This post has some insider information for the guys, so ladies – you may either want to click away – or – share this with the men in your life depending on your take on all this.
I want to help you with something that I think will transform your marriage.
A day is coming that will present a defining moment for you. When this moment arrives, I want you to not only recognize it, but make it your moment to shine.
If you have kids, the time is coming when your wife is going to say:
I’m going away for the weekend.
Now she may not say it exactly that way. She may spin it to sound like she has a church retreat or reunion or girls weekend or grandparent’s funeral to go to, but the underlying message is going to be the same.
I’m going away for the weekend. And you’re keeping the kids.
The reason this is a defining moment for you is because how you handle this will speak volumes to your wife. How you handle this may become the basis for many future discussions.
If you want to make this your moment to shine, when she tells you that she’s going away and that you’re keeping the kids, you say one thing and one thing only:
I think that’s great. You deserve a break.
And don’t you dare flinch when you say it. LIke bees and dogs, women can smell fear when it comes to their kids’ caregivers. (I don’t think that’s actually true, but it serves the purpose of this post, so I’m going with it.)
The confidence you show in that moment will be a gift to her while she’s gone. If you’re timid or half-hearted about keeping your own kids for a weekend, she’s going to be preoccupied while she’s away and won’t get to fully experience whatever it is she’s doing.
Once you’ve got your wife out the door, here’s how you survive the weekend when mommy’s away:
Relax. You can’t undo in two days what the two of you have worked together to accomplish as parents in the preceding years. You’re going to be fine.
Take charge. You’re not the babysitter. You’re the dad. You’re not 50% of the parenting equation, you’re 100% of the equation. Expect that your kids treat you like kids should treat a parent.
Keep routines. You’d think that throwing caution to the wind and being spontaneous and crazy would be the best recipe for a mom-free weekend. And it might be. My experience has been that with little ones, keeping up routines and rhythms (mealtimes, naps, snack times, etc.) is a great way to know where you stand. There’s value in having some milestones during the day for you – and the kids – to look forward to.
Have fun. I realize I just wrote about the value of keeping routines, but try to do some things you wouldn’t do on a typical weekend. If you normally play in your neighborhood, drive across town to the park with the new play structure. Stay up late and catch fireflies. Amp up the fun a little bit.
Accept help. Like it or not, people think dads are idiots. So when you’re alone with your kids you’re going to get all kinds of offers for help. Your wife’s friends are going to offer playdates. Your in-laws are going to offer to feed all of you. If you want, take the help.
Solo parenting isn’t easy. You’ll work your tail off for the whole weekend your wife is away. But when Monday rolls around and you head back to work, I guarantee you miss those kids in a way you never have before.
When your wife comes to you with the magic words that she wants to get away for a weekend, give her the gift of a worry-free break. And seize the opportunity to connect with your kids while you’ve still got ‘em under your roof.