I've been a stay at home mom for most of my years as a parent. DP (pilot) travels 4-5 days and is then home for 1-2 days. I've always looked at our parenting partnership this way- When she is away she is "working" and so am I. So when she is home and we are both "off" we should split the child-rearing duties* 50/50.
BUT in reality she is only working part of the day when she is away and then she gets to the hotel and sleeps (alone! and uninterrupted!) and eats breakfast (alone!) and often has shortish flights (3 hours) where she gets to nap (alone!). I sleep with a 10 year old and either one or two 3 year olds who nurse. The 10 year old doesn't nurse, just 3 year olds! I never eat a meal alone. Heck- I barely ever poop alone!
So when she is home I should get more alone time than her, right? She is more than willing to do anything to support me but I was reluctant to take "more" than my share because I wanted to be strong, and fair and considerate and all that stuff. No longer! I am going to take as much time as I can.
Thanks for listening to the crazy lady who might become sane someday soon!
*I mean things like meal prep, cleaning the house, bathing the kids, playing with them, reading books etc. I am always the homework person since I'm always home.
Me. With 1 spouse, 4 kids, 16 chickens, 74 matchbox cars, 968,562+ legos, a dishwasher waiting to be emptied, a washing machine waiting to be filled and a lost cup of tea in the house.
Well, not exactly. None of that alone time was anything that my partner found enriching or relaxing. What he really wanted to do was be home with us. He envied ME; my time with our daughter, the fact that my day wasn't tied up in a cubicle, that we could do fun things with our day like go the zoo, museum, etc. We might get an hour alone on the bus, but that wasn't time on his mountain bike, or at the martial arts studio.
And I didn't think our daughter's naptime really counted as "me" time. I wasn't at the yoga studio, out dancing, or having some real quality recreation or peace.
Your partner might be envying the time you get to spend at home, just as you are envying her time away. Flying around and staying in hotels sounds luxurious, but I have family in the flight industry and all they really want is to get home and be with their family.
We eventually decided that the weekend days were for both of us, equally. We do a good job in giving each other breaks as much as we can and try not to slip back into the "who works more" game. It helps that we both make an effort to really appreciate what the other does and try to empathize with what the other goes through. We make sure our own and each other's needs get met, and that we are both heard. Sometimes when he has had a particularly hard week at work I do a little extra for him over the weekend, give him some extra recreation time, or some nap time. And if I have had a tired, cruddy week he does the same for me. (This morning he woke up at 6am to run the dog, then quirtly took our daughter out for breakfast... all so I could sleep in till 10:30am).
But yes... if your partner is understanding of your efforts and needs and is offering more support and time for you... TAKE IT! And enjoy. Or if you don't feel like you are getting your needs met definitely see about getting some time for yourself. But keep in mind that is is probably not all roses for your partner, too.
We don't try to make things fair by the hour - our roles, needs, experiences, and personalities are all far too different for that to work. So no 50/50. We both try to give 100% of what we can to our family & home, and try to get both of us 100% of what we need, and as much as we can of what we want.
For us, that looks like DH giving me a lot of breaks; I'm an introvert with a lot of health problems so being home with a teething toddler who doesn't sleep alone (or sleep well) is hard on me. DH on the other hand only takes a few hours in the workshop a couple of times a week. We also get creative about it sometimes - like on BAD days, if DH is home at dinner, I will leave him with the girls and take my dinner to the studio where I can close the door and get silence. I try not to feel badly about abandoning the family dinner; I know that the girls will benefit more from having me calm for the evening routines.
When DH comes home from training he knows Im going to want at least one day "off".. He leaves for months at a time and during that time gets to visit an interesting country, take time off, SLEEP, eat meals he doesn't have to cook or clean up after. He tells me some of them are like mini vacations because there isn't much for him to do other than a few minor items and then play the rest of the time.. I don't feel bad about wanting a day off when he gets home considering Ive spent the entire time take care of the house/kids/cars/bills/etc 24/7. My girls are very high energy so after a few weeks of no time without help Im physically and emotionally exhausted. I need the break.. He comes home rested and ready to play/work/whatever. It seems only "fair" I get a break to recoup from the time.. He agrees to so its not like hes resentful of the time Im needing. Now the other 2-3 days he gets off after training we spend as a family, running errand, visiting places, taking it easy etc.
I do agree its personality based though. Im an introvert, my girls are both extroverts. They crave constant interaction, luckily they have each other but a lot of it still comes from me. DH is an extrovert as well so they feed off each other very well. He gets energized from having days with them without me tagging along. He also doesn't know how I deal with being home 24/7 alone with young children so he thinks he gets it "easy" by being the bread winner and part time parent while I have the "harder" job by taking care of the girls, teaching, cleaning, cooking, etc.
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