The headline glared at me like a shiny beacon: "Meet the Couple Who Enjoy Child-Free Weekends, Every Single Week." I had to know how it was possible for parents to actually enjoy their weekends free from crack-of-dawn wake-up calls, little-league games, fights over the Xbox, ballet recitals, and yet another chicken nugget and soggy french fry dinner at a verified family-friendly restaurant. Did they have an army of babysitters at their disposal? Did they have a nanny who took their children home with her on the weekends? Who are these magical, mystical people?
The couple in question are Rachael Finch, an Australian Dancing With the Stars star and a third-place runner-up in the 2009 Miss Universe Pageant, and her husband, Michael Miziner (Mish). And the reason they spend their weekends child-free is all because Miziner's parents take the couple's 2-year-old daughter, Violet, to stay with them each weekend. Speaking to Sunday Style, Finch said, "Every weekend [Violet] goes to Mish's mum's house, and we get our weekend to ourselves. I think that's incredibly healthy for the relationship. And on Sunday, when we pick her up, we have 100 percent energy back."
It's that quote that has gotten Finch into some hot water with mothers around the world. "Ummm, I can understand wanting time every now and then to reconnect and focus on one's relationship, but every weekend?!? Why have kids if they are shuffled around to other family members all the time?!?," read one Facebook comment. Another read, "Pathetic! No, I wouldnt want every weekend 'child-free'. I actually enjoy my kids!!! And....I didnt become a parent so I could get a sitter every 5 minutes and leave my kids without a parent."
The backlash came swift and hard, leading Finch to respond via Instagram last May.
She's right. No one should be criticizing her parenting decisions. But I can tell you that her decision isn't for me. While I miss some of the carefree weekends my husband and I had before having kids - wandering around our city without a destination in mind, bottomless brunches, and not worrying about what time we had to get home on Saturday night to let the sitter go - there's a reason we decided to start adding children to our family. As a full-time working mom, my weekends are my time to catch up with my kids and enjoy them in all their glory. Sure, little-league games can feel endless, and I wish we could sleep in just one Sunday morning, but I love seeing my kids do their thing without the restrictions of school or homework tying them down.
Finch's daughter is only 2 years old, so I'm interested to see just how long her arrangement works. For now, good for them. They've found an arrangement that gives them the freedom they want and helps their daughter form a wonderful relationship with her grandparents. I'll stick with the early-morning race to the field and my sitter's midnight curfew.