I am sure that in my past pre-parenting life I did this too. I’m sure I casually offered to every friend with children that I would be happy to watch their baby if they and their spouse wanted to get out for a date. It’s a sincere and thoughtful offer. I appreciate the positive sentiment. I honestly have two internal reactions that I won’t share anywhere but here. Inside I think, “Thank you for your offer, but…”
- my sensitive daughter would be TRAUMATIZED if I left her with someone other than her other mom, her nanny, or her grandma (or maybe my best friend). While your offer is kind, she would scream the entire time I was away and wonder who in the hell you are. Lately, I’ve had a surplus of casual “dog park friends” offering to babysit. I’ve never been to their homes, they have never held our baby, and I have no idea what their infant experience is. Being on the parenting side of things, it strikes me as absurd that anyone would consider this scenario.
- I do not want more time away from my daughter. I am away from her for about 40 hours each week while I work. That is plenty. I cherish and relish every moment we have together, and I co-sleep in part because I want more time and contact with her when I’m home.
I am pretty sick and tired of people asking if my wife and I have gone on a date alone together. (BTW, we did once, and I basically spent the whole time wondering why we hadn’t just brought the baby). I am REALLY tired of people acting like I need to get out! go to a movie! have fun! Blech. I get out to work, go to coffee shops, take long walks and hikes with baby and dogs, have at least two social engagements each weekend, and go out to dinner with my wife (and baby) at least once or twice a week. I don’t need to go out without the baby, so quit implying there is something wrong with taking her (nearly) everywhere I go.* Truly, if I felt like I needed some time away from her, I would happily make arrangements and take it. I don’t know why people seem to think I secretly want or need to take that time and am somehow denying myself the pleasure. It makes me wonder whether they needed more time away from their kid(s) (which is totally fine!) and so they assume I do too or whether I have some sort of separation anxiety and in a healthy world I should WANT more time for myself.
*I am not referring to events or activities NOT suitable for a baby, like formal weddings, loud concerts, etc.