Honest Parent: Hey wait up, we’re just parents

The world changes for you once you have kids. So many daily things change. I can’t shower on my own schedule. I for sure can’t walk into a bathroom and expect any type of privacy. My day revolves around my kids and their needs.

I’m not complaining. It’s what I signed up for. But the one thing I find more and more that I miss is the ability to be spontaneous with my husband and our friends.

As the years have progressed and my kids have grown, the ability to go out with my husband– alone–has changed. Before kids, when it was just my husband and I, we enjoyed a night out at an Avalanche game or dinner with friends. Once my daughter was born we were pretty much taken off our friends’ radar. Somewhat understandable. None of our friends have kids, and who wants the couple with the screaming baby to attend Friday night dinner and drinks? We still were able to catch many Avs games. Our daughter loved the games. She usually slept right through them. As she got older she would still go or spend the night with a grandparent. My husband and I managed to have an evening out here and there with a quick call to Grandma.

Then number two came along. Things were still pretty manageable. Avs games were even still OK, until he got a little older and not eager to sit still for an entire game. But we had fun and it seemed like we did a lot.

Then number 3 came arrived. Things weren’t as easy. The more kids, the more complications with planning anything. Over the last few years we have had many events planned only to end up canceling based solely on our kids, whether it was because someone had an activity come up or the dreaded (and always consistent) sick kid. We actually went two years of having every planned event canceled. On more than one occasion, it felt like the world was against us. Yes, our parents are fully capable of handling a sick kid. They raised us, after-all. But no one cares for their kids like a parent. And so, our kids have come first.

Now that our kids have gotten older and we feel more comfortable leaving them, we find it’s even harder to do. Up until now, we have relied solely on our parents for babysitters. But like everyone else they have lives and aren’t always available at the drop of a hat. So when we hear of a great event later that same day, or even in the coming days, we usually have to decline. It always works out that our few friends, who are our trusted backup babysitters, are usually the ones that are inviting us last minute.

Which makes me wonder, why is it that we are always invited last minute? Well, it’s because we are out of the loop of friends who are invited early on in the planning stage: typically an afterthought. To sum it up–we aren’t on the radar as a set of friends who can go out.

I haven’t been out with my friends in longer than I can remember. I have been busy being a parent and raising babies for so long that I was either breastfeeding or just not comfortable with leaving them (let alone the babysitter issue). Now when everyone gets together, inviting me isn’t even a second thought. I’ve been removed from the invite list. I keep telling myself, “One day I will be re-invited.” One day.

Just being able to tell my husband, “Hey, let’s get sushi and a movie!” is impossible without being ready to take three kids and pick a G rated film. Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with my husband and kids doing this type of stuff. We very much enjoy time out with our family, and our kids enjoy a good meal and can be appreciative of the time out. But sometimes Mom and Dad need the break and just the time to feel free of responsibility of three little ones.

It’s amazing what a night–even a couple hours away–can do for everyone involved.

We don’t have a babysitter. I have been home with my kids since day one so I never needed one. Now, I want someone. I want the typical high-school-Friday-night-date-sitter. But where to start? Trusting your kids with someone is probably one of the hardest things. The world outside your home is scary.

Until we get to that point, we will continue to plan ahead and hope nothing comes up and no one ends up sick. And if we celebrate our anniversary with a glass of wine after the kids go to bed, or St. Patricks day with some green root beer and leprechauns, then so be it.

One day we will have all the freedom we could ever hope for, and we’ll miss the days when we were stuck at home with our kids.

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