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Needing a Break

November 23rd, 2011 by Rachel Stuhler

Getting a babysitter is always a touchy subject with parents. Some are completely fine with letting a non-family member tend to the child within the first few weeks, while others can’t fathom leaving their child for years. When discussing a few hours of daycare each week, a friend of mine recently told me, “my children didn’t leave my side until they were old enough to tell me if something had gone wrong.” I was left to ask, what age is that? Three? Five? Twelve?

On Up All Night‘s episode “Hiring and Firing,” Chris (Will Arnett) struggles with needing some time on his own. Baby Amy doesn’t give him those sweet little “I missed you, Dad” faces because, well, he’s never away long enough to miss. Not to mention, he’s been cooped up in the house so long that he’s starting to imagine his eight month old is plotting against him.

So Reagan’s (Christina Applegate) answer – the right answer, in my opinion – is to find a regular babysitter. Someone who can give Chris a brief respite every few days, long enough to play his beloved hockey or run a few errands. It’s a great idea, except that suspicious Chris thinks everyone is out to hurt his precious child. This leads him to veto scores of babysitting contenders, and causes him to alienate a perfectly lovely young woman by searching the contents of her purse. She was listening to the Grateful Dead, after all, which is a clear sign of bad behavior.

This moment in time is a struggle for every parent. We want to continue to exist as individuals outside of our home lives, but doing so brings on bouts of fear and guilt. The key is knowing that a needing a break now and again is not the same as having your child raised in a boarding school in Switzerland. It’s just a few hours, and then you’ll be back to doting. If we adapt, so do our kids. And our marriages will be a whole lot healthier if “baby” isn’t the only topic, purpose, and activity in our days.

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