Should the Parents Feel Guilty of Having Some Time on Their Own?

Little girl and a mascot - This is my baby girl... I asked the mascot to have his picture taken with my daughter. But guess what? The mascot never bothered to pose the way he should and made an attempt to look cute.

That's why, my daughter was calling his attention! : )
Philippines
March 15, 2010 11:42pm CST
I've been married for 8 years and I have two children. A boy who's almost 7 years old and a girl who will be celebrating her 1st birthday this April. Now, to get to my question... When my son was born, I was a full-time hands on mom. From the moment he was born until he celebrated his 6th birthday, I directly took care of him. Then everything changed when I got pregnant again. I always have a delicate pregnancy and usually suffer from hyperemesis (severe nausea and vomiting) almost everyday from 3 to 4 months. We asked my cousin to come live with us and help take care of the house and my son. My mother always visited and took charge. That time, I was ordered by my doctor to stay in bed due to the danger of having another miscarriage. To cut the story short, I gave birth and aside from my cousin, her mother came to live with us, too. It was best decided to let my aunt live with us so she can help me take care of my baby. I forgot to mention that my cousin is a college student. So, her time is divided between her studies and her helping me with the household chores. That's why, my aunt's presence is an important addition to our household. Aside from the household chores, I need to bring my son to his therapy sessions. When I'm out of the house, I don't need to worry about my other child being unsupervised. So, with the presence of my cousin and my aunt, I now have the time and the chance to go out with my husband once in awhile, especially if our budget can handle it. Like last week, he took me to a wonderful spa. I did have a great, great time but here is where my BUT comes in... But as I was having a wonderful time in that spa... with my husband... I couldn't shake the feeling of guilt. My thoughts were of our kids back home. I mean, their parents are having a wonderful time. So should they. I do make it a point to bring our children to the mall. Well, just like last Saturday. They had a great time! But still, when my husband and I do go out... my guilty feelings won't disappear. Do you get the same feeling? I mean, I know that married couples DO NEED to spend time with each other. To keep the "blood boiling"...
2 people like this
14 responses
@Loen210 (1533)
• United States
21 Mar 10
Glad for you to be healthier now, after the birth. And very glad you are allowing yourself to enjoy time on your own (your and your hub). I think it IS important for parents to spend time on their own, and stay in love. Because in the long run, otherwise, it can really wear out and cause a loss of connection with each other. As long as you don't stay out for too long, and/or overnight except for occasionally. But also give lots of credit and many thanks to the relatives who are helping you have a good life now. Keep up those wonderful moments with your partner! :o)
1 person likes this
• Philippines
21 Mar 10
I agree, loen.Before, I find it a little corny to see myself and my husband going out on a date when I have tons of things to do at home. I mean, my reasoning back at that time was that I have short supply of time. And I needed to use it wisely. Now I have realized that before we had our kids, there was the two of us. And I guess, along the way of learning how to be the best mom that I can be, I have temporarily forgotten of my relationship with my husband. But then, past is past. What's important is now. And yes, now I do make it my priority that my husband won't feel left out anymore. That he is as important to me as our children.
@Loen210 (1533)
• United States
21 Mar 10
Doh, I just responded and pressed to post, but it came back blank and this in red text: "unable to post content. please modify your text to only include letters, numbers, and standard punctuation." I guess I should have copy/pasted to play safe. Anyway, in short said good for you to be more assured now, and important taht the kids learn from very young age that it's okay when you two go out and leave without them, so it will be harder for them to accept it in the young ages. ;o) But don't do it overly so they disconnect with you, of course. ;o)
1 person likes this
• Philippines
28 Mar 10
Hello again Loen... I've been there and done it so many times. I always keep in mind what my mother told me before. She said that it's okay for me to go out and have some fun but I should not have that so much fun to the point of ignoring my children. And that's why, I do it with a double effort to help my husband not lose that connection with our kids. His whole day is always spent working at the hospital 24/7 and that is why, it is very important for me to make sure that I help him still connect with the kids when he gets home.
@laydee (12814)
• Philippines
16 Mar 10
I don't have kids of my own and neither am I married. But I would love to know that my parents go out and enjoy themselves without us, the kids. I often hear my mom say that she does feel guilty when she'd leave us at home while they were having fun, she usually says that it's different having the whole family around - it's more fun than just the two of them. Though she might be right, I don't really mind that we were left behind. I think before they were parents, they were lovers. So parents should not forget why they got married in the first place. It's sad that most parents just give all their time to their kids and forget themselves. Having time for the couple would indeed rekindle their love for each other. But still, my mom always tells me that it's different when there are kids. Somehow parents, particularly moms, feel that they should no longer think about themselves, but should give all their time with the kids. Well, sooner or later these 'kids' would grow up, then where does it leave the parents if they have neglected keeping their bond of love together, right?
1 person likes this
• Philippines
16 Mar 10
she usually says that it's different having the whole family around - it's more fun than just the two of them.[b][/b] [i][/i] I feel the same way sometimes. It's like I'm missing a part of me because whenever I get out of the house, my son is always with me. We always hold hands whenever we're at the mall. Well, sooner or later these 'kids' would grow up, then where does it leave the parents if they have neglected keeping their bond of love together, right?[b][/b] My topic brings my thoughts back to my friend's parents. Now, this is one couple who's not embarrassed to show anyone that they are head over heels in love with each other. It doesn't matter that their kids are all grown up and have their own family. When you see the two of them, you might think you're looking at two teenagers who are very much in love.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
16 Mar 10
Hmmm... I think I need a little tutorial on the right use of the mylot codes. Particularly that of making bold letters and creating an underline. I guess I've put the codes in the wrong place that's why it didn't show in my comment.
1 person likes this
@laydee (12814)
• Philippines
16 Mar 10
[b][/b] Codes are simple. You just put the word(s) that you'd want to highlight or underline in the middle of the symbol "" and "" for bold.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
16 Mar 10
I think couples do need to go out on their own sometimes. But if it's always like that and that the children are neglected, that is the bad thing. Good for you that your time is well-balanced. You get some time alone with your husband but both of you also get to spend time with your children.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
18 Mar 10
Yes, I do try to keep my time balanced between my kids and my husband. I know and understand that my husband and I do need a time of our own, just the two of us. Kind of keeping the "flames alive". A long time ago, I was a very full-time hands on mom and wife. I do everything from the moment I wake up until I fall into a very exhausted sleep at night. It came to a point when my husband made a comment that he's near the point of getting upset. He admitted that he couldn't help but notice that I have changed. He said I was a lot grumpier and seemed to have a permanent scowl on my face. Then he said, I needed to have a break. Because it clearly showed that I was slowly drowning from the level of stress I was in.
• Philippines
20 Mar 10
That's good that your husband told you about how he felt. It's nice that there is communication there, unlike other couples that just fight without trying to talk about stuff.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
21 Mar 10
We both agreed that it's very crucial that we keep the communication open between us. He told me once upon a time, that he prefers a wife who's more open(well, unless I don't cross the line between being open and being a nagging wife!). He even made a joke about him not being a mind-reader. I do wish my sister and her husband can have the same thing. But they always end up shouting at each other as soon as the disagreement starts.
@edu4625 (188)
• United States
16 Mar 10
Absolutely parents should have time for themselves. It is healthy. You were an individual person before your children were born and you should stay in touch with that side of you. I think it is healthy for the children also to see that their parents have lives and interests other than them. It will to set an example for them to also get involved in other activities away from the family. When we take time to reconnect with our inner self we feel revived when we reconnect with our love ones. So take some time for yourself and enjoy it especially since you have loving relatives to help you out.
• Philippines
18 Mar 10
[/b]You were an individual person before your children were born and you should stay in touch with that side of you.[b] I like the way you have explained it, edu. And you're completely right. We do need to keep in touch with who we really are even if we have become parents. Because in order for me to provide the care my family needs, I also need to give importance on how I should take care of myself, too. When I was a new parent, my thoughts ran on only one path. I kept telling myself that I should give my son all the time and attention because it's my responsibility as his mother. But along the process of doing it, I just found myself confused and frustrated. It even came to a point that I was mentally exhausted with what I was doing everyday. I became this woman who just wakes up in the morning and do what I needed to do. It took me awhile to learn and understand that I also need to give myself a time of my own... without putting my kids at risk of being neglected. Honestly, as I learn to do it, it was a trial and error thing. But I've learned from my mistakes and I try my best to avoid doing them again.
• Philippines
18 Mar 10
Oh no!I still can't get this mylot code of making the letters bold... done correctly!
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
16 Mar 10
When ever I was lucky to find a babysitter for us to go out heck no I didnt feel quilty!!! I ony got to go out like that about 3 times till the kids got big enough to take care of themseleves. as we moved so much and we didnt trust anyone top far witht hat. I would get to know the person way before I would think they would be a good babysitter. BUt wehn we went to live with hubbies dad and brother and sister in law. I didnt mind leaving kids with her she took care of kids and I drove father in law all over the place for he didnt drive. Alot of times tho I took kids with us!
1 person likes this
• Philippines
16 Mar 10
It's really a little difficult to find a babysitter and place your trust in them. Who knows what they will do to the kids as soon as you turn your back on them? Before my cousin and my aunt lived with us, I didn't trust our hired help to be my son's babysitter. You know, sometimes we get that feeling that tells us to what we ought to do. And my gut told me, not to leave my son with her.
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
16 Mar 10
yup moms are l;ike that follow that gut feeling!
1 person likes this
@Hatley (164506)
• Garden Grove, California
30 Mar 10
jcj shame on you do not feel guilty as being out with your hubby for couple time will only make you a better mommy as you will be happier and that will pass on to your children. no enjoy yourself and do not lay a guilt trip on you. YOu deserved some couple time and your children will only be better for it.I am sure between your aunt and your young cousin the children were probably having a great'time as they are both kin. I do know your feeling as I used to get that way too when we went out for an evening alone, and I worried all the time about my two children so kept calling and they were fine, their grandmother was baby sitting, and they both loved her.next time I relaxed safe knowing they were also having a good time. You will learn not to feel guilty by and by. good lUck and God bless.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
6 Apr 10
Hi Hatley and thanks... I'm still adjusting with the guilt feeling everytime I go out on a date with my husband. But I'm doing much better now with the guilt and worry as compared before. I don't call or send text messages to my aunt or my cousin every 5 minutes to check up on my kids. I now understand that married couples do need to spend some time with each other. To rekindle the romance. Oh, I do understand that part now!Because I've started going out with my husband again, I then realized that he was right after all. He once told me that along the process of being a mother... I have forgotten about him. I didn't understand him before and I was even upset with what he have said. In my mind and in my heart, he was being a bit selfish. But now I get his point. Because I was too busy being a mother 24/7, I have forgotten to be his partner in almost everything. I've forgotten the fun part of being his wife.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
28 Mar 10
Parents should need a time on their own again to rekindle the passion in the relationship and not to be burned out in being parents. But before doing so, you have to know if the kids that you will be leaving behind for a while is well-taken-cared-of.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
30 Mar 10
Very good point, aviz. It is as much important that parents should make sure that even if they go out, their kids won't be put at risk because of their absence. My husband and I are very fortunate because we don't need to worry the whole time we're out of the house. We have complete trust in my aunt's capabilities in looking out for our children. But I do check up on our kids from time to time, by sending my aunt text messages to ask how they are doing.
@lelin1123 (15644)
• Puerto Rico
22 Mar 10
Most mothers will always feel guilty of everything from working outside the home to getaways with the hubby. Its just the way it is for us. I remember going away twice when my kids were very young and I too felt so guility and thought I should not be away enjoying myself. I should be home taking care of them. How could I leave my kids? However, now that they are grown I know I was a good mom and I have no regrets. I brought for them and I would do without for many years. I took them on many vacations for years and they enjoyed them all. Thoses two getaways they don't even remember because they were to young. I think all mothers need a break here and there. If you don't get a break then you will only end up getting torn down and some mothers will end up getting depressed. Don't feel guilty you are still a good caring mother and you have every right to have fun too.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
30 Mar 10
Hello lelin... I'm sorry it took me awhile to get back to you. As with everything else in this world, too less or too much of something often is not a good thing. You're completely right. Parents especially mothers need to have some time-off. The saying goes, that if we don't take care of ourselves, then how can we take care of others.We just need to make sure we don't overdo it. To the point of ignoring our children. I always remind my elder sister to give some priority to her own time-off. Even for a few precious minutes. Just to "re-boot" herself. Because sometimes, I can see that her stress level is becoming too much for her to handle.
• Romania
17 Mar 10
Hello, I think this is a natural felling, to be bound to your children and sacrifice yourself for them, especially mothers, but people like you really deserve respect, you're just like my mother, she always treated me better than she treated herself, I didn't realized how many sacrifices she made for me, until I grew up, I think you're a great mother, and I have all the respect in the world for such people. Myself I don't have and don't wanna have kids, mostly because I know there is a high chance to break up with the mother, like all couples do, so my kids would grow up without a father or mother, and that's just terrible, I've grown up without a father and I know how hard it is, I don't wanna do this to anyone.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
18 Mar 10
Thank you for your words, silver!No books or any source of information can teach how to become the best parent. Learning how to become a better parent, or better yet, the best that they can give, takes a lot of learning experience. It's a lot of trial and error. And hopefully, parents learn from their mistakes and know better not to make them again. There are indeed people who chose to not have kids of their own for specific reasons. And I respect their decision. I'm sorry that you grew up without a father by your side. And I understand how hard it must have been for you. My father was a little strict with us when we were kids. But now that I'm an adult and have children of my own, I now understand why he was that way. Again, I thank you for your words, silver. I truly appreciate it.
1 person likes this
@umit_umit (1986)
• India
16 Mar 10
no not at all,after all both needs to love and take care for each other also!
• Philippines
18 Mar 10
I completely agree.As I read other respondent's views on this topic, I now understand that I don't need to feel guilty if I need to have some time on my own. Well, as long as I don't go overboard and neglect my kids by pursuing what I want to do.
@optomyst (47)
• Denmark
16 Mar 10
DON'T feel quilty. If you don't get some time for yourself or with your husband, you can not be the best parent you can be. If you remain cooped up with your children and your full household 24/7, you will lose any sense of who you are and will not be able to give your children what they really need. Your children also need a break from you once in a while, just to have fun and be silly with the things they can not do when mom is around.
• Philippines
16 Mar 10
You know optomyst, you're exactly describing the way my elder sister feels. She lives 3 hours away from where I live and the only way we can easily communicate is through text messaging. Sometimes, when her stress level is almost at its peak, she sends me text messages. Just to have someone listen to her. Just like what you have described about remaining cooped up in the house, she does feel that way. She admits that sometimes she doesn't know who she is anymore. Because her days starts and ends with her being a very full-time hands on mom 24/7. I've told her that it's important to allow herself even for a few precious minutes, that special time reserved only for her. Whatever she wants to do. As long as it gives her contentment. Because that way, she won't lose herself. I understand how she feels. Because I've been there. No matter how much we love our family especially our children, we do need to allow ourselves even just a little time to do what makes us happy.
@daliaj (5689)
• India
16 Mar 10
Well, there is nothing to feel guilty about that. You are having nice times along with your children and also you and your husband should find time to spend for both of you. Otherwise, you will feel guilty for yourself when you become old. Life is only once and you should find time for yourself and the things you like. Children are an important part of your life, but husband is also another important part of your life and you should have some time together.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
16 Mar 10
I once read somewhere that it doesn't mean that husbands should fall behind the list of priorities because of the children. That it's not a good idea to convince a woman that her husband is a grown up and can take care of himself unlike the children, who needs her attention and care. Sometimes, I get mixed guilt feelings. There are times when I turn down my husband's offer for us to go out on a date, because I want to stay at home with our kids. And when I do go out with him, I feel guilty because the kids have to stay behind. But since we started going out again, it has a positive effect on our relationship.
@salonga (27957)
• Philippines
16 Mar 10
WEll it is not bad to have some bonding time with your husband once in a while. As a mother I understand your guilty feeling when you go out without the children. I guess it is not actually not only guilty feeling but missing their company too. When you see children around enjoying the place with their parents, it is but natural to wish you also have your kids with you. That is a normal feeling of good parents. But we parents deserve some break once in a while. A time for your own is not bad for as long as it is not overdone. There are parents who actually do not care about their kids and would go out every now and then to enjoy and paint the town red to the point of neglecting their children already. Well that is another thing. I think you are not the same as those parents anyway so don't be guilty. You deserve some time on your own and you have to enjoy it without any guilt at all.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
16 Mar 10
Hi! You're right. I do miss my kids even when I'm out with my husband. I guess, it has something to do with being with them 24/7. I do like to have some time on my own, to pursue my other interests, but I make sure that I don't do them at the expense of my children. Their childhood days will pass in a blur. So, I don't want to miss out on those moments. The first time, my husband asked me out on a date after so many years of being not able to, he almost had to drag me out of the house!I really didn't want to go out unless we bring the children with us. He pleaded and tried to explain to me that we can bring our kids some other time. But THAT PARTICULAR MOMENT, was HUSBAND AND WIFE TIME. Well, after that date, we make it a point that we do go out once in a while. But I try to keep it fair. If we go out tonight, I make sure that I take the kids to the mall at the soonest possible time.
@samrat16 (2442)
• India
12 May 10
You feel exactly same way my wife feels. It's really hard to give time to your partner after having kids. Kids demand lot of attention and their whole life is revolving around us ( at least till they are small)