Why Being a Selfish Parent is Okay
written by, Shannon Handy Grassi | News Reporter KFMB TV
When I found I was pregnant with our first born, I was happy……but scared. We had only tried for a couple months. In that regard, we were very fortunate. But, I had mentally prepared myself to try for a lot longer, given what so many of my friends had been through. So, when it happened as quickly as it did, I panicked. It wasn’t for the reasons you’d expect. Of course I wondered how we were going to raise another human. More than anything, I was scared to give up the life I had. I was being selfish.
I thought about all the things in life I enjoyed, without having to make concessions for someone else. Together, my husband and I love to travel, hang out with our friends, go out to dinner. Independently, I look forward to daily workouts, happy hour with my girlfriends….basically, the freedom to do what I want, when I want (when work doesn’t get in the way). I thought a baby would change all that.
Siena Grassi was born in April of 2017. We experienced what all first time parents do….sleepless nights, confusing scenarios. Ultimately, we hit our stride, even if it didn’t coincide with what other new parents would do. We took our newborn out of the house almost immediately. We introduced her to various sitters (we have no family nearby). We did date nights. We traveled (with the baby). We tried to keep a schedule, but if it didn’t work out, we dealt with her crankiness and moved on (especially when venturing to a different time zone). Basically, we refused to stop living.
To this day, my husband has weekly boys’ nights. He continues to play in his various sports leagues. He’s taken boys’ trips. I workout six days a week. If I want to meet my friends for dinner or happy hour (virgin drinks—I’m pregnant with our second), I coordinate with my husband, or a sitter, and make it happen. Does this sometimes mean spending less time with our daughter? Yes. But, I think it’s the best thing we can do for her….and ourselves. Remember, when you have a baby, that little miracle came into your lives….you didn’t come into theirs. Yes, changes need to be made. But, you don’t need to give up who you are, or the things you enjoy doing. You need to have balance. Even if that means taking a few minutes for yourself everyday…make it happen. If your partner, a relative, or a sitter aren’t options…reach out to a friend who’s willing to take over for an hour. That’s what’s going to keep you sane, and happy. A happy parent makes for a happier baby. In other words, it’s ok to be selfish.
Shannon Handy Grassi is a mom of two girls, born April of 2017, and December of 2019. She works full-time as a news reporter at CBS (KFMB) in San Diego. During her free time, she loves adventuring outdoors with her family, meeting a girlfriend for a drink, or sweating it out in a workout class. Her parenting philosophy is one of constant growth…..don’t be afraid to try new things in an effort to find out what works best for your family, whether it’s with meals, travel, discipline, etc. Also, make sure to make time for yourself! Shannon is a huge believer in leaning on other moms for advice and companionship. She hopes that by sharing their stories, you’ll benefit from it too!