Parents and social life


#1

Okay, so I've noticed that a lot of parents in my family and others I know seem to go out a lot with their friends, leaving the kids with the other parent or grandparents (some even taking vacations with their group of friends). Maybe because I'm a homebody, but I just don't get this, especially when their children are young. I mean they work outside of the home so M-F they see their children for about 4 waking hours if they stay home. Is this normal (and I'm out-of-touch) or are their children missing out on vital time with them? Why have children if you're not going to spend an ample amount of time with them when you can?


#2

I tend to agree. I work 40 hours a week and love my time being around the kids. Even if I’m not directly interacting with them if they are playing a game or reading or something, its nice to just be near them and hear them playing.

My wife, who is a stay at home mom, likes to go out with her friends once in a while. Typically a couple times a month. I don’t think this is a bad thing since its good for her to get some adult interaction as well. We also try to make some time for just her and I to have a date night or something since we both believe it is very important to stay close so we can set a good example of what Married life should be like.


#3

[quote="gmarie21, post:1, topic:201497"]
Okay, so I've noticed that a lot of parents in my family and others I know seem to go out a lot with their friends, leaving the kids with the other parent or grandparents (some even taking vacations with their group of friends). Maybe because I'm a homebody, but I just don't get this, especially when their children are young. I mean they work outside of the home so M-F they see their children for about 4 waking hours if they stay home. Is this normal (and I'm out-of-touch) or are their children missing out on vital time with them? Why have children if you're not going to spend an ample amount of time with them when you can?

[/quote]

I don't know if it's ideal but I do think it's common.

What I would say is that even if a parent stays home with the children then there is probably a parent who is not there most of the time. If the parent who is not usually home occasionally takes more time away then it is not a huge change to the children. If a stay-at-home parent takes time away and leaves the other parent at home then that may be beneficial to the relationship between the children and the usually absent parent.


#4

I think it's more a matter of personality than anything...

My parents NEVER socialized with friends... never. ever. I had no idea it was even something parents DID!?! :eek:

My husband's parents, on the other hand, were QUITE social - his dad played competitive bridge, his mom taught ballroom dancing - they were always out and about and socializing!

All our parents are devout Catholics, great family-providers, wonderful influences... and fabulous grandparents now!

Just a personality thing, I think! :shrug:


#5

[quote="gmarie21, post:1, topic:201497"]
Okay, so I've noticed that a lot of parents in my family and others I know seem to go out a lot with their friends, leaving the kids with the other parent or grandparents (some even taking vacations with their group of friends). Maybe because I'm a homebody, but I just don't get this, especially when their children are young. I mean they work outside of the home so M-F they see their children for about 4 waking hours if they stay home. Is this normal (and I'm out-of-touch) or are their children missing out on vital time with them? Why have children if you're not going to spend an ample amount of time with them when you can?/QUOTE]

I think you are making a huge assumption here. How come you get to decide what is "ample time?"

My parents had plenty of socialization, friend time, couple only travels, etc, and they still spent time with us...and there are 5 kids! We still took family vacations, went out to dinner together, enjoyed movies, came to all of our sports, etc.

People need time to themselves. There is nothing wrong with parents saying "we're leaving the kids with the grandparents, getting a hotel in the city, and getting away for a weekend." Or "hey, honey, I've worked 40 hours this week and it was stressful. Do you mind if I go get my nails done?"

Working parents still need breaks too. To assume that working 40 hours a week and raising a child somehow disqualifies you for alone time every so often isn't fair.

I'm very involved in Junior League, my Church, community, and I work full time. I don't forsee myself giving any of that up. I'm a very social and outgoing person, and I need adult time to make my life feel balanced.

Some people just need different amounts of alone time/social time/whatever to be the best parent they can be...it surely doesn't mean they shouldn't be parents or are somehow worse parents than those that require less socialization/traveling/whatever.

[/quote]


#6

QUOTE]

I think you are making a huge assumption here. How come you get to decide what is “ample time?”

My parents had plenty of socialization, friend time, couple only travels, etc, and they still spent time with us…and there are 5 kids! We still took family vacations, went out to dinner together, enjoyed movies, came to all of our sports, etc.

People need time to themselves. There is nothing wrong with parents saying “we’re leaving the kids with the grandparents, getting a hotel in the city, and getting away for a weekend.” Or “hey, honey, I’ve worked 40 hours this week and it was stressful. Do you mind if I go get my nails done?”

Working parents still need breaks too. To assume that working 40 hours a week and raising a child somehow disqualifies you for alone time every so often isn’t fair.

I’m very involved in Junior League, my Church, community, and I work full time. I don’t forsee myself giving any of that up. I’m a very social and outgoing person, and I need adult time to make my life feel balanced.

Some people just need different amounts of alone time/social time/whatever to be the best parent they can be…it surely doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be parents or are somehow worse parents than those that require less socialization/traveling/whatever.
I should clarify. Adult time is important, it’s the going out drinking with the girls at least once per week, taking separate vacations from the family and spouse (not spouse only vacations, but friend only vacations I’m talking about), and going out at least one other night per week and the spouse doing the same thing just on different nights and then complaining about wishing to be home with the kids more when at work that I don’t get. My mom watches a little boy 5 days per week plus an average of one overnight per month at least (that’s not counting the late pick-up nights where he’s picked up at 9). She needs the extra money which is why she does it. However, this boy spends, on average 54 hours with her per week, 70 hours sleeping, and 44 hours between going to this party, that friends’ house, or doing this activity. He’s not the only child I know who’s life is like this and he’s only 5. Again, having some outside-of-children interests is fine, but why complain about not having enough family time when at the same time scheduling many events without the family. I just don’t get it.
[/quote]


#7

#8

#9

#10

[quote="gmarie21, post:1, topic:201497"]
Okay, so I've noticed that a lot of parents in my family and others I know seem to go out a lot with their friends, leaving the kids with the other parent or grandparents (some even taking vacations with their group of friends). Maybe because I'm a homebody, but I just don't get this, especially when their children are young. I mean they work outside of the home so M-F they see their children for about 4 waking hours if they stay home. Is this normal (and I'm out-of-touch) or are their children missing out on vital time with them? Why have children if you're not going to spend an ample amount of time with them when you can?

[/quote]

Because they are selfish. You, on the other hand, seem to have your priorities right in this matter, which is a rarity these days. Keep on keeping on.:thumbsup:


#11

[quote="Nec5, post:10, topic:201497"]
Because they are selfish. You, on the other hand, seem to have your priorities right in this matter, which is a rarity these days. Keep on keeping on.:thumbsup:

[/quote]

Wanting some time to yourself is hardly selfish, but I'm sure many people would appreciate such a kind, astute observation.


#12

I used to baby sit for working parents when my boys were little. The average child spends 9 hours a day at the sitters or in child care. That's 45 hours a week. At times the traffic was bad and they stayed longer.
I occasionally watched those same kids on Friday evenings and maybe on a Sat. evening.

If it works for these families, it's working and it's not an issue for you. So please don't make it one.
Everyone is different. Everyone parents differently.
If this is not how you would parent your children, then don't, now if you have them, later if you don't have children yet.

But please, unless you are living with these folks and know the details of their lives, don't pass judgment on them. Give them the benefit of the doubt, keep them in your prayers and if you can, give the kids some extra attention. :)


#13

what is normal is what works for your family, my only comment is that parents who do not give themselves permission to recreate, to socialize with friends, to enjoy any amusements or entertainment with anyone other than each other and their children, are also in effect telling their spouse and children it is wrong for them to do so. Does not sound healthy to me.

If the real issue burdening the minds of some posters is the time spent away from their children by parents who work and use babysitters or day care, then why not stick to that issue. Since that will not likely be done in a spirit of charity, on second thought, maybe we shouldn’t go there.


#14

[quote="gh4, post:12, topic:201497"]
I used to baby sit for working parents when my boys were little. The average child spends 9 hours a day at the sitters or in child care. That's 45 hours a week. At times the traffic was bad and they stayed longer.
I occasionally watched those same kids on Friday evenings and maybe on a Sat. evening.

If it works for these families, it's working and it's not an issue for you. So please don't make it one.
Everyone is different. Everyone parents differently.
If this is not how you would parent your children, then don't, now if you have them, later if you don't have children yet.

But please, unless you are living with these folks and know the details of their lives, don't pass judgment on them. Give them the benefit of the doubt, keep them in your prayers and if you can, give the kids some extra attention. :)

[/quote]

I have children, but also, I see the sad faces in the children, the striving for attention by doing anything (usually bad), the ignoring of inappropriate behavior of the child by the parents. These aren't older children or teens, these are toddlers and preschool aged kids. And the parents do state how much they wish they didn't have to work so they could spend more time with their children and husbands but at the same time make plans at least once per week away from them. Normally I don't care but because of my job their not being as involved in their childrens' lives does affect me and the other children whose parents are involved. But in these economic times one cannot dismiss these kids nor would since they need the love and attention we give. One runs out near the street when the dad is there and he does nothing about it (though, were something to happen, I'm sure we'd be sued). One doesn't tell her child to not touch the hot stove (when she's picked up an hour late) and just ignores her son's actions. Then there are the tears when they are the last one's picked up. Or the one rolling his eyes when asked what he did last night and as he rolls his eyes he says "my mom's out with her friends again". I guess I'm just trying to understand the mentality of the parents because I do not share that mentality and yet have to deal with it daily while not getting upset at the way they child is ignored or not given #3 priority as he or she should (remember, God first, spouse second, children third)


#15

It is when you have kids and wish to avoid them or can’t wait for them to “leave the nest”.


#16

There needs to be a balance. If both parents work outside the home it is a very hard balance to strike. If one of them is in a very demanding job with few social rewards, it can be next to impossible. Something has to give, and sometimes that "something" is nearly everything, including the kids. Sad, but a situation that deserves some compassion. There are some people, true, who marry and have children without realizing that the carefree days of their youth need to give way. Others, though, are between a rock and a hard place, and just trying to stay sane.

Parents need time with their children and the children with their parents. Parents need time with their spouses--both in quality and quantity. Parents also need social time--and not, as it is easy to imagine for those of us who work at home, simply time with people who are intellectual peers, but with people who are adult friends. Some of us feel like we are among friends at work. That is the ideal. Some of us feel like we are in an intrigue-filled European court or a war zone. That is the nightmare.

If you work somewhere where you enjoy your co-workers and your work, then you are in good shape. Your need for social interaction with adults other than your spouse might easily be met by going out with your friends on a regular but rather infrequent basis. If you work at the complaint counter at some store or some company's human resources office, though, you can only dream of a day where the complaints come from people who say, "I love you, Mommy" when you've found a solution to their problem. You need an outlet, somewhere to recharge. Unfortunately for your children, you need somewhere where the demands stop for a little while.

IOW, a person with a truly thankless "why do I do this?" job, especially one that regularly exposes them to verbal abuse or rudeness, will need far more time with an adult who treats her like a human being and doesn't place expectations on her than a person who occupies her hours with sacrifices she finds worthwhile because of the relationship.

Those posters who have suggested that one spouse step in while the other has social time are on the money, I think. Kids tend to like having one parent undistracted by the other parent for some of the time. It can work out quite well for everybody.


#17

Another point:

I hate to say it, but some parents have also failed to discipline their children, and find that they don't enjoy spending time with them very much. If you don't know how to discipline your child or you haven't consistently done that job, you may find that a well-qualified sitter will enjoy and appreciate your poor child a lot more than you do. Now that is sad, but it is also what some of us got from our parents. It is hard to expect people to give what they didn't get themselves.


#18

[quote="Nec5, post:15, topic:201497"]
It is when you have kids and wish to avoid them or can't wait for them to "leave the nest".

[/quote]

Are you saying that I was a bad parent because I was happy when my kids left the nest? I was ready for them to be adults. I had raised them alone for many many years and I did my best to raise them to be independent upstanding citizens. And no, I was not heartbroken when they tried their wings. I was actually happy to see them succeed in the world and with their wives. And yes, I was glad, and even anxious to have the house to myself for a while, lasted for about 2 years and then I took care of both my parents who both had Alzheimer's at the same time.

And this from a Mom who worked full time and did go out on the weekends and was active in church and did have a social life.

You know, we each do things the way we feel is best and the way that works with our own personalities and ethics and morals and so forth. Let's not judge others, it's not always an open and shut case. :)


#19

[quote="gh4, post:18, topic:201497"]
Are you saying that I was a bad parent because I was happy when my kids left the nest? I was ready for them to be adults. I had raised them alone for many many years and I did my best to raise them to be independent upstanding citizens. And no, I was not heartbroken when they tried their wings. I was actually happy to see them succeed in the world and with their wives. And yes, I was glad, and even anxious to have the house to myself for a while, lasted for about 2 years and then I took care of both my parents who both had Alzheimer's at the same time.

And this from a Mom who worked full time and did go out on the weekends and was active in church and did have a social life.

You know, we each do things the way we feel is best and the way that works with our own personalities and ethics and morals and so forth. Let's not judge others, it's not always an open and shut case. :)

[/quote]

We had great parents, but there came a time for some of us when it was time to make our own household....some at twenty, some later, but eventually it was time for two roofs. No matter how well a parent does, they can't guarantee to have raised their own favorite roommate! When that happens, it is fine, but at a certain point it is the exception to the rule.


#20

I have notice that for a lot of people, having children did not slow down their lifestyle at all. However, I don't notice them leaving the kids with babysitters half as much as I see them bringing their kids everywhere they go. On one hand, it is a good thing. I go to a bible study where a lot of people bring their kids. The kids go into a room and play with each other. However, I have also see parents bring kids to adult parties where there is beer drinking, gambling, and nudity on TV and these parents see nothing wrong since 'they are moral enough to wait until the kids are sleeping before they light the joint'

I think taty different people have different energy levels. Some people need at least 9 hours of sleep every night while others can get by with 6. Some people are content to live in a house where the basic cleaning is one where others need a 'big spring cleaning' doen every week.

I think that some people have more time to spare than others. So in that sense I don't think we can judge parents with active social lifes. However, I do think that some people use this 'mom's need time to theirselves' to an extreme where they neglect their kids. We live in a very fast pace society and it is very hard for some people to slow down.

I am single with no kids. There is a woman I work with who is in a very prestigious position and could be in a situation to offer me a promotion if I 'played the game' That would mean after work hours I would have to go to the gym where she teaches aerobics faithfully and tell her 'how great here classes are'. I could NEVER get her to understand that after work I like to go home and soak in the tub when she is willing to miss supper with her kids in the name of aerobics. And guess what.... she earns 3 times my salary. Choosing to be a home body comes with a price and some parents don't have the strenght to pay it

CM


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