The question of alone time/free time has been an issue of constant revisit in our household. Since our baby (our first) was born, I've fluctuated between being an antisocial loner and being a too-involved stress junkie. I also work from home, so I'm perpetually involved with the baby. This is both a blessing and a curse, since it can interrupt my work day and cause me have to work until 9 or 10 at night, but it is also really nice to be able to help with the baby when things get crazy.
All right Dad's/Non-At-Home-Parents, my questions are in this vein: How much time do you take to unwind? How much 'time off' is too much? Should a provider for the household be on duty with the kid(s) as soon as they're off the clock?
What about full time parents? When should they get a break? How long should they take for themselves to stay sane?
Perhaps this is too broad a topic, but any thoughts on time management in a parental situation would be of great interest to me.
Both parents deserve to get breaks. In our house when we're both home with the kids we are both actively parenting. It can be hard to come up with a routine that works for both parents when you're new to parenting. It's best to work it out now than later though.
Perhaps if you and your SO needs to sit down with the intention of working out a schedule/duty list for the time being so that you both have a visual of how a normal day should go.
Here DH gets an hour after work to do his own thing, and then he takes over after dinner so I can go hang out and relax myself. The rest of the time things are determined by need. We've been at it for 8.5 years though, so we're at the point where I can just hand off DS and say "give me an hour" and he'll take over. But we allot about an hour per day of winding down time to each other.
If it looks like I'm trying to pick a fight... I'm not, I'm rarely that obvious.
Slightly different situation here, as I work only a tiny bit part-time and otherwise am an at-home dad with our girls, while my wife works full-time... But as MusicianDad says, everyone gets a break when they need one. We don't have scheduled "breaks," but any time one of us says, "hey, I need a minute to myself" we pretty much always find a way to make that happen.
Generally, the way things go is that my wife gets home from work about an hour before supper time, and she's desperate to spend some time with the girls, while I'm happy to have a little break so I can do some cooking (which clears my head nicely). Then, after dinner, we both help the girls to bed, about equally.
But I really feel like that's just chance. The best way, IMHO, is just to let your SO know when you need a break, and promise each other that you'll find ways to make that happen.
I'm the primary caregiver during the day, although my wife works from home so she can help out as needed (sometimes this can make things more stressful, but that's for another post). For a long time, when she finished working she would take the boy, and would have him for much of the weekends too. Eventually, I realized that this was not fair to her at all, and we try to break things up a lot more equally now. (Things are also a bit tougher as our 10-month-old is high needs, and taking care of him can be really tough.) Nothing is scheduled, but I go out of my to give her more time at night and on the weekends than she had before.