Monday, November 8, 2010

Mama Bean doesn't quite know what to do with her weekends

I have a different perspective, now that I'm a parent, about weekend plans, particularly when it comes to alone/me/without-Bean time. I try to be careful about how much I plan on these activities, because weekends are important rest and leisure time for both PB and I, and I don't want him to feel abandoned too often. Being that our work schedules and stuff are so busy during the week (and the lingering effects of our time in Cowtown when the weekend was just an extension of the work week and we never spent any time together) we've really come to cherish our unencumbered time together on those two precious precious days. (Well, I'm speaking for him, but I think he cherishes this time... I'm assuming he does.)

Everything is just so much easier when we can do it together. Saturday mornings are pretty awesome, because I don't have to do the whole morning fetch/feed/change/dress routine alone - PB can make the bottle while I fetch Bean from his room, or one of us brings baby and bottle to the other of us still dozing in bed, and we have a little family lie-in. It's all a little more relaxed. I don't have this desperate feeling that I must pee/brush teeth/wash face/put in contacts/fix hair/warm milk before Bean's noises get really insistent, because there is another adult on the premises who can do at least some of those things for me, while I do the things that are really my responsibility alone. (I'd like to see a game show for married people, or on Minute to Win It, where one person has to put in another person's contacts...)

Even when all of a Saturday is just running errands from store to store, at least I'm not clipping into car seat, getting cart, clipping out of car seat, wrangling beast in cart, keeping beast amused without chewing or tossing everything I put in the cart, unloading goods, returning cart, clipping back into car seat ad nauseum by myself. My big, strong husband is there to share the duties. I hope he forgives me when I save up errands through the week just to blitz them all on a weekend.

However, weekends are also the biggest block of time either of us has for scheduling activities best performed solo. For PB, at this time of year, that becomes the only days all week when he can maybe go out hunting or shooting or whatever. For me, it's mostly about shopping or crafting or similarly girly activity. I recently started a weekly prenatal yoga class on Sunday afternoons, which is gonna be awesome(!!)

So, here's the thing that really prompted this post. I lately find myself dithering about inviting friends to join me on these outings, because most of our friends are also parents, and I imagine their weekends are similarly dedicated to doing things with their spouses, and I don't want to tear them away from that with my oh-so-tempting offer to shop or whatever. And I also don't want them to feel awkward about accepting an invitation if it means leaving their spouse abandoned with the baby, if that's an issue in their relationship.

And basically this is simply not something I would have bothered to think about before Bean.

I mean, often during dating or marriage-without-kids, there are very specific efforts to do things sans spouse, to Have Your Own Life, whatever that means. There are repeated articles in all the right magazines assuring us that, as independent modern feministic women of power, we have a right and obligation to pursue individual interests outside of our primary relationship (and we must be comfortable with our partners doing the same, but not too much, in case that means he doesn't love us enough or is having an affair or some such rot.) And, to be honest, having My Own Life really fell by the wayside long before Bean came along, and I've been stumbling in my efforts to get a hobby (any hobby!) because, again, all the right magazines tell me that's what healthy mommies do. Before becoming a mother, I wouldn't have considered, "Ooh, should I ask Suzie to the mall, since this is weekend time to spend with Bobby?" but now I find myself wondering, "Hmm, should I ask Suzie to the mall, since this is weekend time to enjoy Bobby Jr. with Bobby's help?"

Maybe I'm just projecting my values onto my friends? We did have that arid time in our early marriage when weekends were meaningless, and moving to the PVC was just a gift of this absolute luxury of time with each other. And during that arid time the whole reason we were working so much was to make enough money for ends-meeting, not anything extra, so hobbies really didn't mean anything. And again, moving to the PVC has been a gift of the luxury to actually buy the stuff you need to have a hobby. So maybe I'm just assuming thought processes for my friends that don't really exist.

But I also think it's pretty universal that caring for children is easier in teams, and given the reality of at least one, if not both, parents working outside the home, that teamliness doesn't generally get to happen in a concentrated fashion during the week. So I don't think my projecting is entirely baseless. Anyway, this is just another thought process that didn't run through my little mind before babies, and it's been interesting to notice the pattern. I don't think it's becoming a problem yet, but I realize it could lead to being a bit isolated if I let it get out of balance. Also, everything is about to change after Sprout arrives. PB's schedule will totally change from the crazy-super-packed-extravaganza-of-crazy-super-packedness it is now, as he becomes a SAHD again. And we'll have two babies to chase around, while wondering what this mythical "free time" is and whether we'll ever experience it again.


  1. Take heart. It does get easier, in some ways. Our kids are 9, 14 & 17. No more endless clipping & un-clipping of child seat buckles.

  2. Not projecting; just considerate.