Someone recently asked me what the hardest thing about having a child with type 1 is, and I had to think. Is it the fact that I literally have not slept through the night since she was diagnosed almost two years ago? Is it the constant worry? The constant monitoring and calculating? I don’t know. I had to decide what I had it in me to explain. What could I say without this person’s eyes glazing over (understandably). Right now, the hardest thing is this:
I want to be away from my kid sometimes.
Does that sound bad? I love my children endlessly, but I just need to not be with them from time to time. Besides my husband and myself, there are only three other people who know how to take care of my type 1 child — my mom, her preschool teacher (she goes two days a week while I’m at work), and one babysitter who costs a small fortune (and she’s worth every penny because she knows type 1 care VERY well). I appreciate all of these people more than I could ever express. I am beyond grateful for them, but they all have other jobs and lives.
I fantasize about dropping Lily off at a gymnastics class or summer day camp without having to a) find a program that’s willing to take her and b) train someone on how to care for her. And I can just straight up forget about ever finding a neighborhood teenager to watch my kids. I babysat all through high school and while I was good at it and took it seriously, I wouldn’t have wanted 16-year-old me taking care of my type 1 daughter. Nor would 16-year-old me want to take on that responsibility.
If you have healthy children without any special needs, no excuses, get a freaking babysitter and get out of the house. OFTEN. If you can’t justify it for yourself, do it for me – ha! No, really, do it for you, and your kids. I don’t often wish things were different for us, but I do often mourn the freedom I don’t have to get away easily.
Being away from your kids is not just beneficial for you as a parent, it’s so good for kids too. First of all, when you return, they get to have a super refreshed mommy who is excited to play with them. Secondly, it builds their confidence that they can go out into the world “on their own” and make new friends and try new things.