There is nothing that makes time with your kids more special than time away from them.
That sounds a bit harsh probably, but it’s so true and absence indeed does make the heart grow fonder.
Although we were only out of town last weekend for what amounted to about 30 hours, it was enough of a break from our kids to recharge our parental batteries.
To me, time away from the boys every now and again should be required. It breaks up the routine and structure that’s so critical when it comes to parenting and it helps to keep life in its proper perspective.
Yes, a little stint away here and there goes a long way toward reminding me there’s more to life than loading and unloading the dishwasher, cleaning sippie cups, wiping off food from cheeks, packing lunches, bathing the kids and changing diapers.
However, before we could enjoy our getaway, there was the matter of lining up kid coverage on the home front. It goes without saying that’s the first and most important step to address before even considering going away.
In last weekend’s case, unusual conflicts and circumstances merging with unfortunate timing on our part meant we needed four sitters over five shifts to watch the boys while we were gone on our quick trip to Philadelphia, which was highlighted by a night out with some friends and then the Ravens-Eagles game on Sunday afternoon (we won’t even get started on that here).
Throughout those hours away, thoughts about home inevitably turned to curiosity on how the boys were doing. No matter how much fun was being had, I found myself wondering how everyone was making out at home and hoping our crazy boys were behaving and not being too challenging.
As nice as it may be to just leave with a free mind, knowing all will be well at home and the kids are in good hands, it’s always reassuring to check in and see how things are going.
That’s not to say we didn’t leave with a smile on our faces because we needed some time away from home.
As a matter of fact, at one point in our earlier parenting days, Pam and I resolved to try and get away at least once a month for some husband-wife time. We did a decent job of that for a while, but eventually life got in the way and we forgot about that goal.
More specifically, I think it’s the fact our kids are quite challenging to handle at their ages, 4 and almost 3 years old, and we don’t feel entirely comfortable leaving them for too long because we don’t want to burden others. Eventually, they will get easier to watch, and we hope to return to those once-a-month getaways.
Last weekend was an exception, thanks largely to some well-timed tickets to the Ravens-Eagles game on Sunday.
The first shift with Mom Mom Connie seemed to go smooth for the most part with the exception of an unusual temper tantrum from Beckett. For some reason, he got all worked up at dinner time because she placed a certain condiment on his plate at either the wrong time or the wrong place. It took him a while to calm down, she reported, but otherwise it was a smooth shift.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for poor Emily, who had to deal with more than she bargained for most likely.
Not only did Carson have a bit of a nightmare of a messy diaper, he also fought nighttime to the point she had to lay with him to settle him down.
The good news was she had no trouble getting Beckett to bed. We had feared this may be a problem because he has a bit of a crush on her and we thought he would fight bedtime big time. That never happened, or at least she didn’t let us know if it did.
However, one aspect we didn’t think about probably ruined Emily’s evening, as the geriatric dog of the house apparently had an accident on the kitchen floor that she had to clean up.
That was a bit startling to hear about when I checked in to see how things were going, but she was a trooper and seemed to shrug it off in good spirits. I guess we will truly find out how well she handled that the next time we touch base with her to see if she wants a sitting gig.
Next up was Mom Mom Pat, who spent an uneventful night at the house, and had morning duty, which can at times be challenging. Nothing but good reports there, as they seemed to behave as well as can be expected, or at least well enough not to merit any sort of report to the otherwise.
Whitney then checked in and covered lunch and putting Carson down for his nap. All went well, except for a minor accident involving Carson and a swing outside. By the time we saw him the next morning, there were no noticeable marks, and he seemed fine to us.
Mom Mom Pat then clocked back in and stayed with the kids the rest of the day and night and put them to bed, as we got home later than we expected as a result of the game running late.
Throughout all these shifts, we inquired for updates just to make sure everything was well. It was just enough information to touch base and to learn the kids were being kids and that they were in good hands.
I am thinking the next time we go away though we should ease up on the updates, but it does help with a certain peace of mind.
Friends tell me eventually the need to know will pass, but I’m not so sure, at least at this point.