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We have two children, 3.5 and 1 years old. My wife and I rarely go out on our own, I can count on one hand since the oldest was born. We have never left them alone all night, they have always woken up to at least one of us in the morning. We have the opportunity for great responsible and well trusted child care, both family and close friends. They in fact ask to baby sit, and we usually say no thanks.

My wife and I are not the type of people that need regular date nights, we are closer than ever right now. We certainly dont need or even want a weekly or monthly date. But it would be nice to do it a little more often, more than about once a year. We just can't get past the feeling of guilt to leave them. We are talking about a weekend away, but we just can't pull the trigger.

How do other parents deal with this struggle? Any suggestions?

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+1 for great question –  Zsub Apr 1 '11 at 12:49
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Guilt? It's hard for me to go away because I miss my daughter, but guilty? Your kids are missing you way less than you miss them. They have fun with the babysitter. :-) –  Lennart Regebro Apr 1 '11 at 20:06
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4 Answers

Have you discussed why you are feeling this way? Do you think you will miss something or do you feel like you are "abandoning" them? Maybe you can pin point a specific root for your feelings and take steps to insure you are comfortable when you leave them.

Depending on when their bedtime is, you could always help put the kids to bed while the babysitter is there, and then go our for a later dinner/date.

At other times this might be a great opportunity for the kids to make a bond with a grandparent, aunt/uncle, family friend that will play/interact with them in a different way from the parents. This can grow into a great relationship as they are getting older.

In the end, it is important to spend time alone with your spouse and put effort into your relationship. Strengthening your marriage will in turn make you a stronger family and better parents. The parents are the kids first and most important example the parents interactions as a couple and of how you treat your wife/husband.

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+1 for trying to get to the root of the problem –  nGinius Apr 2 '11 at 3:30
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In addition to MasterZ I would like to stress that your kids need to trust the babysitter first! Even if the kids know the person who is babysitting, make sure they are comfortable around him/her.

You could start out by doing a short date, say, an extended evening walk (about two hours or something) so the children see you arrive. That will back up the babysitters claim that, really, honestly, mommy and daddy will be back ;)

After that just go on progressively longer dates. The children, but most importantly you will get used to leaving them (the kids) at home in someone's care.

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Great question. First off, you are very lucky to have close friends and family close by that you trust. My wife and I do not have anybody here so we actually have to rely on online baby sitting sites... talk about scary and feeling guilty...

The guilt will go away once you take a few date nights and you see that your children are okay with the person you have watching them. your trust will grow in that person and conffidence that the child will do great.

I would get several single dates under your belt first so you feel comfortable before doing a weekend getaway, mainly because if you don't then you will be so worried during the weekend getaway that it will really do you no good.

Realize that as parents you have to have time to get away to in order to releive stress, break away from the normal routine of everyday life, and recharge your batteries with your spuose. This can prevent unneeded stress in the relationship, short tempers, and other things that the child will notice.

So bottom line, it is important for you and your spouse to go out regularly, and the more you do get away and see that your child is doing okay while you are away the more comfortable you will get with the situation.

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+1 - Excellent Answer. I'd also point out that it's important for kids to see their parents spending time together with each other as an important facet of a good relationship too. –  afrazier Apr 1 '11 at 12:54
    
Absolutely! Showing a child that their parents put a lot of effort into their relationship with eachother helps reinforce what a positive relationship looks like and will help the child to grow knowing the importance and place of an intemate relationship. –  MasterZ Apr 1 '11 at 12:58
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Look on it as helping your children to learn to trust in other adults (which is important for their development). Also they learn that your absences in their lives are very temporary and that your return can be relied upon. These are two good lessons.

Since you say that you have absolute confidence in the potential babysitters then you don't have anything to worry about.

Good luck, enjoy the night, and try not to spend the whole night talking about the little ones.

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Interesting point. I always see it about us, the parents benefiting. But it does benefit the children too! –  Mike Ohlsen Apr 1 '11 at 12:41
    
Was just about to post a similar answer, we see it as an essential experience, the children should learn to trust others, it will help with major separations, such as nursery and school when the time comes. That said, I feel bad about our week long up coming honeymoon. The joys of parenthood. –  DaveShaw Apr 5 '11 at 21:06
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