I was at an event once and was introduced to a woman who was prattling on about this being her first night out away from her kids in three years. I joked about how I had my first girls night out when I was on Percocet for the stitches, and had a week long girls vacation before each kid was six-months-old.

She stared at me in abject horror. I inquired as to the age of her kids, suddenly realizing that obviously she was a single mom with no family support and was parenting triplets with health problems. Why else would she be looking at me as though I had admitted to leaving my kids in the care of an axe murderer instead of my perfectly capable husband?

She had a five-year-old and two-year-old. This was literally the first night she had left them in the care of her husband and gone out for a few hours.

Now we were both gaping at each other.

“What’s wrong with you?” we shrieked in unison. (Ok, maybe we both shrieked it in our heads only. But that’s clearly what we were both wondering.)

What she actually said was some nonsense about bonding and family time and the importance of being there for her family and kids and something equally as nonsensical as “they’re only this little for such a short period of time.” What I actually said was some drivel about how sweet that was.

I don’t think it’s sweet at all. I think it’s horrifying.

I’m into my late thirties now. I’ve watched more than a dozen friends date, marry, have kids, and divorce. A huge warning flag for those marriages in trouble? When mom has no life. She might have no life by choice, or because her husband’s a douchebag, but whatever the reason – moms with no interests of their own outside of their family seem more likely to lose that very family they value so highly.

Even if you are nursing a baby that refuses to take a bottle, if your husband works nights and you have no sitters you trust, find your personal happy space away from the kids. Have girlfriends over at night once the kids are in bed. Find a book club that will let you bring your baby. Cultivate a few good sitters.

Just don’t lose yourself. Your husband married you, not a model parent archetype. There’s no more staying together until the children grow up these days – you won’t get a chance to be you again with him (if you can even remember back that far).

As the flight attendants say, put your own air mask on first, moms.






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  1. I totally agree with what you are saying, but there is no way that I personally could have left my 6 month old while I went away for a week. Not my thing. But, to each their own.

    I eat wings alone in my bedroom, so who am I to judge.

  2. AMEN!
    Having children is not equivalent to indenture. The sad outcome to the women who do that long sad grind of putting everybody else first is that they end up being taken for granted, completely. People love you better if you are strong and healthy, not a martyr.

  3. I totally agree. I left my 2 day old son with his dad to run to the store. I don’t think I could leave a 6 month old for a week, but I could for a night! Could and did. I just left my 18 mon old for a week though.

  4. 100% spot on. I started get “out” as soon as I was physically able to. Luckily my hubs is super good about making sure I get ME time.

  5. I can attest that you are 100% right. As a now divorced mom of teenagers, who was previously a mom with no life (partially due to husband being a douchebag and partially because I did not think I was allowed to have a life of my own)…I can tell you that once your kids are teenagers, they will love and respect you more if you DO have a life. Because, yes, it is a short time that they are young, and guess what? You can be a great mom and still have your own life. Your kids will be okay with a little less time without you. I have been a divorced mom for 5 years now and have very little going on in my own life, because I devoted so much to my kids. Guess what? They now think their dad, with the great career and social life (who gave very little time to them) is way cooler than me. They kind of look at me sadly, like I am kind of a loser. And you know what? They’re right. We are more than just a means for our children to be raised into adults – we are also still ourselves. right now, I feel like a poor old stray momma dog – saggy boobs and no energy, walking along with my tail between my legs because I gave everything to my puppies, who are now merrily on their way without me. And yes, that is the circle of life, and yes I love my children with all my heart, but you know what I finally learned? You gotta love yourself too. so if you are a young mother, take this article to heart. She’s right.

  6. Excellent article! I don’t know about the States, but once you give birth in Ireland, you are expected to adopt an attitude of agonised patience and await your reward in heaven. As the joke goes:

    How many Irish mammies does it take to screw in a light bulb?
    None. It’s grand; we’ll just sit here in the dark.

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