Are you a stayer or a leaver?

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The Guardian's Anne Karpf wrote this lovely piece on two types of parents: those who leave their kids with someone else, and those who don't. After 17 years of staying home most nights (she even took the kids on her honeymoon), she is finally finding that her kids are leaving her, for sleepovers and the like. She is getting to experience alone time more frequently. It has her thinking about "non-parents" like Kate Moss and the freedom of movement these jet-setting celeb moms have, sans children. (Me too. Notice how Britney's been getting out an awful lot for someone who popped out two kids at the speed of sound and just gave her huz the boot?)

I fall between the two camps. Most weekends, Nate will spend one night with one set of his grandparents. I started doing this out of necessity when he was 6-months-old. We were moving, including repainting the walls and refinishing the floors of our new house. It was not a baby-friendly environment. My mother was taking a holiday from work and offered to take him overnight. I just about fainted -- partially from joy, partially from anxiety. I pumped and sent the baby off, while I bit my nails into stubs on a date with my husband. (A movie? Really? Together? You sure Nate will be OK?) Nate absolutely loved staying in my parents' spacious suburban home, compared to our newly mortgaged shoebox "condo-alternative" downtown. Sleepovers with grandparents proved to be the perfect way to accommodate visits, while giving us time to get things done.

As time has gone by, these childless afternoons and evenings have become less romantic. Often a free afternoon is an opportune time to clean the house and do laundry without the risk of a toddler trying to fly down the basement stairs after me. I can do my Blogging Baby writing without having him crawl on my lap and ask for Thomas the Tank Engine episodes on YouTube. I need my me-time like I need air. I would suffocate without it.

On the other hand, I miss him terribly. More than he misses me. My husband and I might wake up a bit on the rough side after a good cocktail party, but the ache in our hearts surpasses the pain in our heads. We miss that morning snuggle to the point where we swear off any other sans-child outings that week. We make pacts to make more family time. We try to fit square pegs into round holes. Sometimes we pretend it fits and sometimes we just give up due to exhaustion. After nearly two years, we're still trying to find the balance between our busy social and professional lives, and our current feed/bathe/play/sleep/snuggle/love sessions. Because if he's not with us, we feel like we're missing a limb.

What about you? Are you a stayer or a leaver?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.