We love being parents. Period.
That isn’t, however, to say that every once in a while we don’t want to take a break and be on our own, or go out with our wonderful friends, sans child.
And that’s OK. It doesn’t make me or Cris any less of a parent to say “I need a break for a bit”.
Being a parent is both physically and emotionally demanding, so it’s totally normal to have to “turn off” for a while, and unwind. For Cris, that means setting up by a river somewhere in a hammock; for me, it’s putting together a workout that I can accomplish while Baby Wagon sleeps, or getting together with friends for a few hours.
It’s so important, as a parent, to understand that self care is essential to caring for your child. If you are over stressed or overtired, as we so often are with babies and toddlers, it’s hard to focus on anything else, let alone your beautiful child. So it’s key to take some alone time, or space, to gather your spirit back up. It can be anything from finally making that Doctors appointment that you’ve been putting off for over a year, to a nice massage, or even a solo camping trip for the weekend. No matter how small an act it is, do it.
This is not selfish. It’s just fine to call in reinforcements for a while and take a date night. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it’s vital to the health of your relationship. Even if it is only a quick dinner or movie, then home.
Cris and I are not very good at doing this together, but it’s something we are working on. We take solo excursions while the other half spends time with Baby Wagon, but I’ll be the first to admit that I feel guilty for calling the grandparents, because they help us out so much already. It doesn’t matter how many times we’ve been told that it’s a pleasure to watch her, it’s hard not to feel a touch of guilt when we leave, and all too easy to simply alleviate that feeling by saying “It can wait a little while, lets save the money” and just keep putting that date night off, indefinitely.
Yes, the children have to come first, but don’t allow the relationship of their parents to fall by the wayside either. They need to see the happy, healthy, loving couple you are, as much as you do.
So take that trip or that date night, or make that Doctors appointment. Do what you need to do for your spiritual, emotional and physical well being.
Say it with me: “It is not selfish, it is self care”. After all, if you won’t take care of you, who will?