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Can We Stop Talking About the Couple Who Goes ‘Child Free’ Every Weekend?

Cheerful child playing in robot at home

It seems like every week there is a new dramatized parenting or mom thing to get all crazy and judgmental about. Chrissy Teigen went out to dinner! This single woman wants a maternity leave! This week’s topic to get your mom panties in a twist? A couple who goes “child free” every weekend by sending their 2-year-old daughter to Grandma’s house.

And of course, being the sort of judgmental mom that I am, I have a few thoughts.

First, who is this grandmother who wants their grandchild every single weekend? Because I am not related to her.

OK, but seriously.

I believe the years of intensive parenting should be the most selfless of your life. Your childhood is dedicated to simply playing and being fed and taken care of and only caring about yourself and your immediate world. Then comes your teenage years, a beautiful slice of indulgent, hormonal selfishness where you literally think you are the center of the world. Your 20s—ahhh, the beautiful life of a single person with an income for the first time, vacations, happy hours, and a mostly carefree existence. Yes, these are all generalizations.

When you have kids, you are no longer just responsible for yourself. Duh. You are responsible for the emotional, physical, and financial well-being of other, more helpless, sometimes cute little beings. So if you decide you are also going to be selfish for the grueling years of parenting, when exactly will you decide to put yourself second for just a little while? Also, don’t you want to spend time as a family? I actually enjoy spending quality time with my little ones.

But as these thoughts ran through my head this week after seeing the headline about this couple, I realized: This is a pointless way for me to spend my time. Can we just stop with the judging? There is always going to be something else to judge other parents for. I know have been judged for….feeding my kids carbs, not feeding my kids enough snack food, for breastfeeding for two years, for co-sleeping, for not losing all the baby weight, for joining a gym, the list goes on.

And you know what, I don’t care. I still feed my kid carbs (that one is probably the most ridiculous), I still try to limit junky snack foods, I still co-sleep with my almost 4-year-old (although we would sort of like to stop this), and I will probably never focus first on “losing the baby weight”—I’m typing this having recently returned from the gym, after which I promptly ate a leftover hamburger from last night’s dinner. But I digress.

We are all going to mess up our kids in a unique way. And if this couple wants to take weekends to themselves as a way to re-energize and maintain their relationship, great. Can we move on and discuss more pressing issues?

As thoughtful parents we should stop even caring about these sensationalized stories and just focus on our own family dynamics, what feels right to us, maybe the presidential election or other serious current events, and the unique ways we are going to mess up our own kids. I am just tired of caring about the parenting decisions complete strangers make. Besides, these burgers aren’t going to eat themselves.


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