The One Thing No One Should Make You Feel Guilty About

When my husband and I welcomed our first daughter, we found it difficult to be away from her. Each time we planned a date night I cried like a baby and tried to get out of going because I didn’t want to leave her. However, we agreed before she was born that we would never forgo our date nights no matter how hard it was to leave her behind. We love our daughters, but we don’t want to forget about our marriage. We know that to be the best parents possible to our kids, we need to be the happiest couple possible.

I cried every time, but I always had fun with my husband on our date nights and we always came home happy to be with our little girl. Now that we have two kids, I can’t wait to get out of the house every few weeks for a date night. This year has been especially fun for us because our girls are now being invited over to their grandparents’ houses for sleepovers and all of our friends are turning 30 and we’ve been experiencing a greater than usual number of date nights. It’s become easier to leave our kids for a few hours or for a night while we celebrate our anniversary or a birthday or just a weekend away with friends. The excitement they have about spending the night with a grandparent is great, and we love it.

Something else we do is two trips each year without the kids. Both are short. One is a long weekend with two other couples who have kids our kids’ age and the other is a four or five day trip just for us. It’s hard to leave the girls for that amount of time, but being a married couple for several days at a time is the best thing we do for ourselves. Sometimes we find that people question our decision to have twice a month date nights – sometimes more if it’s a special occasion for friends or family – or to travel without our kids. They seem to forget that I spend 24 hours per day, every day, with them and that we travel nine or 10 times a year and all but two of those trips are with our kids. Frankly, this mom and dad deserve a vacation just for managing to get the double stroller through the security checkpoint at the airport on every single one of those trips.

The point here is that it is important to spend time away from your kids as a couple from time to time. You don’t have to take a trip without them; you don’t even have to leave when they know you’re gone. Look, I’ll be honest. Most of the time we have the grandparents come to our house on date night to watch the girls so that we can leave just before bedtime and not spend much time away from them while they’re awake.

Never let anyone make you feel that you are a bad parent for leaving your kids to focus on your marriage. We don’t; but then again, we aren’t going to bars and clubs and getting drunk, wearing inappropriate clothing, and acting like 21-year-olds when we take time from our kids. We’re going to Napa, or to a great wine bistro, or a romantic dinner. We are good parents because our marriage is good. Our kids spend every minute of every day with us, and we deserve to focus on our marriage just as much as they deserve the rest of our time and energy.


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