One thing you absolutely need to stay sane as a parent is some time to yourself. I am not talking about the time after you’ve put the kiddies to bed and the house is quiet. I am talking about being physically somewhere else such that your mind knows you are physically somewhere else. I am also not talking about girls’ night out or guys’ night out. I’m talking about being physically somewhere else and also being alone. It’s important to be by yourself occasionally so you can maintain some perspective about who you are and appreciate the times you are around friends and loved ones. Some people might call it mediation. Others might call it going to a theater to watch Star Trek Into Darkness by yourself. I call it the latter.
When my son was about six months old, the 2013 summer movie season was starting up. There were a lot of movies I wanted to see, but I knew it just wasn’t feasible to see all the movies I wanted, so I settled on just three: Star Trek Into Darkness, Pacific Rim, and The World’s End. There was already an aborted attempt to see STID due to my son getting a fever, so I swore I would jump at the next opportunity, even if it meant going by myself to see it. My wife had a baby shower to go to and she wanted to take the little one with her. I would have 2-3 hours of not having to be responsible for my son…
I guess I could have done something productive in that time, like yard work or house cleaning, but fortunately nerds count watching Star Trek Into Darkness as being productive. Productivity guilt averted!
Aside from the annoying people who wouldn’t stop talking through the movie, it was good to just have that time by myself, even if it was just for a couple of hours. And trust me, I utilized every second.
It’s amazing how much that small amount of time alone can refresh you. After that time alone, I started to feel the pangs of not being around my family, and I was relieved to have felt that. By the time I got back home, I was like, “LET’S RAISE THIS BABY!”
I think it’s natural to have some feelings of guilt for wanting to get away, even if it’s just for a little bit. “What? You don’t want to be around your kid? FOR SHAME.” However, it’s something every parent should do if they can. As The Matrix has taught us, humans are essentially batteries, so even batteries need recharging.