Monday, April 25, 2011
Are You Taking Time To Be Selfish?
This week I was reflecting on that experience, as I heard a young couple discuss the stress that they were feeling with an eighteen-month-old toddler in their home. I had made some comment that I was planning on doing something, attending a concert or trying a new restaurant for dinner. They responded with what my good friend Bruce Sullivan in Australia calls “whingeng”. That is an expression of fatigue and disappointment of how difficult life is etc. They got caught up in describing how they had no time for themselves with a toddler in their life.
When Kathy and I got married the major piece of advice my parents offered to us was to “make sure we went out one night a week by ourselves.” Now I grew up in a very active house with 6 brothers and sisters in Brooklyn. Seven of us within 10 years of each other!
I can still remember my mother getting dressed up on a weekday evening. Now this was the 1950’s and early 60’s, so it was Mad Men type of dress up. Stockings, heels, dress and my dad in his suit, just to go up the street to dinner at their favorite Italian restaurant. Well for the benefit of my younger brothers and sisters, mom would throw what we called a housecoat over her dress so she looked normal to the little ones. She would get them settled in bed between 7:30 and 8. My dad would go get the babysitter. And mom would come down the stairs, whip off the housecoat, give the babysitter the last minute instructions and head out the door dressed for a great evening with my dad.
Kathy and I have followed this advice religiously. Even in difficult economic times we found a way to go out for an hour or so, just to catch up and have some alone time. At one time we lived in Denver with four kids under 6 and eventually 5 kids under 10 with no family nearby. By sleeping a little less, employing some awesome high school students as babysitters, we still managed to find that time together.
We laugh because at our various children’s weddings, inevitably two or even three of our former babysitters show up. They have fond memories of their time with our kids and wanted to be there to celebrate this joyous time with them.
So help the economy by spending some money on teenage babysitters. Do not count on only grandma or grandpa. Support your local restaurants and your sanity by being selfish and getting out for time for yourself and your spouse!