When I had my first child nine years ago, I refused to leave his side. Date nights were rare, and an overnight trip was out of the question. I was terrified of what might happen if I was away from him (and plus, my boobs were leaking milk on the hour, so there was that). As a new mom, I had no idea how glorious (and necessary!) it would prove to be down the road to get some time away from my kids. Especially after having a few more kids. But Australian mom, model, and actress Megan Gale gets it, and as she shared on Instagram recently, took a well-deserved night off last week. She grabbed a bite to eat with her husband while her baby and toddler were safely cared for, with their grandmothers. And like clockwork, the sanctimommies came out in droves.
Her October 7 Instagram photo showed her smiling, alongside her husband on their way to dinner. And her caption read simply:
“River with his Nanna. Rosie with her Nonna. With about 10 mins to get ready my man & I are out for a quick dinner date. Missing our babies, but SO important for parents to have some couple time when/if they can grab it.”
Gale, who recently gave birth to her second child — a baby girl named Rosie — in late September, is also mom to a 3-year-old named River. She says with River, she “barely left the house for the first six weeks, out of fear, out of guilt and I lost a little part of myself and also developed what I now feel was a mild case of post natal depression.”
But now that she’s a more seasoned mom, Gale knows the importance of “me time.” And grown-up time. Or a combination of both. She knows how important it is that moms don’t lose themselves in motherhood, and also how crucial it is to nurture her marriage and maintain a connection with her spouse.
But after dozens of strangers criticized her for leaving her newborn, Gale felt compelled to speak out. She’s since edited her original post, adding the following to set the record straight:
“For sure we have to devote the majority of our time to our kids. However, IF it can be managed well, stealing an hour or two, here and there as a couple or an individual is a ‘win’ for parents. In this instance we had left Rosie with my very experienced and capable Mum after I had bathed, dressed, fed her and put her down plus I’d expressed enough milk for two feeds just in case. At the moment she sleeps for 4-5 hours and then feeds again so we knew we had more than enough time for a 1-hour dinner, which was 3 mins from our house. And last night was no exception, she slept 6 PM-10.30 PM.”
On the one hand, I applaud Gale for clapping back at Internet trolls who had no business commenting on her parenting. But how sad is it that she had to edit her post at all? I mean, how did we get here, girlfriends? Is it the Internet age that’s driven us to this, or were we always this way? How is there any other response to this other than simply, “Have a wonderful time!” or “Good for you!”?
Now, if you aren’t comfortable leaving your own newborn at home, that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with saying, “That’s not for me.” But that doesn’t mean you get to bash another mom who does.
Luckily, Megan Gale isn’t fazed one bit. Despite the negative comments, she remains confident in her choice — and makes it known.
“If you’ve ensured your child is well looked after in your absence, then there is nothing wrong with some alone time as a couple or as an individual,” she writes in her post. “You’ll be happier people for it and more importantly, better parents. Oh and to the ignorant, judgmental people projecting negativity on my page, it delights me to inform you that I block and delete instantly. No room for that crap here — this is a place of love [and] peace. Your comments don’t upset me, they just make me smile and make you look nasty.”
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: If another mom does something different from you, that doesn’t make her wrong. Or a bad mom. We all have the right to do what feels comfortable to us, and for Pete’s sake, let’s quit the judging! Isn’t motherhood hard enough when we are up with a screaming baby half the night, desperately wanting to button our jeans again and wear a shirt without spit-up on the shoulder? Why do we have to tear each other down on top of all of that?
To Megan Gale, and any other mom stealing some time away for herself or to connect with her significant other, I say this: I get it. I didn’t get it at first, but now I do. In fact, when my second and third children were babies (and still nursing), not only did I go out on occasion, but I took trips away from them. On airplanes. For several consecutive days. Want to come at me with your judgment? Bring it. I have zero regrets.
Girlfriends, it can’t be a happy place up on Judgmental Mountain. Come on down and join us here in Supportive-ville. It’s better. I promise. Megan Gale lives here and she sounds like someone I’d like to hang out with.