If you read my earlier post about roaming (if you want to), then you already know I like to go away without my kids. And for the past 18 years, I’ve been getting together with my three best friends from college every MLK weekend, so I’m heading out again today.
When I tell people about my annual trip, at least one random person asks, “Who’s taking care of your kids this weekend?” to which I reply, matter-of-factly, that my husband is at home with the kids.
Random person: “Oh, and he’s okay with that?”
Me: “Um, yeah, why wouldn’t he be? He is their father.”
Thanks to countless posts, we all should know by now not to call dad the babysitter. But I still get that comment. As other writers have chided, this implies that dad’s not capable of handling the children for a few days on his own. Insulting. But it also implies that I wouldn’t want him to.
Listen, I am totally okay with dad doing it all for a few days. And yes, I’m still okay even if he doesn’t do it like I would.
Look, I can admit that the first year after having my first child, I probably went a little overboard prepping my husband for the trip when I handed him four pages of instructions. But in my defense, our first child had unique medical needs, so instructions included things like a tube-feeding schedule. His mom also lived two miles away at the time, so I knew he had back-up close by if needed, and I’m pretty sure she was there most of the weekend.
Did I worry? A little. It was the first time I left my baby other than when I had to go home each night from the NICU. But after seven traumatic months of dealing with surgeries, and tube feedings, and hospital stays, and therapies, and all the other extras my firstborn came with, a weekend away was exactly what I needed. I was able to laugh and cry and release the stress of those seven months with three people who I know love me unconditionally. It gave me the strength to go back into the trenches and handle the challenges of my reality. I will be forever grateful for that weekend!
As the years have gone by, and life has moved us eight-hours away from my mother-in-law, my husband now spends the weekend home alone with his three children. My formerly four-page list of instructions is now a half-page of bullets with only the most pertinent information like the time the bus will drop the kids off on Friday and the pediatrician’s phone number.
Does my husband do everything like I do while I’m away? Nope. Are my kids happy and cared for? Yep. Will they get out of their pajamas Saturday or Sunday? Probably not. Do I care about that? Not at all.
My husband knew going into our marriage that this was part of the deal. Girls weekend was non-negotiable. He decided I was worth it, and committed not only to me as his wife, but also to me leaving every January for a three-day weekend. It was part of the vows. (Not really, but it should have been.)
So yes, my husband has the kids this weekend. Alone. And they will survive without me for a few days. And I’m totally cool with that.