When we saw the blog "Your Mom Is at the Club," we had to wonder: Are moms partying TOO MUCH these days?
Dr. Wendy Walsh: OK, at the onset, let me say this: I am a single mom who has her kids full-time, and that's the way I like it. I happen to really think my kids are cool and often prefer to hang out with them rather than some drunken adults. With that said, I'll also disclose this caveat: I am prone to separation anxiety, and too much time away from my primary attachments makes me jittery. So take my rant within context.
I know plenty of mothers -- married and single -- who seem to have no problem cruising bars, spas and restaurants three to five nights a week. My Facebook event-invitation page bears witness to this trend. Apparently the occasional "girls night out," which was once a gulp of oxygen for exhausted moms, has now become a habit (or addiction) for some. I see invitations to spa days, birthday brunches, happy hours and even late-night (tuck-the-kids-in-and-fly-out-the-door) bar crawls. With so many social obligations cutting into their sleep, I'm always amazed that these moms still get their day-jobs done (the nurturing one and the office one). Ladies, ever heard the expression, "It's dangerous to burn the candle at both ends"?
If I put on my hat as a doctor of psychology who specializes in attachment, the first thing I might ask is: How this is affecting children? Children need one thing more than stuff, discipline and education to grow up mentally healthy -- and that thing is consistency. Consistent schedules and consistent availability of the primary caregivers help their tiny brains trust the world and trust love. My recommendation is that two nights a week should be the maximum that parents should engage in having an adult social life.
The next thing I would look at is the health of the marriage. The kind of moms I'm referring to are not moms doing relationship-boosting date-nights with hubby. These women seem to be running away from their marriages -- and indeed all their family responsibilities. Is this a way to avoid an unhappy marriage?
I guess, in a way, that I am fortunate: I had my babies at age 36 and 41 respectively, after a full two decades of parties. When I finally cozied down in my nest, there was not one thing going on outside my doors that I felt I was missing out on. I had "been there, done that" for years. Now, don't get me wrong: My kids and I love to socialize, and I love to cook. I just hate to pay a sitter and leave my kids. So we create multi-aged dinner parties all the time. The kids are at their table (not too far from my watchful eye), and I am whooping it up with a culinary creation and a good bottle of wine at the grownup table. And that's how I get my "me" time.
How much "me time" is too much?