April 2011 - Amanda May Portrait Art
I just read this article from crazy/silly Mama Katie at Bower Power. She's a stay-at-home Mom and her post was about how she and her husband had just went out for their first date night since becoming parents. She admits that she has only left her son Will a handful of times for a couple of hours a pop and he's now 15 months old. Wow, is all I can say! I have left Elyse a whole lot more than that. I'm not going to deny it made me swallow hard just thinking about it. It is hard not to compare.
People offer all the time to watch Elyse - suggesting we go to dinner, see a movie, etc. I love and appreciate that - I do. But, for the most part, if we can all be together or at least have her with one of us, we try to make that happen. We do get some time alone - we just had pedicures together last week and left her with a friend. We have plans next month for an evening in Seattle. But, for the most part, we incorporate her into our plans. If it is dinner - we don't mind taking her. If it is a party, we'd prefer to take her, but sometimes that doesn't work so often just one of us will attend. Bill has had some guy outings and I have spent time away with the girls, but usually one of us stays home. There are times that we can't take her and we are fine with that, but if there is a way to make it work, we like to have our girl with one or both of us. It works for us - for now.
Everyone is different, but for me - they are only little once. We have plenty of time ahead of us where Elyse will want to spend the night at a friend or family member's house. Over the years as she grows, she will have more and more friends and activities and our time together will become less and less until the day when we turn her over to be on her own. We know it is our job to raise her to be independent so we can let her go. Yet, I can't see that we will ever regret our choices to be with her when we can - particularly now when she is a baby.
Bill and I have both made deliberate choices to work outside the home. That decision means our child is without us for many hours during the week. When we are off work, we would rather be with her than without. People tell us all the time, "You need to have time for your relationship." "You need time one-on-one." I don't necessarily disagree with that. I also know we had children at a later stage of our lives. We have a pretty mature and healthy relationship. We also have a lot of alone time together. Even when we are with Elyse, she is so young we can have conversations in front of her we couldn't have when she gets older. For us, this works. And honestly, I can tell you this little person that has come into our family has made our relationship even stronger.
I attend a Mom's group on my day off with Elyse. The other Moms had all already left their babies overnight and our kids are all the same age. They seemed surprised and maybe even a little embarrassed when they'd heard I hadn't. I reassured them - it is different. I work and am away from my daughter 40+ hours a week. I have time away - to be myself, to be something other than a Mom. You don't have that. It does make sense to me.
And just know, we'd love to go dinner with you. Mind if we bring our daughter?