I am with my child all the time. Most of the time, I adore it. We have a wonderful little routine that carries us from day to day. We see friends, we color, we play, and at bedtime, he has to give me about ten hugs and kisses before he’s okay with me going downstairs. It’s so cute.
I wouldn’t trade my relationship with him for anything. I love to have all this time with him. It’s amazing.
Except, sometimes, I need a break. And not a two hour nap time break, but a full day and a half, or an overnight….by myself. I need to sleep past 5:30, (yup, my kid is an early riser) I need to take a shower without an audience, or I want to do things just for me, like going shopping for a dress, or going out to lunches that don’t include highchairs.
The first time my husband took my son on an overnight without me, I had tears in my eyes as they drove away. What would I miss? Would he need me and I wasn’t there? What if he didn’t understand and he cried?
But then, he had a great time, and when they returned, I was like a new person. That one night had given me just enough time to find myself a bit again, to play, to have a chat with a friend on my own time, and it was amazing.
It’s just so freeing. You don’t realize it, because it happens slowly, but when you have kids, you slowly retract into your new identity. Before you know it, taking twenty minutes to leave the house is completely normal. You think about the shoes you’re putting on only in terms of how much running you’re going to be doing, not how well they match your ensemble. You think about choosing restaurants in terms of “do they have highchairs?” And before you know it, you’re deep in the world of mom.
So, every so often, when my husband whisks my son away for some father/son time, it amazes me how quickly I remember what it used to be like. I still fight it. I still say, “I’ll come too, or I don’t need time alone,” but then, when it’s happening, I love it. Shopping in the middle of the day, bookstore trips after dark, and turning on the television whenever I want, feels so luxurious and awesome. It just feels great to take care of myself and my wants and needs for a day or so.
When they get home, my husband tells me how much fun they had, and for a minute, I’m a little envious. But then, I remember how much fun I had. And as much as I don’t want to admit it, sometimes, having a little space makes me a better parent.
This is one of the perks of toddlerhood. You can let go a little. As much as I resist it, it’s good for me, it’s good for my husband, and it’s good for my son.
Do you ever get time alone? How do you feel about it?