Dr. Minette Riordan is the founder of North Texas Kids magazine and an ACPI Certified Coach for Parents. She is passionate about helping parents create better connections to their kids through relationships, time together and access to the resources they need to raise happy, healthy kids. She is the mother of two kids, aged 11 and 8. She loves public speaking, training and workshops in addition to her coaching and work at NTK. In her spare time, she loves being outside with her family or entertaining. She loves to cook and is a closet American Idol fan. You can read her complete bio at www.minetteriordan.com.

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My Kids are Home – How Do I Feel About That?

My kids returned last night after two weeks in Colorado with their Grandparents. They had a blast, they crammed more into a two week visit that I could have imagined: hiking, crafts, cooking, video games, miniature golf, campouts/campfires, go karts, horseback riding and more. I am sure my parents are feeling worn out from all the unusual activity. Both kids and grandparents had very mixed feelings about leaving. The kids were sad to leave but ready to come home (my daughter made up for two weeks with no mama hugs in about two hours last night). My parents were sad to see them go but ready for a break.

I know how they felt. My feelings during the two weeks were very mixed. On the one hand, my husband and I enjoyed to relaxed time together. We worked hard, extra hard! I had two magazines to get to press last week, so it was a busy one, especially as we just took over a new magazine, Richardson Living, which is completely different than North Texas Kids in format, printing, distribution, etc. My husband had lots of craziness at his software job, too. Too add to the insanity, we decided to paint our t.v. room while the kids were gone… So some days I was very grateful that the kids were gone and we could put in long hours. Other days, especially the ones where the kids didn’t call, I missed them dreadfully. One day my office manager had her daughter at the office and at one point I heard the daughter’s sweet voice saying “I love you mommy.” At that moment it brought tears to my eyes, but in the next moment I realized how grateful I was to have a break from the daily added busy-ness of parenting.

This past weekend, my husband and I went and stayed at a beautiful resort on Lake Travis, outside of Austin, called Lakeway Resort and Spa. This few days away were amazing, relaxing, beautiful, full of conversation, planning and dreaming. This was the first time in four years we had taken a long weekend away for ourselves. In hindsight, that wasn’t very smart of us. Our relationship suffered because of it. We have gotten much better at monthly dates, weekly lunches and trying to walk together in the mornings so that we have quiet conversation time. I know that we are more satisfied with our relationship and working harder at it right now than we have in years.

So I say that my feelings are mixed about having my kids back, but the truth is, I did not miss them terribly for the most part, only at certain moments. On the other hand, I am so glad they are home and was overjoyed to see their smiling faces get off the plane last night and hold them in my arms again. I think we learned a couple of valuable lessons: our kids are growing up very fast. They loved being away and I knew they were safe at my parents house. Also, we learned how much we need time together without the kids to thrive in our relationship with each other. The happier my husband and I are together, the more time, energy and happiness we share with our children. I always say that we are our children’s most important role models. They are going to learn about healthy relationships from what they see between us.

My question for you today: what are you doing to take care of yourself and your marriage? Time apart is healthy for everyone in the family and makes you so much more grateful for time together!

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