River Prom 2013 - Party Like a Rockstar. Can you guess who I was?
One of the hardest things to do as a single parent is to get out of the house without kids in tow. I am not talking about a quick trip to the store (even though that can also be hard). I am talking about a night out on the town or a weekend get away. This is especially true for the primary care giver. We get so wrapped up in being there for our children that we forget to do something nice for ourselves.
Let me give you an example. For the last 11 years, my friends and I have gotten together at what we call River Prom. We choose a theme, go buy/rent clothes according to the theme, hire a caterer and get together for a night of food, fun, and great company. My children have been my date every year since I became single. This year we rented a place that requires everyone to be 21 years of age or older. So my usual attitude of "my dates live with me, so why stress over finding a date" has changed slightly. In fact, this will be the first year I am actually going alone.
I have to admit that I nearly decided not to go when I learned my children could not go. I felt guilty for having the chance to go out and have fun without them. Then I went to a charity dinner and silent auction. During the auction, I bid on a hotel package that was good for three different trips to Navada. I didn't bid on the package because I wanted the trips. I bid on it to show my support for the charity I was there to support. I never thought that my very small bid would be the highest bid. Needless to say, my bid won the package and now I have three certificates for weekend getaways to places that are not kid friendly in Las Vegas, Mesquite, and Wendover. Winning this package made me realize just how often I get away without my children. (Which is only once a year and only happens when I send my girls off to Girl Scout camp.) It was this realization that changed my mind about River Prom and made me determined to go whether I have a date or not.
Our children need us to go out and enjoy ourselves. Doing so helps us to be happier people. When you are happy, your children are happy.
I am not saying that you need to go buy a bunch of weekend getaways like I did. But I do recommend that you find someone trustworthy to watch your children while you go out. If their other parent is still in their lives, take advantage of the times when they are with them. If you are like me and have your children 24/7, then find a relative, friend, or a trust worthy neighbor to watch your kids while you take a break. If you do not know anyone, get to know someone.
If you dont have the money to do much, get creative. There are so many ways to find someone to watch your children for free. I love what one woman did. Someone I know started a babysitting co-op a couple years ago when she became a single mom. I thought it was ingenious. She formed a group of single moms on Facebook that would get together for play groups every now and then. They soon agreed to watch each other's children from time to time to give each other a break. To ensure that one parent did not take advantage of the other parents in the group, they came up with a system that provided you with tokens each time you watched someone else's children. Then when you wanted to go out, you paid for someone to watch your children using the tokens you had earned.
If you can not afford to take a vacation, then take a hike or do something else that is free and will give you the break you deserve. You owe it to your children to do something that makes you happy.