Saturday, August 21, 2010

I Couldn’t Spend That Much Time With My Kid (I Need My ME Time)

It always throws me for a loop when I hear this statement. (And I hear it pretty often.) It kind of goes hand-in-hand with “I can’t wait until my kids go back to school!!!” Wow.

Now I know we all need our “me” time. I get plenty of that. I get my me time when my kid is sleeping, I go to moms’ game nights and book club nights, and I go on dates with Bob (especially now that Becca has a busy babysitting “career”). When we go to homeschool events, my kid takes off and finds her friends, and I get much-needed adult time with MY friends.

So what does this statement mean? I’ve actually come out and challenged (asked) the moms outright. I mean, how can any loving, well-meaning parent actually say they don’t like spending time with their children? (Why do you have children if you don’t want to be around them?)

Some of it goes back to, “Well, I could never teach my kid(s).” (I don’t have the patience, we butt heads, I couldn’t teach my child math… I’m not “disciplined” enough…) I actually get this. Some people just can’t do it. And that’s OK.

Some kids actually do better and thrive in the more structured school setting of public or private school. That’s OK too. (Hey, the system didn’t work for US, but it’s obviously working for other people out there!)

So, are there really parents out there that can’t be around their child(ren) that much?

Maybe it’s because I’m the parent of an “only.” That may actually have something to do with it. (I don’t have to worry about children fighting with each other and picking at each other all day during summer break.) But then I think about my homeschooling friends with three and four (and FIVE!) children! Sure they lose patience with their kids at times. (We ALL do!) But how do THEY do it?

“I couldn’t spend that much time with my kid” is probably a catch-all statement. I don’t honestly think that people mean it like it sounds (though who knows, I may be wrong). But for those of use who DO spend “that much time” with our kids, we sometimes feel a little sad when we hear it (and hope that it isn’t true).


  1. I hear that all the time as well. I have only had a babysitter a few times, less than 5. I love being around my kid. I only have her for a small portion of her life. After she gets older she will get a job and be married. Life is way too short....

  2. Oh boy, this is a hard one for me to hear too - and boy do I! *Often!* I've heard it from Moms even when their own kids are standing right there. Ouch!

    I once had a conversation with a Mom at BAM because she was picking out workbooks and I asked if she homeschooled. Big mistake. No, she was picking out the books to "keep them out of her hair for just a few minutes" over the summer. And she went on to enumerate the multitude of reasons she couldn't stand to have them around. I felt so bad for those kids. But I also worried about MY child because she heard the whole thing (she was only 6 or 7 at the time). Soooo... I ended up having to have a talk with her about, well...selfish, narcissistic idiots.

  3. Absolutely agreed, VF... I never left Becca with a babysitter. And I joke that we went right from never having a her babysitting!!! ;o)

    ~ Linda

  4. Wow, Carolyn. How sad for those children...and for you (and your child) who had to hear it!

    ~ Linda

  5. I guess it is up to me to speak for those moms that have said "they couldn't wait for their kids to go back to school" or something like it. I am more guilty of saying, "I can't wait for them to turn 18 and move out" and let me tell you, I am neither selfish, narcissistic nor an idiot.

    What I was, was impatient, tired, run down, physically drained, emotionally beaten. What I was, was unaware of the moments I was losing.

    The truth is that we don't know what goes on in peoples lives. It is sad that a lot of parents feel the way you described and unfortunately a lot of them won't ever understand what they have lost. But instead of feeling angry at them or putting them down to your children, perhaps it would be a lesson in teaching them not to judge other people because you JUST DON"T KNOW.

    For the record, as a gramma now, I cherish every moment with my grand children and remind my daughters every day not to take the moments for granted because you just can't ever get them back. Let me also clear the record on something else, when my girls tried to move out, I grabbed them by the ankles and pulled them back. 3 of my 4 girls still live with me, the 4th only just recently moved out..