There’s no doubt about it, parenting is a full time job. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, weekends, holidays, no matter if you’re sick or healthy you’re a parent…but sometimes you just need a break.
Matt and I are both very lucky in the fact that we can quickly recognize when the other has had a bit too much to handle from the kids and needs a break. The other will swoop in to relieve the stressed out parent by taking the kids out of their hair for a while. But we don’t just wait until things have gotten a bit too hairy, we also try to plan times where one of us or the other can just get out of the house for a few hours to enjoy some down time.
As Matt is somewhat of a home body it can be difficult for me to get him downtime as often as I’d like, but I do try to at least take the kids out of the house for a few hours once in a while to allow him to have the house to himself. Matt, on the other hand, is extremely generous in giving me downtime. About 4 years ago he allowed me to purchase season tickets to hockey. That guaranteed me 30 nights a year all to myself while he watched both, and then later all three children for the entire evening.
This year, with both boys getting older and becomming interested in hockey themselves, we decided that I would take at least one of the kids along to most of the games this season. That would give Matt a little bit of a break, would allow the boys a fun night, and give me time to spend one on one with each of them. Up to now, it’s been working quite well. Brendan especially is at an age where he can really sit through a game without getting antsy, and he’s finally starting to understand the rules of the game which brings his enjoyment to a whole new level. Cameron enjoys the game, but he definately still gets antsy and a little wild. Every once in a while I will bring Kaylee along, but she’s young enough that during most games its way more hassle than its worth.
So last Saturday I decided to bring both boys to the game. Matt would take care of Kaylee for a couple hours, but then she’d be in bed and he’d essentially have the evening to himself. It was as close as I could come to giving him some down time. The evening was a disaster!!! The boys had been cooped up in the house for about 5 days at that point as we were all getting over the flu. This meant that they had a whole lot of energy to burn off. We went to Arby’s for dinner before the game and by the time we’d finished I’d already had just about enough of the two of them…and we still had the game itself to get through. I won’t bore you with the details of the evening, but suffice it to say I spent the evening listening to a whole lot of whining, complaining, and screaming from the boys. Cameron also decided that it would be a great idea to run away from me in the arena, and I lost sight of him in the crowd. Thankfully he was only “missing” for a minute or two, but it was extremely nervewracking.
When we came home from the game, Matt could see that I was very stressed from my evening out with the kids. He instantly offered to get the kids out of my hair the following day. I turned him down, and made a different request. I asked if I could just have the next hockey game off, and not take any of the kids with me. He readily agreed, and sweetened the deal. He said that I didn’t have to take any of the kids to the next two games.
My first alone game was on Wednesday, and it was wonderful. I didn’t have to worry about where anyone was, I didn’t have to make 35 trips to the bathroom, and listen to them whine that I wouldn’t spend $60 at the concession stand buying them junk food, I could just sit back and enjoy the game. My next evening out will be tonight, and I’m so thankful for my sweet, wonderful husband for providing me with these opportunities. I couldn’t ask for a better partner in life.