In case you missed it, the most recent parenting-related internet stir is about a couple with a young child spending every weekend childless. Yes, you heard me correctly.
Australian model Rachael Finch and her husband, ballroom dancer Michael Miziner, leave their 2-year-old daughter every weekend with her mother-in-law so the couple can spend their weekends kid free. They suggest that this routine is “incredibly healthy for the relationship,” as she stated to Sunday Style magazine.
Now, don’t get me wrong — I enjoy having a weekend or night away with my husband, just the two of us. But I take issue with two parents stealing away every weekend. And my concern is for their young daughter — what kind of message does she take away? Her parents drop her off every weekend so they can go out to dinner, go dancing, and sleep in? Is that more important than spending family time together? By dropping her off every weekend they are missing at least 29% of the week with their daughter. Some of my fondest memories as a child are of my family being together on the weekends, going from soccer games to church to dinner, all together as one. And now, as a parent, lounging in our jammies on a lazy Sunday and enjoying our time together as a foursome makes my heart melt. Isn’t that what family is all about? Simply being together?
I understand that not everyone is able to be with their children 24/7. Parents work, travel, have custody arrangements, etc. But to remove your child from your life, every weekend, so that you can spend your time as though you don’t have a child seems odd to me. Rachael suggests it allows for a close bond between her daughter and mother-in-law. I don’t doubt it, but at what cost? Every household is different, but the bond between parent and child is largely a constant. And, furthermore, the parent sets the tone in the relationship. Wouldn’t “keep pressing on when times get tough” be a better lesson to teach than “a responsibility is only yours when convenient”? The behavior also puts a huge strain on her mother-in-law, who now has to take a stake in raising another child. Having family help with childcare while working or dealing with family issues is one thing; this is clearly another. It can be difficult as parents to find a balance between taking care of your children and taking care of yourself.
Lastly, Ms. Finch has divulged this information onto a social media platform and is angry that she is being judged. News flash: Once you post something online, not only is it fodder for commentary, it’s permanent.