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Young new dad looking for some time alone

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Is it selfish of me to want to go alone?
8 years ago, February 24th 2011 No: 1 Msg: #129781  
Hey Guys and Gals,

I'm new here :-) My name is Darin and I'm 20 years old. I have always wanted to go travelling but kept it from others (as well as myself) by using the standard excuses: "I'm not rich." "It's too expensive" etc, etc. so I never really considered it.

But this last month, after spending some time with my newborn son (who is a fresh 3 months old) and after a few fights with my girlfriend, I'd really like to take time to just get out of here and just travel Europe. I know it probably sounds like I'm chickening out or my responsibilities but it's not that.

At first, I thought of going with my best friend (make it kind of a "guy's thing" but then realized since he won't have a job after next week, it'll be hard to save. Also, If I go, I'm planning on going this Fall (Sept-Oct 2011)

Mostly, I would have loved the thought of taking my girlfriend and baby son, but she doesn't work so I'd have to cover costs on my own for the 3 of us, and I greatly fear we would argue (I'm a pushover and let her make decisions - so going on my own would allow me to grow up and force myself to meet new ppl, etc)

So, vaguely - I know this is a deeply personal choice and no one could possible answer it besides me, but is it selfish and unrealistic of me to consider going alone (it would be for just 2 two weeks - probably see switzerland and Germany- but plans are still in the making)

Also, does 7-8 months give me enough time to save or am I being unrealistic? I ask because since she isn't working - I'm entitled for (up to) 5 weeks off parental leave, though I wouldn't go that long.
Her mother thinks it's an impractical idea and my girlfriend just called me selfish and got mad at me.

I'm okay with knowing that it's a bad idea - just looking for confirmation I suppose.

Thanks,
Ask for more and you'll surely receive it 😊

-D

P.S The alternative is to wait a few more years until my son is older and then we can all go as a family but (again, might be selfish of me) that would ruin the adventure of going while I'm alone and learning about myself, discovering things and letting go of all my fear and anxieties...

-D Reply to this

8 years ago, February 26th 2011 No: 2 Msg: #129966  
Darin,

I was not going to answer your post-----but you said, " you are okay with knowing it is a bad idea-- just looking for confirmation."

You've asked for personal opinions and I'm afraid I cannot give you the answer you are looking for. You are the one who has to live with these decision but if you re-read your post above you will know what to do.

You are no longer alone. You have a family. A family that you are responsible for supporting and educating.
Selfish? Unrealistic? What do you think? Really, seriously, what do you think the answer is to this question?

Can you understand why your girlfriend became angry at this idea? I imagine she is very tired. Getting up many times during the night can wear you out. Have you considered another option? You could volunteer to take your family leave and take care of your child. You could give your girlfriend an opportunity to take a few days off and go to a spa and get some rest. This would give you a great opportunity to bond with your newborn. This is an opportunity you don't want to miss. Another option would be for you, your girlfriend and child to go away for a few days. Going away with your family can be good for the soul.

Growing up is hard to do. You've made some big life choices already and you have many decisions ahead of you.
Take a quiet walk and think about your options. You will make the right decision.

I admire you for wanting to learn more about yourself, discover, let go of fears and anxiety.... and I agree that you need to do that work. You don't necessarily have to go away to do this work.

Good luck with your decision.


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8 years ago, February 27th 2011 No: 3 Msg: #129981  
B Posts: 13
At 20, whether a father or not, you need time alone. Take it, it will be better for you and your child. You cannot "make" parents. The only thing you can do is choosing or preventing from becoming one. Reply to this

8 years ago, February 27th 2011 No: 4 Msg: #129989  
I really am not the best one to give advice as I've never been a parent or have faced the situation you have, but from a personal perspective, needing time alone to is always important.

However, what may surprise you is how little time alone you need to learn about yourself. I remember having troubled times many years ago and getting in a car and driving, driving, driving - and by the time I returned I tended to have a much clearer perspective on matters. Thus you say you would like one or two weeks, but even just a few days would be sufficient.

It is important though that if you do decide to get away from things that you don't just live your life your normally do but in a different place, your thinking time needs to really sever all ties for a couple of days. Heading to Europe just to spend time sending text messages to friends and family, or updating your details on Facebook every few hours is totally meaningless. You need time alone, and it does mean alone!

The book "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" talks about men needing to head to their "cave" every now and then to deal with issues, that is they head into isolation. There are a few things with that book I disagree with, but this point I think is most accurate.

Remember that you have a young family, and you need to be very clear with them what you are needing to do and why. Even though you may want to spend one or two weeks away, it might cause others close to you some difficulties. A compromise might be that you go away only for two or three days - just pick a city, get there for the weekend and return.

The most important thing here is communication with your partner, explain to her why you need to go. She may want to go with you, but honestly, moving anywhere with a three month old is always a major undertaking. Remember that she may want time out as well, so if you go for your three days, give her a chance to catch up with her friends for a short time on several occasions and you look after the baby when she is gone. What is good for one should be good for the other.

Best of luck with your decision. Reply to this

8 years ago, February 27th 2011 No: 5 Msg: #130003  
There are many times in life when it's good to be independant and explore the world and travel solo.... being the father of a three month old child is not one of them. You are independant... your son is not. He needs 24 hour care. I can understand the need to get away. Your life has changed completely, you have new responsibilities that are going to be there for the rest of your life and most likely you are exhausted from having to be up all hours of the night. Naturally getting away from it all sounds like the perfect solution; but what about your girlfriend? She is having the harder time of it. She is the one who has had the baby and, if breast feeding, is the one getting up every hour or so and fighting sleep deprivation every day.
Of course you want time alone to adjust to your new life, but did you consider she does too, but can't? You have a family, you have dependants. Your girlfriend needs your support and that's not just financial support. Parental leave was created to give fathers the equal opportunity to take time off work to be at home with their newborn. It was intended to recognise that fathers are equally important and they too need time to be with the family and bond with the new child.
Can you imagine a woman saying she's going to use a month of her maternity leave to backpack around Australia, because she needs to be alone and get perspective and the father has paternity leave and so can take care of the child while she's gone?
Don't give up your dreams, but realise you may have to adapt them. Could you wait until the child is older and let his grandparents take care of him for a couple of days while you and your girlfriend take a weekend together? Could you plan a romantic weekend to reconnect as couple when the child is old enough to be left alone that long? Could you perhaps come to an agreement where you each take a few days break? How would you feel about that - would you be happy to care for your son alone for 2 or 3 days while your girlfriend has a girls' getaway weekend?
There is nothing wrong with wanting to travel or have a holiday.... but yes, there is a selfish aspect when you are talking about doing something for yourself while leaving your girlfriend to deal with all the issues of new parenthood alone. Perhaps you should use your paternity leave to spend time with her and help her with your son. If she is breastfeeding and nappy changing shouldn't you be shopping and cooking and cleaning? Shouldn't she be able to go out for an hour, even just to the supermarket or post office, knowing her child is safe with his father and she doesn't always have sole responsibility and have to take him everywhere with her?
You have a baby together. Your son needs both his parents, and you both need to help each other. As exciting and wonderful as a new child is, the day to day reality is it is exhausting, draining and frustrating and you each need to know your partner is there with you, helping to make it a positive experience. Of course you need time alone, and so does your girlfriend. Be there for each other and give each other the time you both need, even if it is only for a few hours at a time.
The world changes fast, but not that fast. Everything you want to do will still be there in a year's time or two year's time and the older your child is the easier it will be for one or both of you to take a weekend or few days holiday, not to mention all the opportunities you will have for family holidays and travels in the future. As wonderful as travel is it is not the only great experience in life - would you swap seeing your son smile/laugh/walk/talk for the first time for the chance to take photos of a cathedral which has stood hundreds of years and will still be there when you're 80?
Take your alone time, but consider taking it in shorter installments and closer to home and make sure your girlfriend gets the same oppotunities. Discuss how you feel and be sure your girlfriend understands that while you feel this way you are not looking to run out on your responsibilities and leave her alone. Talk to each other - everything you feel she probably does too.
Oh.... and congratulations on being a daddy! Don't underestimate what a wonderful thing that is! Best of luck to you and your family.
Reply to this

8 years ago, February 27th 2011 No: 6 Msg: #130006  
B Posts: 897
Just answering what you already know - actually yes, in this case - you are being selfish, but I suspect that is probably from being overwhelmed at parenthood, responsibility and your life being turned upside down by the little guy who needs you 24/7 - just like he needs his mother. You say she is not working so you would have to support her if she travelled with you - who is supporting her now??
Take it from the parent who has been the one away when the kids have their first motorcross crash or lose the first teeth - you will remember these moments as much as you will remember the great wall of china..but for different reasons. I cringe when I hear the song cats in the cradle. You havent even got to know this little person yet..fast forward a few years, and they will fly past now you are a father..can you imagine him on your shoulders looking out at the sun setting over a foreign ocean? He and your girlfriend may well want to travel with you..at the moment, hes busy trying to work out how to be a person..just like you are. Yes, you do need to find the answers in your head, but taking off for a break with out your girlfriend isnt going to fix things right at this moment..theres plenty of time - Years of time ahead - but right now, you need to work this through with your girlfriend and if she does come to understand why you want to do this now, then great. If its going to be the end of your relationship with her and possibly your son...will it be worth it?

Lots of great suggestions here for "mini head clearing breaks"...you are only young, you have heaps of time. Why dont you start taking some long drives (even overnighters) finding somewhere to sit and think about life and where its taking you...or where you are steering it whichever the case may be.

Hope I dont sound harsh, thats not my intention, but I understand this from both viewpoints. Good luck 😊 Reply to this

8 years ago, February 27th 2011 No: 7 Msg: #130013  
Darin,

You may want to seriously consider family counseling to get you through this time. Hopefully, you employer offers this option. It would give both you and your girlfriend an opportunity to explore the changes in your life and how best to deal with them.

As Shane points out communication is key.


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8 years ago, February 28th 2011 No: 8 Msg: #130065  
Hello Darien 😊

I dont think it is selfish to want to have some time to yourself. I have been parenting for years, and know for sure that time to oneself and balance in ones life makes one a better parent. The main thing is not whether you should take the time to yourself or not, because everybody should have a certain amount of freedom to balance with their responsibilities. The important thing is how you communicate this need to your significant others, in a way that they will receive it well, or fairly well.

The way I communicate it is to consider their needs and what they want while I am considering my own. Then it is easier to sell the idea of my travelling to them. For example, I tell my boyfriend that X amount of travel would cost the same as a computer he covets. Then I suggest we save for both simulateously. He is generally very open to these suggestions.

As for you and your life: You are currently in one of lifes most stressful and difficult situations. You are very young, and have more responsibilities than anybody should have at your age, and so does your girlfriend. Most of us have learned how to cope with lesser responsibilities, before we added kids to our lives, so it came a bit easier, even though parenting is always a challange for even the most mature and responsible adults.

Dont take your girlfriend and son, because from what I am hearing, travel is your thing, and she has not expressed a real interest in it, so therefore a waste of money and a waste of your break. You will argue. I can promise you that, if you try to push yourself beyond you stress limits, by travelling with a newborn, in an already tense relationshiop. Do however consider more the money situation. She does not work for money, but with a little baby to look after she is certainly working, and a lot harder than most who have a 9 to 5. Consider what she would like for herself, which does not include you or the baby and offer it to her. ie Share some of your money with her, because you have more freedom to earn, and she is the mother of your child. This is an important relationship, so take care of it. Maybe you will or wont stay together as a couple, but you will always be the parents of this child.

Also, does 7-8 months give me enough time to save or am I being unrealistic? I ask because since she isn't working



Make out a realistic money savings plan, and you will be able to see more clearly what you will be able to save. I have one of those, and it allows me to guess quite accurately what travels I will be able to afford within the coming 12 months.

Her mother thinks it's an impractical idea and my girlfriend just called me selfish and got mad at me.



Speaking of her mother and others who may be helping or supporting her. I think, it will help others to see your needs if you add yourself to the list of your girlfriends helpers and supporters. ie Look after the baby while she eats, or has a bath. I assure you that those things mean a lot to a new mother who gets very little time to herself, and they will score you big points in her eyes.

Dont get too upset when your girlfriend gets mad at you. Try to let it go, because she is stressed out and sleep deprived right now, which does nothing to help her ability to see your good side, or that you might have some stress to contend with too.

One other thing: Travel has its benefits and can give a person character, but it is not a magic cure. It wont make your fears and anxieties fade away, and 2 weeks away will not put the sensible and responsible head of a 40 year old on your shoulders.

Mel


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8 years ago, February 28th 2011 No: 9 Msg: #130071  
Hi Darien,

You can't help how you feel. Its extremely difficult to turn off your feelings, you should never really suppress them.

While it is selfish to look for this time away from your family, it would be more selfish if you didn't go and resented them for it. The product of resentment is unhappiness for everyone involved.

I'd say go on your trip, it is not that excessive anyway. 2 weeks is not a major length of time. You will be the better for it, and will also both prior and post the trip will be more happier and motivated in your relationship with your family. It is important though that you show her that you care for her too. Tell her this is something that is very important to you, but also ask her is there anything that you can do to help her.

There will never be a really good time for you to get away on your own now that you have a family. So therefore there is never going to be a good time to do this. I agree with Mell in a lot of what she has had to say, she is very correct in her last paragraph. Travel doesn't always have this profound effect on you, to me its more like a warm fire on a cold day, or a smile from a stranger.

Remember too, that when the child is 4/5 you will also have wonderful times travelling if you should so choose.

Good luck in your decision.
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8 years ago, March 2nd 2011 No: 10 Msg: #130232  
Hi everyone!

Sorry about the delay (busy weekend :P) in my reply. Wow! I can't thank you all for such wonderful advice. When I first posted this, I knew the answer was most assuredly something I would have to work out myself.

After thinking it over and listening to all the advice that was given, I think a better idea would be to do something smaller than Europe. Maybe I will go camping for a weekend, maybe I will just drive around...who knows.

But what I've discovered through this is that, ultimately - it doesn't really matter. What matters most of all to me is my relationships. I'm not going to say I'm looking for pity but I had my fair share of heartaches due to loved ones hurting me (emotionally) which felt more like a lack of love. Even to this day, the pain resides.

Yet, when I look at my son and watch as my fiancée holds him, takes care of him, plays with him; the only thought going through my mind is: "Ah...Wha...Wow!" and I stand there looking goofy. I agree with most points and definitely believe communication is key. That's why I'm hoping she will even read through this post at one time or another if she so stumbles upon it.

Plus, as a Canadian I got quite a bit of land to explore on this side of the world as well - why pay the extra $$$ for a plane ticket when I don't have to - at least not yet? And yes, going to Europe with my family sounds like a wonderful idea in a few years....I guess the whole "lone adventurer" idea really drew me in - for some reason that makes me think of Jack Bauer in 24....but anyways.

Thank you everyone and I will definitely keep posting when the time comes!

Best regards,

-D Reply to this

8 years ago, March 2nd 2011 No: 11 Msg: #130237  
Darin,

You should like a nice young man and I think you have given this a great deal of thought. You will do well in the world.
Take care of yourself and take care of your family.

All your dreams will come true if you can visualize them.
Good Luck. Reply to this

8 years ago, March 2nd 2011 No: 12 Msg: #130248  
All the best for the future Darin. You can never regret time spent with loved ones. Although the lone adventurer wandering through strange exotic lands seems to be the ideal on this site I personally always enjoy travel far more when there is someone to share it with. My favourite travels have always been when I have family or friends with me, or am travelling for the sake of visiting foreign friends. Maybe that Europe trip will be all the better for waiting until you can go with your family.
Good luck with everything and enjoy your new family. You can go 'ah - wha - wow' at the Taj Mahal or Great Wall of China another time, and mabe your son will be looking goofy right beside you. He is lucky to have a dad who thinks so much of him. Happy travels through life, wherever they take you. 😊 Reply to this

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