Like everyone we get a lot of slack about our parenting. Everyone has an opinion whether you ask for it or not. If someone parents differently than you do, they let you know about it. If someone can’t remember what it’s like to be a full time parent (because it’s been too long), they share their wisdom. If someone does not have children, they too have fabulous insight on your parenting. I am not complaining, I have learned so much from other moms. I believe the support and encouragement from your tribe make all the difference. But a lot of times, you know what works for your family and what you can handle and that’s really all you need. The absolute best parenting advice I have ever gotten was from one of my fellow moms when I was 5 weeks postpartum with My Sunshine. She told me to do what works for me and my family. To take everything I read and everyone’s advice with a grain of salt, to use what works and let go of what doesn’t without any guilt. I know that sounds so easy, but it is extremely hard to do, especially as a first time mom. I embrace this philosophy more every day. I wish I would have had the confidence in myself as a mother to use it right away.
One common concern for those around us is why my husband and I haven’t had an overnight together in 4 years, since My Sunshine was born. It used to make me feel bad, I worried there was something wrong in our marriage and there were times we tried to schedule it even when it didn’t feel right. As much as I wanted an overnight with my husband, I also wanted to enjoy it. I didn’t want to worry all night, I didn’t want to check my phone constantly or get called home in the middle of the night. I didn’t want my very attached child to cry all night and talk about it for the next 6 months. And if he would have woken up to me not being there, that’s exactly what he would have done. And you know how I know? Because I am his mama. I spend every day with him. I am the expert on my son.
And yes he would have survived if he would have cried all night. And I know he would not remember when he’s older that one night. And if it meant saving my marriage to get away, I would have done so. But my marriage survived by getting creative with date nights at home with a baby monitor and frankly thinking of my baby crying all night just felt wrong. And so we waited. And waited and waited.
And about a month ago we left both kids to slumber party with Nana and we had an incredible overnight. It was fantastic, it was relaxing and fun and perfectly timed for our family. The kids knew where we were and had a great time with Nana. Our 4 year old’s only concern was if we would be eating pizza on our date without him, I assured him we most certainly would not be eating pizza! But the point is that everything about this little getaway felt right for our whole family. The world does not revolve entirely around our children and we are not, God forbid the helicopter parents. We are a family that is no longer a couple and we are basking in this incredibly difficult and beautiful season of our lives. It will be over soon and our kids will be begging us to leave them alone, so for now we will enjoy waking up too early to a bed full of babies. This isn’t what would work for everyone and that is okay. You have to do what works for your family.
Don’t get me wrong, now that this overnight thing works for us, we will be doing it. Because, did I mention I forgot how funny my husband is? Did I mention how much we laughed? Did I mention he broke into a water slide to go down it only to realize after it was too late that there was no water and he had to shimmy his way out. This is the good stuff; these are adventures I could make room for in my life again. I am just so glad we waited until it worked for us.