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Is this common?

post #1 of 160
Thread Starter 
I grew up in a culture where mom has babies/kids and she takes them everywhere she can. If kids are not with her because she can't bring them along they are with dad or other relative and she picks them up as soon as she's done. If both parents work family care for kids, the parents pick the children up as soon as the leave work. Basically, a parent, usually the mom, has has their kids with the as much as possible when they are young. I'm only talking infant to preschool age.

I've come across a few friends who drop off their babies with other people so they can "get my shopping done" "have a day to myself every week" "have a day off with my wife every week". Is that common? These people are co-workers so they weren't raised in the culture that I was. I have co-workers who grew up like I did and they find it odd also.

One woman took 8 weeks off after having her baby. She could have taken FMLA and extended it but decided to take it later in the year when swim season started because she's the coach. Her baby sees a great baby sitter three days a week (there are no set days the babe has to be there) even if both of the parents aren't working just so they can "get stuff done." She grocery shops that way because she finds it to be less of a hassle.

Another guy said that he and his wife (both do shift work) only have monday's off together so they have his MIL watch the baby so they can do whatever they want that day. Every week. He also drops off his baby to his mom on a separate day so he can have "four hours to myself every week".

Is this common or just the people I'm running into at work?
post #2 of 160
I have three kids at home and DH and I try to have a date night once a week. Even if only for an hour. I don't need someone to watch my kids while I go grocery shopping. We do however, need some adult time to keep our relationship going. We try to go out to dinner or a movie once a week after the little ones are asleep.
post #3 of 160
Yes, it's common. I think people need varying amounts of time to themselves, to recharge, in order to be good parents. There is a point where I think it definitely goes over the line, but it's hard to say exactly where that is. I'm not sure about any of the situations you mentioned. And of course it's more a money issue than anything else- it's certainly more common among people who have enough money to afford other luxuries as well as extra childcare. I also have known people who are not as into the infant part, so would definitely do something like take the time later in the year, when they see the baby as needing its mom more, especially if she could also do something special with an older child.

I don't have a lot of extra childcare right now, though I have had some in the past. I love my kids, and I love being around them. But I am much better with some recharge time.
post #4 of 160

 

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Edited by cotopaxi - 3/19/11 at 8:10pm
post #5 of 160
I know I need a break here and there! Mil comes up to visit (we live three hours away) once a month or so and we have a date night, plus we have a close friend who is also a child-care professional, who occasionally keeps dd (still an infant- 5 months old) for a couple of hours so dad and I can go out. We usually go to a rock concert- something we used to do a lot but is pretty incompatible with our parental life. Additionally, dad and I each have one night a week to ourselves, during which the other parent takes over baby care.

He has a home business and I am a student, so we are both home with dd all day. And I love that! I'm so happy about the bond we've formed as a family. But I do also enjoy having time alone with my partner; sometimes it is nice to be "just a couple" for an hour or three. It allows us to clear our heads, so to speak. We don't do anything crazy or irresponsible, so why not?

We're also always very happy to return home to our sweet lo.

I also leave dd to go to the gym most days, and to go to class (although she is with her father). And while I do miss her, I'm also glad I have these other things in my life.

I almost always take her with me to do the shopping, though- she loves to grocery shop! And she put smiles on so many faces, it really gets me.
post #6 of 160
In our circle of friends, it's common for children to be with a parent as much as possible. DH doesn't "keep" the kids in the sense that you're mentioning (putting him in the same category as other relatives). He's their dad; he's equal to me in terms of ability/desire to care for the children. Whichever one of us has something to do where we can't take the kids, the other has them.

As for shopping and the like, I do the grocery shopping on Friday nights after the kids are in bed. They usually go with me for other shopping and errands. I do go to therapy, and they don't go there with me. DH and I go out once every 3-4 weeks for a date night, but we spend most of our couple time after they're in bed.
post #7 of 160
It is most certainly common. I think Mothers' Day Out is a prime example of parents leaving their children in a day care to "get stuff done". I can see this being a good option for parents who don't have relatives or friends nearby who have appointments and things that need to be attended. I take the fact that we live near to both sets of grandparents for granted, not to mention the fact that they are all generally responsible and mindful babysitters. It's easy to forget about those isolated families who don't have that support system or safety net.

There have been occasions, mind you few and far between, where DH and I have left DS with a set of grandparents to do something. It was either a special date or rarely something that wasn't kid-friendly, though I can only think of one occasion in which the kid-friendliness was an issue. But the in-laws watched him then, and grandparents have been the babysitters every other time too.

I don't see my child as a hinderance to "getting stuff done", though it does take more energy and time to do it with a toddler. I can imagine it's harder the more kids you have.

I will say that I am very attached to DS, and I don't feel comfortable leaving him for more than a couple of hours or so at a time, with a few months in between each occasion.
post #8 of 160
Not only is it common, it is encouraged.

I have been truly surprised by all the people in my life that have suggested that I take some time to "get away" from the kids. It seems like the first thing anyone will say to you if you are having any challenges in your life is, "Why don't you get a baby sitter and take some time for yourself." It's the modern day Mother's cure all.

Not only that, in this culture, it seems that people truly believe that you are doing yourself harm if you are around your kids 24/7. Surely I must be headed for a mental break down since I have not had a weekly "day out" in 6 years. Nobody could possibly survive that intact.

OP, I am glad to hear that it is a cultural thing. It's nice to know that I'm not abnormal for feeling more comfortable with my kids in tow.
post #9 of 160
DD went to MIL's house a few days a week while I was still working PT. Now that I'm not working anymore, MIL still wants her to come over two days a week. She is very attached to DD and finds a lot of meaning in watching her. So, those two days she's over there about 9:00 - 4:00 and I can do whatever I need to do -- gardening, resting, homework during the school year, grocery shopping, etc. I feel really blessed in this situation. I've been feeling so sick during this pregnancy and to be able to just lie on the couch is such a relief. DD absolutely adores MIL, sprints to see her when she comes over, it is really sweet.

My parents live further away will come over and let us go out to the movies once in awhile, something DH and I love and very rarely get to do since DD's arrival. It is such a treat to be able to have alone time with DH, especially watching a movie together in the theater.

I wouldn't leave DD with a non-relative babysitter right now, except possibly our wonderful next-door neighbor, but I really value my rare alone times and feel grateful that DD is so comfortable with our parents. I'm a much better mama when I get to recharge, too.
post #10 of 160
IDK, DS is with DH or I most of the time. Twice a week we took Tae Kwon Do classes together (well, I'm basicly instructing now as I got my black belt finally last january), and my mom would come down on tuesdays to watch DS (my dad was OK watching him on thurs when he doesn't have to work the next day, but when he has to be up at 4:30, not so much. Other than that DS is with us pretty much all the time. Occasionally we'll go up to canton and drop DS off with my mom and go out to dinner or go see a movie or whatever. And about once or twice a month I'll stop by my mom's and she'll offer to watch DS for a couple hours while I do running around up there by myself - which is a ncie treat. But its not something that *needs* to happen or happens much. But it is nice every now and then to go shopping without DS!!
post #11 of 160
I can't answer from personal perspective, as I've never had a baby. I do believe that different moms need different amount of "me" time. Health, quality of partnership, family network, work, how easy the baby is, all are factors in how burned out a mom can get.

I want to think that I'll be one of the stay at home moms that never tires. I think I was born to be a mama, and I have a lot of patience and stamina. However, I won't judge those who need more time to themselves.

I agree that some might take it to a whole new level when the baby seems like a burden, but I DO think there is a great value in babies spending time with their grandparents, and I don't think it's that unusual culturally-wise. Multigenerational living is part of many cultures, and surely children historically were raised in households where mom did not spend the whole day alone with the children, yk?
post #12 of 160
DS is with me most of the time when I am not working. I like being with him since we are apart during the week. He normally comes shopping with me and when DH and I go out to eat he is always there too. Sometimes I do need a DS break and I'll drop him off with a friend so I can get my hair done or get grocery shopping done, but that's once in a blue moon.
post #13 of 160
I do in-home childcare, and homeschool. I'm often about town with my kids and other moms' kids in tow.

I do feel the irony when someone drops her kids off at my house so that she can have "me" time. Due to my line of work, lack of family in the area, and a stbx who thinks he's still a bachelor, : I don't really get "me" time. I'd like some! But, I take my kids everywhere, because I want to (usually ).
post #14 of 160
I think there are a few things going on with this.

One is the effects of the idea that kids really don't need their parents around much, whereas parents really need their space. I know a couple, for example, who both work full time. They also have a part-time nanny so they can do things on weekends. They like to live baby with the in-laws so they can take a week long vacation to recharge their marraige. As a society, we don't learn that childrearing will really cut into our personal time. A lot of people find being tied down to kids really hard at first, and society doesn't support them in becoming comfortable with that - rather, it encourages them to find other solutions.

Another is that especially in some places, a lot of things aren't very kid-friendly. So it is more difficult for parents to take their kids to those places.

Then there is the fact that with two full time working parents, the time to get other, necessary things done, is limited. Running a household, raising kids, and two full time jobs is honestly more than is reasonable in a lot of ways.

Many families have not got the option of extended family watching kids, or being around a lot with the parents at home even, to ease the burden. The only option is hired childcare.

And we have to "watch" our kids so much more than parents of earlier generations. As young kid I spent a lot of time running around the neighborhood on my own, and other kids parents kept an eye out, as did my mom. If I went to the playground, certianly by the time I was 5, my mom didn't come with me, and my little sister might well tag along. So parents could actually do more than one thing at once. Also, some parents really feel kids need to be entertained at all times. So child-care can actually take their full attention much of the time they are engaged in it.
post #15 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oriole View Post
I want to think that I'll be one of the stay at home moms that never tires. I think I was born to be a mama, and I have a lot of patience and stamina.
That's what I thought before I had a baby. I was completely shocked at how HARD it was for me. I hope your expectations are closer to reality than mine were!! (That's sincere, by the way, not sarcastic--I know sometimes it can be hard to tell )

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
Many families have not got the option of extended family watching kids, or being around a lot with the parents at home even, to ease the burden. The only option is hired childcare.
This has certainly been the case for us. My dad lives 1,000 miles away and my in-laws live 10,000 miles away. I have one brother who lives nearby, but he and his wife both work full time plus are involved with a lot of volunteer projects that require time during the evenings and weekends. We've lived here for 8 months and they've watched DD once.

Now, we tend to take DD with us wherever we go, but that's partly a factor of wanting to spend time together and partly a factor of not having the money for a sitter.
post #16 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oriole View Post
I can't answer from personal perspective, as I've never had a baby. I do believe that different moms need different amount of "me" time. Health, quality of partnership, family network, work, how easy the baby is, all are factors in how burned out a mom can get.
I agree totally. I need more me time than I ever expected I would. I know what caused it...it's hard to process the birth trauma, let alone the loss of my son, when my kids are constantly around and in my face, needing attention. I simply don't have the emotional energy they need from me.

I'm fortunate, because I have both dh and ds1. During the day, while they're at work and school, my mom watches the little ones, if necessary (for an OB appointment, for example). But, if I just need to get out and recharge, my little ones get their dad or big brother. Actually, right now, dh has the kids at the aquarium, to see the new baby beluga...and I slept in until 10:00. It was wonderful.

I don't know how common it is, though. I don't really know that many people with kids irl, and the ones I do know, I don't know that well, for the most part (a few local MDC mamas, and some others from the local homelearning community). I know little or nothing about the details of their lives.
post #17 of 160
I'm not really sure how common it is. I don't have any family around here or I would jump on the chance to go to the grocery store without 3 kids in tow. When I had only my firstborn, I loved taking him everywhere. Now, it's hard. I feel like the poor baby spends half her life in her carseat, with me running errands and the older boys' various activities. I think it would be good for her to be able to just stay home sometimes with a sitter, so she could actually get a regular nap schedule and not have to be carted all over town.(Of course, I'll probably never actually hire a sitter, b/c I'm a cheapskate and as a SAHM I feel like it's my job.)
post #18 of 160
OP: I just realized that you said these people were co-workers. Honestly, when I WOH, I was pretty much always with ds1 when I wasn't at work. About every six weeks or so, I'd meet a friend for dinner after work (and vent - my marriage was in bad shape). Other than that, ds1 was always with me. I did have co-workers who got a lot of time away from their kids, but I didn't want it. I begrudged every hour I was at work away from him as it was.
post #19 of 160
we don't do it, but i think it is at least somewhat common. by which i mean, i know a few people who do things like that. sometimes it's because they have a nanny that they've promised 40 hours a week to, but if they aren't actually working that much they use the hours for something else.

i'm more like you OP. when i first heard about people doing this kind of thing, i was kind of surprised. but, to each their own and all!
post #20 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbieB View Post
Not only is it common, it is encouraged.

I have been truly surprised by all the people in my life that have suggested that I take some time to "get away" from the kids. It seems like the first thing anyone will say to you if you are having any challenges in your life is, "Why don't you get a baby sitter and take some time for yourself." It's the modern day Mother's cure all.

Not only that, in this culture, it seems that people truly believe that you are doing yourself harm if you are around your kids 24/7. Surely I must be headed for a mental break down since I have not had a weekly "day out" in 6 years. Nobody could possibly survive that intact.

OP, I am glad to hear that it is a cultural thing. It's nice to know that I'm not abnormal for feeling more comfortable with my kids in tow.


I do have "me time" and sometimes I need more of it than at other times but what I see a lot of is "me time" turning into hours a day of it which seems like a lot. But to each their own!
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