God forbid a mother enjoy her time alone
Lara Bazelon is a mother of two and law professor who co-parents with her ex-husband. She recently wrote an essay for Slate titled Confessions of a Part-Time Mom where she talks about how divorce and shared custody suits her whole family. But god forbid you’re a woman who admits that time away from your children is actually refreshing. The internet does not like that.
Bazelon describes her current situation as “better than most” although the change was hard on their whole family at first. “Kissing my daughter’s tear-stained face while she clung tome- and trying not to cry myself- was wrenching in a way that seemed to symbolize the large demolishment of our family.”
And while she says they all still experience these heart-wrecking moments, they have found their new normal and her part-time parenting has “Turned into a strange kind of gift,” she says.
Bazelon talks about how society doesn’t want us to say we enjoy being parents half the time, that as divorced, separated, and single moms we are supposed to wallow whenever our kids are with our ex: “A good mother would be devastated to lose thousands of dinner-bath-bedtime-story evenings. A good mother would be heart sick to wake up alone,” she writes.
She has now found comfort in their situation and admits to enjoying parenting part-time and makes no apologizes for it anymore. She has realized going your separate ways and being happy on your own is what’s best for the kids versus staying in an unhappy relationship because you think it will make your children happier in the long run.
Commenters took to her story to call her selfish while describing the article as “deplorable”:
“Or maybe that she is just supremely selfish…not a good idea when you are a parent… so I suppose it’s good she is only a part-time parent for her kids’ sake.”
“I’m sure the author got the memo and it sounds like the divorce was much about having ‘me’ time.”
Right, because people end their marriages and go through hell in order to have “me” time. They also responded on Twitter.
The writer seems very stuck in the moment, with little ability to have foresight. Conclusion: we need MORE selfishness— SAHD Champ (@rycat2907) June 13, 2017
People with partners never talk or complain of needing a break or time away from their kids, right? Are they selfish for needing “me” time, too? Or perhaps admitting to needing a break is only a right of passage for those that are married?
An elementary school teacher put things into perspective when she wrote “My non-scientific take from observing my elementary school students: divorce where the parents could not be amicable were awful on the children, divorces where the parents were clearly amicable and co-parenting effectively seemed like truly no big deal…”
Another came to Bazelon’s defense saying,” I watched my parents be miserable and us kids miserable in the process.”
Which is exactly her point: she and her ex-husband and happier now that they are apart. And because of that the kids are happier. She has decided to see the positive in a situation that could be otherwise paralyzing and stop her from leading her best life.
Would it be more acceptable for her to write an essay about how she feels dead inside while she sits on the sofa eating ice cream all damn day while her kids are away with their father? Why is it striking a nerve with so many that she actually enjoys her time alone and uses it to rebuild herself so she can be the best version of herself when her kids return?
She is doing what works best for her and her family. She has found peace. And whether you are married or not, it is your decision to do what suits you and yours.