Are you heading for a crash?

Last night, after Matt + I tucked our children into bed, we opened our refrigerator to find a bottle of champagne that’d been chilling for so long we couldn’t remember where we got it.

“Should we drink it?” Matt asked, giddy that he’d won his trial.

I paused. I could hear our boys padding around upstairs, and see dishes piled in the sink. But he was home and that for me was reason enough to celebrate.

And as he poured champagne into my glass, I realized we don’t celebrate his successes enough. Or mine. Or ours. Because we’re too busy celebrating our children.

And I wished I could parent like a man. Or my man, at least. By learning to let go.

Because when you take yourself too seriously as a parent, I think you do a disservice to your children. They all have faults. But I also think the gifts they do have will compensate for those they don’t. Because Lord knows, we weren’t perfect. And we made it.

I should wipe her face before I take pictures of her.

As Margaret K. Nelson writes in The Washington Post, when you hover, you miss the opportunity to connect elsewhere. With your spouse. With your friends.

Many of the helicopter mothers I’ve spoken to have told me, often with pride in their voices, that their daughters are their best friends. At first, I wondered why these women — some of them in their late 40s or 50s — wouldn’t prefer to spend their free time with people their own age. But as I looked more closely at the way they are tackling parenthood, I understood: They have no free time.

I don’t want to grow old with my children. I want to grow old with my spouse.

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30. July 2010 by Jennifer Jeanne Patterson
Categories: Marriage | Tags: , , , , , , , | 17 comments

Comments (17)

  1. I totally agree with this post…I hovered for a long time…recently I started re~connecting with friends, which has helped my husband and I get even closer!! I have to admitte, that I do have times of guilt when I go out, but I come home and the kids and husband are fine…so it has gotten easier for me to hand over the controls to the husband one night a month!!

  2. Oh this makes me want to cry (shoot, a lot of blogs are doing this and I swear I’m not PMSing or pregnant!). My husband and I need to appreciate each other more. We’re always parenting and when it comes time to hang out we just want to sleep or zone out. We do need to celebrate each other and our successes. Great post!

    Come join us for Makes It All Worth It Fridays Linkups! (

  3. Totally agree, my kids will only be my babies for so long, my husband is forever.
    BTW came via the Mommy Loop Follow Fridays

  4. Stopping by from Mom Loop. You’re right that we don’t take the time to celebrate ourselves nearly enough. But like everything, balance is the key. My hope for Georgia is that she keeps her independent spirit and that I’ll keep mine. I’m your newest follower!

  5. Stopping from Mom Loop! I totally agree too. It can be hard to achieve the balance, but it is worth it.

  6. Sweet post; I completely agree!

    I’m a new follower from Mom Loop. Have a great weekend!

  7. Yes! Love this post!

  8. Glad Matt’s home. It is NOT easy being home alone, the one time my husband was away for 2 weeks, I almost went made. That’s not to say all is hunky dory when he is here but it is nice to have the company…and crack open a bottle. Glad for you Jennifer. Reading your previous posts make me smile, think and agree – on how to parent, on who our best friends in the family should be – I don’t want to ‘hover’ . Lots of ♥

  9. I do the same thing…But tonight, by chance am going out to dinner with my husband and I will celebrate our “adult” time. Wahoooo! Let’s hit the park!
    Following from Mom Loop

  10. Hi. I’m following you back. Glad you could come visit my blog. It’s funny to me that I never remember to wipe my kids face before photographing them either! It’s so difficult being the puppet master to our own lives and to our family. I enjoyed your post! See you around.
    Julie @ Bunches of Bargains

  11. Love your statement, “you don’t want to grow old with your children, but with your spouse”! Beautiful!

  12. From Mom Loop, Stopping by to say Hi!.

    I’m your follower.

    Thank you for share nice blog,I just got back from short trip to Ban Chiang Heritage you can read on my post.

    my community is

    Have a nice day.


  13. once you have kids and all the other stuff around you to do, it’s hard to find time just for you and the other half, but we should always try, as it’s very important to have these moment together
    I’ve seen your comment on the blogfrog about Friday follow, I know it’s Sunday, but I just stopped to say Hi and I’m gonna follow and come back soon, have a nice day

  14. I think it’s like most things in life. You have to find a balance. I would call my parents my best friends but that’s not to say that they (and I) don’t have friends of our own.

  15. Hi, here from BF. What great insight. Its so easy to lose myself in parenting. Thank you for the reminder.

  16. Lots of divorces happen when the kids grow up and away, due to empty nest syndrome. You are so right, “I don’t want to grow old with my kids, I want to grow old with my spouse.” Now that our kids are old enough my hubby and I take lots of time to do things together. I wish we had done more of it when they were smaller as well, but we had no family in the state we live in and good, reliable sitters are few and far between. Our kids see us enjoying each other, and what can give them a better sense of security than that? They often encourage us to go out and leave them at home…wonder what they’re up to? But we do and we love each other’s company as much as ever…after 25 years even!

  17. Pingback: Unplanned Cooking » What are your goals?

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