply pointing out your mistake is a "hot topic" and "intense"? It's one thing to stubbornly refuse to be corrected, refusing to actually learn anything, but you're exaggerating horribly. Adults don't mind constructive criticism, correction. And adults certainly don't lie that they're being attacked. I can forgive your mistake as simple ignorance, but you've gone on to be very dishonest in your descriptions of that correction.

    Simply put, no parent is ever childfree. Only temporarily without their child. You can go on being wrong if you want, refusing to correct yourself if you want, but stop lying for attention - it's shameful and I think sets a bad example as a parent.


  13. I sincerely doubt she was "lying" for attention, as she is possibly unaware that there are such vile and onerous people, such as yourself, who feel that "golden coathanger" is not simply your own insidious and shameful way of gaining attention. Otherwise you might have called your blog "Pro Choice and Proud". It's fine to be "pro choice" but it is pathetic to be vulgar within the guise of some sort of psuedo-feminist ideologies.

    I would imagine you googled "childfree" in order to find like-minded individuals, and instead stumbled upon this blog. Since you have found none, you should simply have done what anyone else does when confronted with myriad not-quite-right search returns: kept looking.

    I'm tired of the "cult of ME" who sneer at compassion toward others. A coathanger is not a means to achieve womanly freedom, even if it is GOLDEN.

    Intelligence and empathy are the way to further ideals.

  14. This is wild. Would a simple tap of the space bar have avoided all of this hot mess, or is "child free" also as wrong/offensive/disrespectful/hurtful/outrageous as "childfree"?

  15. I asked on Twitter if "kidfree" would be a suitable alternative, but nobody bothered answering me.

    I have meatfree meals even though my diet is not meatfree every day. (i.e. free of meat)

  16. wow. can we all start claiming minority status for the choices we make? as in, join me and my minority group that i'm naming dyefree for those who don't color their hair. or perhaps licensefree if you don't have a driver's license.
    when we say that we're going handsfree on our phones, do people assume that we actually have no hands?

    and to thea, hi, i'm sherilin. i'm glad you had a nice time away from your child & that you've got people who you know will take good care of her while you're recharging your batteries. you're very fortunate.


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