In last week’s Tranquility by Tuesday post, I talked about how one busy couple altered their schedule to create more “me time.” My general suggestion for any two-parent family where folks are feeling like life is all work and family responsibilities is to give each parent one night off during the week. If that’s not going to work (or if you want more time!) another approach is to trade off on weekends, so each party has time for his or her own pursuits. Handled right, this can still leave plenty of space for family time too.
As I look at how we spent this past weekend, I saw that this was our approach. On Friday night, my husband took our four kids (and a friend) to a showing of The Polar Express at our church. I used this time with no one else in the house making noise to record 10 episodes of Before Breakfast. I recognize that this is not technically me-time (it’s part of my job) but I identified this as a time when none of my neighbors would be making noise with construction or leaf blowing, and I got some me-time during the work day during the week (a pre-natal massage on Monday, runs during the work day on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday). So it seemed like a good trade-off to extend my work day to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, given my ability to move time around.
On Saturday morning, I took the kids because my husband ran the Philadelphia half-marathon. He left the house around 7 a.m. and returned at noon. During this time, I took the two littler kids to karate (The older ones stayed home — a benefit of older kids! My 12-year-old now dutifully texts me every hour or so to report on the situation. We had to hash this out as a policy, but it works.) We had family lunch, all sitting down together for a meal, and then my husband took the four kids to a ski shop to rent skis for the winter season. I used this time to run, read, and practice playing Linus and Lucy on the piano. (Listening to the recording, I’m realizing I should probably enlist the 10-year-old to play percussion to accompany me if I’m going to get this right).
Upon my husband’s return, we traded off again, with him going to Costco. As with my Friday evening recording session, this might not sound like me-time but…trust me, in our household, going shopping all by yourself with no children falls in this category. He really seems to love bulk buying peanut butter and tortillas and he started on some of our Christmas shopping too.
We had family dinner when he came back, then did our family activity of going to the Philadelphia Zoo’s LumiNature light show. (Ok, not entirely the whole family — the 12-year-old decided to go to a friend’s party instead — but most of the family!). Somewhat oddly, the animal exhibits were all closed, which was kind of disappointing, but the lights were pretty, and it’s always nice to have a reason to be outside together at night.
I didn’t sleep well Saturday night (hopefully only about 7 weeks or so to go of this…). Waking at 3:45 a.m. and being unable to go back to sleep resulted in some me-time, which I used to run on the treadmill and work, but it’s not my favorite form of it. In any case, after church my husband took the four kids to Frozen 2. I used the time to nap. Later in the afternoon, I stayed with the kids and he went to the gym to lift weights (well, with the 12-year-old, but he works out on his own).
Then we had another family dinner (Costco finds: surf and turf, corn…) and had a calendar meeting to figure out how we can continue to make our schedules work!