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Let me start by saying I love spending time with my kids. I am sure a lot of fathers do. Ask anyone that knows me, and they will tell you I am a huge proponent of fathers bonding with their children over their entire lifetime.
Let me also say I spend A LOT of time with my kids. I work from home most days. When they’re home they spend a lot of time hanging out in my office.
My office is pretty cool. I have one of my Rokus set up in the office. It has an old school Atari. It has computers. And they bring their toys in my office. My somewhat well kept and organized office implodes almost daily when they are home.
They can watch TV, pretty much whatever they want on demand. They can get on the computer. My son is learning to code. My daughter goes to ABCMouse to learn.
I am also one of Isaiah’s baseball coach and attend probably 80-90% of their extracurricular activities. The truth is I don’t want to miss any of it.
So, they spend a lot of time with me. And I love it.
Sometimes I need to adult. Meaning I need to be around other adults without children.
You’re probably wondering why I am telling you this. Like it’s some long-lost secret that parents need time away from their children, and vice versa.
Here’s why. Typically, if I am going to a baseball game my son is going with me. He loves baseball almost as much as me. When he gets older he will probably love it even more than I do. He loves to play, watch and talk baseball with me.
He has known for a couple of weeks that I was going to a Yankee game today and was disappointed that I was going without him. I get it. In a way, I was disappointed too. I do really enjoy bonding with him over baseball.
Here’s the thing. It’s healthy to have time away from your kids. It’s OK to have adult conversations without a child clinging to every word or interrupting you to tell you about some random toy they want.
I would go so far as to say it’s important to have that time away from your children. For everyone’s mental health it’s a good idea to have “you” time with other adults.
Signs You Need a Break
Here are some of the warning signs that you might need a break from your children.
- You seem to get annoyed at the smallest things.
- You snap at them for seemingly no reason.
- You agree to things and have no idea what you agreed to. (My youngest daughter is awesome at getting people to do this).
- You spend time in the bathroom just to escape. (I am always amazed that with 3 bathrooms in the house they always need to use the bathroom I am in).
- You randomly sing the theme song to My Little Pony or Paw Patrol.
There are probably more but we will leave it with these few for now.
I responded to Isaiah by telling him that sometimes parents need time with their friends the same way sometimes he just wants to play with his friends. I know he was still disappointed, but I think he understood.
Parents need to understand that it is OK to take a break and be an adult. Work does not count by the way. You don’t really have a choice at work. That’s not a break.
Take a break and go spend time with your friends when you can. This is especially important for parents of infant children. Infants can wear you down. It can be very exhausting taking care of your infant child. We are beyond that stage of life now so that does not apply to us.
If you feel the need for a break take it.
It helps to have a support system. Today my kids stayed with their grandparents. They just hung out all day, sort of a lazy kids’ day. And they were super excited to see me when I got home.
Yankees 11 Blue Jays 6
I am not superstitious by any stretch of the imagination, but the Yankees always win when I go to the stadium. Even the time I went with my oldest daughter in 2009.
The Yankees were losing big to Cleveland that day in 2009. We left early to beat the rush to the train. I took the train back to Grand Central Station. By the time we got to Grand Central Station people who saw us with our Yankee gear were asking if we saw what happened. I did not have any idea what they were talking about. Then I found out the Yankees rallied and ARod hit a walk-off home run. They won the World Series that year, so I take credit for that.
I probably go to the mecca of baseball 2-3 times a year. We (Father and Son) visit the local minor league teams a lot too. Plus, Isaiah plays and participates in several clinics and camps. So, we spend a lot of time around baseball. I love watching him grow into it. He truly has a lot of potential and even more importantly he enjoys it.
Today they beat the Blue Jays. They have the second-best record in baseball but as of late they have not been playing that great. It doesn’t help that two of their biggest bats are on the DL. Judge and Sanchez (my son’s two favorite players) are BIG BATS. Today, they played like the Yankees and won like the Bronx Bombers.
More importantly, I spent time with friends, some of whom also need a break from their children. We laughed, we joked, we talked, we ate really bad (but really good) food. We bought souvenirs…..for our children. We walked….a lot.
They also had a tribute for the 1998 World Series Yankees. You might remember that team if you follow baseball. It was one of the greatest single season teams ever, winning a total of 125 games that year. That was also the second of 4 World Series titles in 5 years.
That meant we also did some reminiscing. I also got sunburned. It was hot and steamy. We compared it to weather in Cuba and Haiti (Countries I have been to in recent years). It was more uncomfortable in the Bronx.
In total, I spent about 11 hours with this group of parents and grandparents, without children. It was the break that I needed. A break that I would probably deny needing or wanting. And it was great getting back to my kids.
Now It’s Time to Say Goodnight
I write this as they sleep. In a week Summer will be over for them. It’s kind of sad to me but kids need structure. They need to interact with other children their age. They need to learn from other adults from different perspectives.
Soon it will be hoodie time and pumpkin everything time. I don’t really participate in the pumpkin everything craze but I do love my hoodies.
This was a conversation we had on the way home too. It’s not that they don’t have structure in the Summer. My children do, but it’s a little less rigid.
Tomorrow we begin getting them back on the school schedule. Tomorrow it will set in that Summer vacation is almost over. It will set in for them, and for my wife and me.
I set aside a couple of days this coming week to just spend time with them. That means by Monday I might be ready for another parent break. They will be in school, so the house will be eerily quiet for a few hours while I work. By the time Isaiah’s bus comes back to his stop I will be ready to hear all about his first day of school because I will have missed him and his sister tremendously.
It’s really a vicious cycle.