Print Edition: Feb. 22, 2015
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BY Tom & Caroline McDonald
I’d like to take my wife on a long overdue weekend away, but
our youngest is only 18 months old. The missus thinks that’s too young to be
left. Is she right?
We are in the midst of discerning this very issue, since our
“baby” turned 2 and our 15th wedding anniversary is fast approaching. Over the
years we have found that every child is unique and each situation must be
discerned. Here are some of the questions we ask; they may help you decide what
Is the baby still nursing? With rare exceptions, like when
Caroline had emergency surgery when our third was 3 months old, we do not leave
our nursing babies. The bond from the nursing relationship is so important that
a sudden interruption would be incredibly stressful for both baby and mom.
Will the baby’s siblings be present? Our 2-year-old is fine
when we’re away for a few hours as long as his big brothers and sister are
there to mind him.
Will the caregiver and surroundings be familiar? Is the
sitter a beloved grandmother who lives next door and knows your kids like her
own — or is it Great Aunt Bertha, who may be saintly to you but a stranger to
the baby? Also, will the kids be staying in your own home or in a house they’ve
never seen before?
How long is the proposed absence? We wouldn’t consider a
week-long jaunt if we had never left our toddler before, because we have no
idea how he will react. We always start with a trial overnight run, and then
work up from there if the baby seems fine.
If you prayerfully discern that it is a good time to go off,
then be not afraid. Just do it. Your marriage relationship is important. It is
right and good to have time alone to renew friendship and intimacy. Wives, you
can go joyfully and devote yourself totally to your husband. Husbands, lovingly
encourage your wives that things really will be okay. Her reluctance is in no
way a rejection of you. It is an indication that she is a deeply committed
mother. Praise God for that!
The McDonalds are
for the Archdiocese of Mobile, Alabama.
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