By Heather Miller
There was a time, not long ago, when I had convinced myself that I could not miss one second in the lives of any of my three children. I attended each and every Girl Scout meeting, school party, sporting practice, friend’s birthday party, and so on and so on. I had told myself that this was the only way to be a parent. They needed me there. Thing is, I was exhausted and I wasn’t enjoying any of these activities, which led to my kids not enjoying them either.
The first time I dropped my oldest off at a function alone, I felt horrible. I was abandoning her. How would she ever be able to get through an hour and a half without me?! She did. She did get through that hour and a half and she was happy as could be when I picked her up. I, too, was happy. Rather than mad sit at gymnastics, I ran a few errands and hit Starbucks. This started a whole new way of parenting for me. I realized that it was more than fine to be not involved sometimes. Rather than know what happened at gymnastics that day by sitting in the gym, half watching, I was able to listen to the excitement in her voice as she told me all about it. She couldn’t wait to share the information and I couldn’t wait to hear it. It was, by far, the best ride home we had had in a while.
Before you start judging me, hear me out. I am not implying that we should drop our children off at all parties or practices that they attend. Of course we should, and want to, be there for some, or even most of those. What I am promoting is taking advantage of being able to check out at times. If you know that your child is in a safe environment, and that you are not actually needed, go for it! Leave your cell phone number with the adult in charge and hit Target, solo. Not only will it give you an hour or so of peace, it will let your kiddo know that you trust them enough to let them be out of your sight every once in a while.
If you’re not comfortable leaving your little ones to fend for themselves at out of the house events, there is always the option of letting them fend for themselves at home. Gone are the days of me getting up early on the weekends and preparing breakfast and entertainment. My oldest is now in charge of weekend breakfast so that I can catch a few extra zzz’s and she loves the task. Her sisters love it too, as she is much more lenient on the amount of juice and syrup that they are allowed to consume.
Parents need time. Time to not be listening to Kids Bop, time to not be watching Paw Patrol. By the time we get our little monsters to bed, we are usually too tired to take that time. Find that time where you can and don’t dare feel guilty for it. Listening to an eight year old cover a Justin Beiber song sounds so much better when you have been able to down a peppermint mocha alone. I promise.
Enjoy your Me Hour!