Saturday, March 21, 2009

Us Time

Our lives are inseparable from our kids lives. We are all together all day, everyday. Devin visits friends on occasion now that he is older, but for the most part, if you dropped by our house, we'd all be here to greet you!

One day last week Joe and I were feeling like we would love to have a quiet, romantic dinner together.
Having 4 children, and meeting their needs as well as our own takes skill and balance. We normally have some alone time after Tiff, Ivy and Orion go to bed, but lately everyone has been staying up late.
Getting an hour to ourselves to connect sounded heavenly.

After talking to them about our need to have dinner alone, we asked them how they would feel about us going out while they stay with family. Devin was fine with it, the didn't want us to go.

I think that most people wouldn't think anything of it to drive away leaving crying kids begging them to stay. I've seen the normality of this portrayed on TV and with friends. Everyone always says, "They'll be alright... just go..." This has never felt right to us. If our kids don't want us to leave them, we respect that. We've never left them somewhere if they didn't want to be there.

So, we talked with the kids and told them that we really wanted to be alone for dinner. Tiff had the idea to watch a movie in the living room and keep an eye on Orion while we ate so we could have the time we wanted.

It worked out perfectly! We had such a nice romantic meal and because we respected the girls need for us not to leave them, they in turn respected our need to be alone for this one hour.

Respect Begets Respect

Joe and I were very grateful for the creative way that we all worked together to have our needs met. It was a very special dinner. We know that there will come a time when the kids are ready to be left alone with others joyfully. We also know that once they all move out we will have the rest of our lives for quiet dinners alone. In the meantime, we will continue respecting their needs as much as our own. This Trust between all of us is the basis of our Joyful, Connected life.


Such Lovely Freckles said...

The world could be a beautiful place, if more people had such well functioning families. Our kids have stayed with my sister-in-law starting at a very young age. They are used to babysitters, and they very much look forward to being with them for an evening. We go out without the kids about once a month, usually less.
I've never had to think about what it would be like if they told us, they don't want us to leave.

Food for thought. :) Thank you.

Such Lovely Freckles said...

Oh, I noticed Louise Hay's website on your link list. I absolutely adore this woman. I love her books and CDs.

mamak said...

That was an awesome arrangement!

Bonnie said...

i loved your solution ... i aspire to be the repectful and peaceful parent that you speak and write of.

bonnie :)

Shady Lady said...

We have a very attached daughter. She doesn't want us to leave her. Although, her dad/my husband does work out of the home, she and I are together always.

She was in preschool for a very short time, but that instilled the fear of me leaving. After we took her out of school it took her a long time to stop worrying that I was going to leave her.

I am so happy and relieved that I no longer have to leave her when she really needs me to be with her. I know that when she gets older there will be a time that she becomes comfortable with separation. Until that time, I will be with her.

Beautiful post, Dayna. You said it so much more eloquently than I did.

Beverly said...

Thank you, Dayna. Like some of the others who commented, I aspire to be this respectful of my children. Respect begets respect. Thank you again!

Dina said...

Thanks for sharing this Dayna. I have a lot of friends who seem to not "get" that we will not just leave our son with another caregiver if he doesn't feel comfortable with it. What a wonderful compromise everyone came up with! Warms my heart.

Lisa Russell said...

On our last wedding anniversary, our girls told us they'd make dinner. We weren't allowed to go into the kitchen all day. When it was time for dinner, they picked out our clothes. When we came up to the kitchen, we saw that they had made us an... interesting dinner, and turned the dining room into a dance floor so we could have a date. there were candles, the stereo was on, we had OJ in wine glasses and they were eating burritos in their room. We hadn't asked for time alone, but they thought they'd give it to us. It was really sweet.

Chrissy said...

it's so nice to know we aren't alone. my jet setting cousin keeps offered me a free companion ticket to join him on any of his many trips to london. just me. now he doesn't have children but anyone else he knows with kiddos would say "i am there! i'd love a week or two away from the kids!"


he'd flipped when i told him that my only away alone time is church choir practice semi-weekly (one block from home) and a short set up time (occasionally) whilst setting up for the open air market i run weekly (also one block away)

i love hearing i am not alone.

Jennifer said...

I love this pic of you guys.