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Katy England Katy England
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The secret lives of parents

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The secret lives of parents The secret lives of parents

The secret lives of parents

Parents tend to not get out like they used to. It's not a secret. But I remember being child-free and not really understanding the change in dynamic having kids will have on a person. Let alone having three kids at the same time.

Getting out of the house for fun is an exercise in scheduling and logistics as well as energy and cash-flow. A lot of parameters need to be met in order for two consenting adults to get out of the house for a good time.

Babysitters. Yep, child care needs to be provided for in some way, shape or form. In our case, it's usually a grandparent or two (usually two, since a three-to-one adult to child ratio is daunting for anyone). Grandparents are ideal, because it means we have more of the other part of the equation that needs to be met to go out. 

Money. Google 'The cost of raising children' if you feel like being depressed. Sure, the statistics can be a little funky, but you can't get around the fact that it is expensive to have children. Day care is expensive, babysitters are expensive, activities are expensive, doctor's visits are expensive. Pair that with any other unexpected household expense and date-night can go right out the window.

Synchronizing schedules. I don't know how other families do it seriously, I don't. I came to the realization that I'm working one full-time and three part-time gigs, plus a little volunteer work on the side. Hubby has a full-time and part-time job. Add in doctor's appointments (for parents and kids), dentist appointments, and the weird hours our jobs ask for and trying to synch up our schedules with that of our friends (and our would-be baby-sitters) can be a daunting task.

Energy. There have been days when we've had surprise coverage (someone could watch the kids when we could go out). But sometimes we'd be so burned out we had no idea what to do with our newfound freedom. Thinking on your feet after hours of playing with three 2-year-olds is not pretty. And if I have a beer after that, I tend to fall asleep. 

Double date? Let's just pretend that rather than just going on a romantic evening alone with my husband, we decided to try to socialize with friends. Now, let's imagine that our friends also have children. We have to find a date in which all of the above lines up for both couples. It can be hard enough trying to get the stars to align for one set of parents, let alone two or more.

But this doesn't mean you can't do anything. It just means you have to do things differently. Which is why you will see wayward parents bringing their kids to places that some adults may wish would remain child free. Well, the fact is, we can't all get what we want. I tell my kids that every day, and sometimes I'm just talking to myself.

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