The only thing about time that second-time parents see is lack of it… Some parents are frustrated by their endless duties, by the newspaper that never gets read, the leisurely shower now something hurried rather than savored. Other parents accept lack of time as the price they pay for dual parenthood. But that price is too high, even if it is only for a few years. Parents need personal time – alone and together!
Sadly, many women feel they must be in their family’s service every minute, that no one can do it as well, and that they must meet everyone’s demands. It’s tied in with a guilt trip, with a fear of letting go. They may find they can meet their family’s needs, but what do they sacrifice? They sacrifice time to themselves.
You probably don’t need more convincing that time to yourself will make you feel better. If you know that the coming evening will be yours, alone or with your mate, you can better make it through your daily dose of spit-up, dirty floors, and antagonistic siblings. But will it scar your little ones if they find out that you have been rereading Gone with the Wind by yourself rather than reading The Little Engine That Could to them? What if they want you to bathe them, but you are out enjoying a spa date with your spouse?
Actually, if you don’t overdo it (and if you see to it that when you are not there someone trustworthy and reliable and loving is), your children will be better off for your occasional absences. They will find you less irritable and resentful when you are around. They may learn to respect you as a person, not just love you as a mommy and a daddy. They may even become better people themselves, learning at an early age the importance of healthy boundaries and self-care.
Too many parents suffocate young children by waiting on them. Rather, parents should begin letting go, even in infancy. In that way, children will find out about the world and develop their own healthy independence.