My husband and I have a group of really close friends that we have had since before we we’re married. In that group, we are the only ones who have kids. We get together with them regularly and most recently went on a trip to my parent’s cabin with all of them. Going up there, I knew that it would be a somewhat difficult weekend for our girls. There would be no other kids to play with and lots of adults! We brought plenty of things from home to entertain them and hoped that we could keep them occupied enough to clock in some quality time with our friends. Our weekend did not go as expected!
The first night we go there, the girls slept horribly-new room & new environment. We all woke up the next day pretty wiped out, which if you are a parent, is no way to start your day off! That day went okay, but that night was even more challenging. My husband ended up getting a really high fever and we were all tossing and turning, the girls were also getting sick, and I was up worried about all of them the whole night. Needless to say the next day, I was OVER it! Not to mention the girls were tired, clingy, and more whiny between the two of them than I had ever experienced! It was a test to my patience and endurance and I was not scoring well! I ended up sitting on the stairs that afternoon crying my eyes out! Being the only couple with kids there also had my “judgement radar” running…you know the one…where you are wondering what everyone else is thinking about your parenting and discipline decisions. The mommy guilt of knowing you didn’t discipline calmly and lovingly in front of all those people. Worrying that they are getting all their “This is what NOT to do when I’m a parent” notes from you.
Anyways, in the midst of all this, I watched as those friends without kids leisurely played games on the deck, read books, took naps, and basically did whatever they felt like at any given moment. I was so incredibly jealous. Not to say that I don’t love my children and would prefer the chaos any day to not having them BUT I was jealous of their freedom! After a good, long cry, I decided to burst into action! I was done with feeling down in the dumps. I realized that while I was trying to get in some good time with my friends, I wasn’t do a good job of paying attention to my own girls and giving them special, undivided time. They were over-tired, over-stimulated, and sick 🙁
My husband and I decided that we needed to leave the house (and our friends) to go spend some quality time with the girls. I knew the second we got in the car they would both nap (which they desperately needed!) and we could get them more medicine they needed from the store a about 40 minutes away. That decision was one of the best things we did that weekend! Just as I thought, Claire was out as soon as she hit her car seat and I got to sit in the back with Ellie, love on her, talk to her, and show her some much needed attention. We got the medicine we needed (I would argue that my mommy-lovin’ was better medicine than the Ibuprofen!), then headed back to the cabin. When we returned, our girls were different kids! All of our friends were so surprised at how happy the girls seemed!
Here is the moral of my story- as much as we want to distract, pawn off, or keep our kids busy so we can have some “me” our “us” time, sometimes that’s just not possible. Sometimes the thing they need is actually the opposite of what we’re doing. By spending that quality time with our girls, we filled their love tanks (for a short while ;)) and we were able to have more of the time we wanted to have. We learned to incorporate the kids into our activities with our friends, instead of keeping them away. I also learned that I needed to trust my gut more. Instead of making sure that my friends were not “annoyed” by my kids, I needed to forget about all of that and do what needed to be done- even if that meant leaving the “fun”.
In this season of my life, my girls are my priority. I hope I can always keep that reality in check.
Have any of you struggled with any of these same feelings?! Do tell!