It’s official. My husband and I are no longer fun.
We had five hours to ourselves this weekend, and we spent it doing chores.
Ok, let me back up and give you the details. Ben works strange hours. Some weeks he works four ten hours shifts, others he works five. Some weekends he has four days off, others a mere two. He is never truly off because he constantly gets called with questions even on his off days. It is stressful and sometimes feels nearly impossible to find time alone.
This past weekend was his short weekend. If I had thought it through, I never would have planned “couples’ time” on when his free time is so minimal. But after a long week with the kids, all I could focus on was the urgent need to get out and have some fun without someone in the background screaming “Mommy! Mommy!”
Ben is currently training to complete a 60 mile bike race. I knew he had a bike ride scheduled Sunday morning. I planned to take the kids over to my Mother-in-law’s around 11am, so I would be at home ready to have our date around noon. Of course after riding 60 miles on a bike any man would love to entertain his wife. What was I thinking?
Ben got home and good naturedly jumped in the shower. He asked what I wanted to do, and in true pushover fashion I replied “whatever.” We debated a movie or a leisurely lunch. Ben told me to decide. Figuring we had time to do both I said “Let’s go to lunch and see where the day takes us.” Bad idea. If I wanted to go to a movie, I should have said I wanted to go to a movie. But I assumed if we didn’t make the movie, we’d at least do something together and something fun. You can see where this is going.
We enjoyed a relaxed lunch at a favorite pub, and then decided to head to Home Depot to buy interior paint. I know, Home Depot is right up there with getting up early for church on the list of ways you do not want to spend a Sunday. I thought we’d select our colors, purchase our paint and be right back on track for a fun couples’ afternoon.
Ben had other ideas. As soon as I said “Home Depot,” his mind began to meticulously sort all the items on his to-do list waiting at home. Before I could gasp “No! Wait! Let’s have root canals instead!,” we were at home, not speaking in separate areas of the backyard- he pruned the bushes, I painted a block set for the boys.
He did his best to make the time fun. He put on some music and offered me a beer. But my mind had departed for Grumpville the second we pulled in the driveway. Logically, I understood. He had two days off, a chore list a mile long, and he needed to get some things done in the time he could before going back to work the next morning. But I had been trapped in the house doing chores from sun up to sundown all week. I wanted to go somewhere, anywhere, that did not directly relate to parental responsibility. I wanted one afternoon to just relax before again looking at the to-do list that only gets gains items.
In a fit of “fuck it” I left my blocks half painted and went to take a bath. If I had to be stuck at home, at least I was going to do something I could not do when my kids were around. As I filled the tub, I read in article in O Magazine (no comments on my reading selection.) The article discussed leading a life of gratitude, and how your mindset changes for the positive by journaling five things every day that you are grateful for. I began to mentally check off my blessings, and feel a little better about my day. I was drinking a beer, reading a magazine, and waiting to take a bath. Not too shabby.
Before you think I’ve gone all New Age on you, the second I opened that door, my sour mood crept up on me once again. It didn’t take as strong of a hold, but it was still present. The realities of being a mom means you often feel connected only to your kids. And those little guys are ready and waiting to drain you of every last drop of attention.
We arrived to pick up our kids, and Kellen came running to the door, beyond happy to see me. Everyone made the obligatory comments “I guess he missed his mama,” followed by chuckles. So cute, right? Until he wants me to pick him up and carry him for what seems like hours on end, and cries the second I set him down.
I admit, I wasn’t ready for the level of involvement being a parent requires. I misspelled “involvement” and clicked for synonyms- “evolement” popped up. I wasn’t ready for the level of evolvement either. Am I selfish? Am I weak? A bad person?” I seem to require a lot more self time than the average person.
But there are perks. I love the last few minutes of the day, when I silently lay against my husband chest. Too tired for conversation, but happy to just be close. I love to nuzzle Kellen’s hair when he refuses to be anywhere but my arms, to smell his sweet scent and feel the rush of hormones as I hold him close. The good outweighs the bad. But if we end up at Target on our next date, I’m trading Ben in for a younger model.