Your kids will always be your kids, but your spouse won't necessarily always be your spouse. Especially if you don't make them a priority. Our goal as parents is to raise our children to not need us. To be self-sufficient, productive members of society, right? I don't understand the new child-centric trend. I see more and more parents letting their children run the show. Many have an attitude of "What can you do"? You can be the parent! Besides, it is important for kids to see healthy, happy relationships modeled for them. And to have boundaries. And to have sane parents.
I've always been a bit of a crazy when it comes to a fairly early bedtime. When the girls were really little, I think it was for self-preservation as much as anything. I was home with them all day, and they were BUSY! The second reason I was the bedtime nazi is that my kids get up early. Like ridiculous early. And even if they went to bed later, they would be up as soon as the sun came out. Sometimes even earlier. Awesome. Thirdly, Mark and I needed time to catch up and be together without the kids.
We had a
Step One : Brush teeth
Step Two: Put pajamas on
Step Three: Get in bed
Step Four: One book
Step Five: Prayers
Step Six: Go to sleep
There was never any negotiation. There were never any kids in our bed. These were the expectations, and they met them. As they got older (maybe Kindergarten age) we would tell them to go get their jammies on, then we would assist in teeth brushing and tuck them in. If we had company, they were on their own for all of it. We would still come tuck them in and kiss them goodnight, but it was a 2 minute ordeal. I remember one time we had friends over and they just looked at us in awe. Apparently bedtime didn't go quite as smoothly at their house. In that moment, we were parenting rock stars.
If I could give two pieces of advice to new parents it would be to 1. focus on your marriage and 2. create a simple bedtime routine for your kids. Your babysitters will thank you! And hopefully, someday, your kids will thank you.
I think it's tough as parents to see our kids unhappy. But, we can't always make them happy. Nor should we try. Life is full of disappointments. They need to experience this fully to be able to know how to handle it when it inevitably happens. It's okay for our kids to be excluded from adult conversation. To be expected not to interrupt. (We still work on this one!) It's definitely okay to do things without your kids. And if you expect to always be able to make your kids happy, the teen years are going to be AWESOME for you.
When we were brand new parents, we worked out a deal with Mark's college student cousin. She would come watch Peyton for us and got to do her laundry for free. Plus we would buy her a pizza or feed her dinner of some sort. It seemed like a mutually beneficial arrangement...hopefully Erin would agree. ;-) My point is, there are options for child care if you don't have a lot of money for a sitter. Co-op with friends. Or if you can't find a starving, poor college student to exploit, have a date night after the kids are in bed. Rent a movie, make popcorn, enjoy being together without the kids.
Do not neglect your marriage. If you aren't married, do not neglect yourself. And don't neglect your kids. But, doing things without them is not neglect. Spending time away from them is not neglect. ( I mean, as long as someone is there to take care of them. ha ha) Maybe you think I'm full of it, or that I'm a terrible mother. That's cool. I think that myself sometimes. But I also think keeping your marriage as strong as you can is important. To you, your spouse, and your kids.
|Me and my favorite person!|