The Difference Six Years Make

When Flora was a little over three months old, Dan and I talked about going out for my birthday.

We got Flora’s godparents (who lived a few blocks from us at the time) to babysit, picked a bottle of wine, and decided on a restaurant in the same neighborhood in which we lived (the South Side).

And we worried. I had left a bottle of pumped milk, but we still worried.

We knew that it was important to have a date night, and a birthday was a perfect excuse. But we had misgivings that were a mixture of parental guilt for wanting a date night, unease over going several blocks away from our child, anxiety about breast feeding, and some residual panic relating to the loss of Gabriel.

In other words, it was hard to go away from our infant girl, even though she was in good hands and we weren’t very far away and we were going out for maybe three hours tops.

Fast forward to this past weekend, when I turned over all three of my children — including my adorable and adoring 7-month-old son — to my in-laws care overnight. Without blinking.

I was more worried about my in-laws than my children, to be frank.

Dan and I proceeded to drive up to Erie, attend a wedding reception, go to bed after midnight, and sleep until 10 a.m. Then we went to breakfast with my parents before driving back to Pittsburgh.

And, again, I was more worried about my in-laws than the children. Especially if Michael didn’t sleep through the night. (He didn’t. He didn’t nap Saturday afternoon for them either. Gah!)


This weekend, I will again be leaving my children in someone else’s care. Of course, that someone else is their dad (with my in-laws as backup), so the anxiety again is about the caretaker. Dan hasn’t been alone with all three children for more than an hour or so, let alone most of two days and overnight.

I am leaving instructions for him regarding Michael. The girls can tell Daddy what they need, but Michael is going to need an advocate.

But I have a wedding-related duties, so I am meeting my sister in Philadelphia to…um… shop for dresses! That’s it. So, yeah, we might go to some nice dinners, and stay in a nice hotel, and there’s that hour or so we will be in the spa. But mostly: dress shopping.

I suppose if I were breast feeding Michael, this getting away would be more difficult, and I confess to having some residual guilt about that. But done is done, and he’s doing well (except for ear infections, which all my children had/have, breast fed or not).

But Dan and I needed those hours in the car without the kids, and the night and morning free. I need some child-free time, some girl bonding time, some dress shopping time. I don’t know if this makes me a bad (or “bad”) mother. (Or wife, for that matter.)

Mileage will vary.

Do you make leaving your children a practice? (Not counting working outside the home, because don’t even get me started.) Have you gone away from them overnight? Is it still hard, or did it get easier for you, too?