One of the most profound pieces of writing by MetroDad was buried deep inside a long post… Luckily, I discovered the gem. Entitled “The Solitude Dilemma“, it describes in great detail MD’s trip to Graceland many years ago. However, and more importantly, it also reveals what I think is the inevitable tradeoff that any good parent must battle, at least once in their lives:
If I’ve learned anything, it’s that the key to parenting is finding the nexus between making the ultimate sacrifice of always being there for your child while also allowing the time to be alone so you can better know yourself and work on your own personal development. Finding that middle ground is a constant challenge and both are necessary in order to not only happily raise a child but also in order to raise a happy child. I can’t overemphasize how important both those things are.
Because let’s face it. Raising a child requires constant attention and engagement. The stakes are high. It’s not their job to realize that we sometimes need to take a break from the realities of everyday life. All of us, at different points in our life, need to take responsibility for understanding that it’s important to take care of ourselves. It’s better for us. It’s better for our kids.
These two brief paragraphs lucidly capture my own sentiments on the subject, and I encourage you to read them once more. This is a dilemma that has no easy answers. And sometimes, even when the answer is clear, the means to implement it is far from it.
There have been many occassions on which the wife and I have battled this very question. Over the years, we have come to make our peace with it… to an extent, I suppose. As a parent, you are always torn between the needs of the children and those of your own. And, the strange thing is, even when we’ve tried hard to breakaway from household duties for just a few hours, we soon find ourselves talking about what the kids did and updating each other on their antics, etc.
In short, we quickly find ourselves missing them! That’s when we need to remind ourselves that nurturing our marriage and our selves as individuals is equally important.
As I write this today, there are still many more experiences that I would like to experience… many of them with my wife, and some of them by myself too. I don’t know how many of these I will actually be able to. But the quest continues… And, the journey within is far from over.
Ironically, MD’s “Solitude Dilemma” may ring true with countless parents… he is not alone on this!