Escape. (aka: a rant.)

April 3, 2009 at 10:57 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 24 Comments

I’m not sure what it is. Maybe it’s the fact that “spring” in New England means grey, damp, 50 degree weather, where you end up wearing wool socks to bed until about June, when all of a sudden it’s 80.

Or maybe it’s because the winter has been filled with sick, and I’m just tired of trying to manage it.

Or maybe it’s the fact that I’ve officially spent more than 6 months as a working mother feeling like I’m always working to get through a freaking to do list. Because, see, I am married to a man who is never happy because there’s always SOMETHING MORE he thinks he should be doing.

But right now?

I want to run away.

I dream of taking Baby O to a place where it’s sunny. Where we don’t have to worry about chores, about work, about sick. Where it’s just he and I, where I don’t feel some sort of pressure to be up and DOING something. Where I don’t feel like I have to justify playtime for me. For Baby O.

I’m tired of living life as if everything we do is yet another TASK. I want to have some fun. To show Baby O the world. Park. Woods. The beach. Animals. I want to take him into Boston to the aquarium. The museum of science. To Maine.

There is so much I want to DO.

J keeps telling me he feels the same way. But that he’s overwhelmed with all the stuff that needs to get done and can’t figure the best way to prioritize.

So we’ve gone back and forth, back and forth for MONTHS now. How do we simplify? How best to prioritize what’s really important? When will we feel like we have TIME to get out and do something fun?

Thing is, we don’t. We NEVER have time to do something fun. So we have to focus on MAKING the time for fun, right? Except that when I try and schedule something fun in, it stresses my husband out. Because it’s less time for him to have time to get things done.

That was the discussion we had, again, last night. J acknowledges that he too WANTS to do these things. But feels constrained by the to dos. So instead he works through his list, hoping that at some point it’ll ebb enough that he’ll have time to, you know, PLAY with his son.

What I don’t understand is this. We are not the ONLY ONES who are working parents. Plenty of other people make it work, and have fun with their kids. How is it that we can’t possibly let go of all the freaking responsibility and just go have fun? Why can’t we just BE?

We have so much to be thankful for, so much we’ve been blessed with. A great son who is fast turning into a little BOY. And I don’t want our little boy learning that mom and dad don’t ever do anything fun because they’re always “busy” with chores.

I want so much more from our life than what it is right now. And, aside from going off and doing things just Baby O and I… I don’t know how we’re going to fix it. I suppose I just have to make the plans to go into Boston and get to the aquarium in order for him to get on board with doing something like that. And just deal with the fact that he’s going to be all stressed about the fact that he’s NOT doing the million other things he should be.

I don’t know what the answer is. All I know is that I want Baby O to experience the world. And the best way to do that that? Is to SHOW him.

*sigh*

I love my husband. I’m just really frustrated with him right now. Which sucks. Because he’s working SO hard to keep our life going smoothly. And he’s a good man. I hate feeling resentful of him like this because I KNOW he’s trying to do the right fucking thing.

It makes me feel small. And selfish. Like I should shut my trap and just deal with the fact that I’m lucky enough to have a husband that cares. He’s a good father. He’s a good husband.

And there’s a little voice inside me, saying that I’m an adult now, this is real life.

Maybe this is MY issue and not J’s at all.

*sigh*

Maybe I just need a vacation.

Or maybe I just need to shut the fuck up.

And quit expecting too much from people.

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24 Comments »

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  1. OH – Run away to Arkansas!! Our families are coming – the more the merrier. NO work will be getting accomplished – just cooking and eating. And, we are going to the wilderness safari one day http://www.wildwildernessdrivethroughsafari.com/

    My family arrives for Easter and is staying through the 20th – BigP’s family is showing up around the 18th (Katherine is getting baptized on the 19th). I’m leaving with my family on the 20th to head to Virginia – you can come with.

  2. OOOOOO actually that sounds like FUN. And you have SPRING in Arkansas too…

  3. I felt the same way – I have a 3yo and another on the way. I work at least 40 hrs per week. Our answer was to hire a cleaning service to clean weekly/biweekly. this caused us to pick up the clutter all along, esp right before they were coming. It also freed us up to do “projects” during nap time instead of cleaning. I felt so guilty about it, but not as guilty as I did trying to have my daughter entertain herself so I could mop floors. I choose to work, and because of that, I needed to give in somewhere else. We’re not rich, but the sacrifice was well worth it for us. Additionally, cleaning services are at low prices now because it’s one of the first things people cut when money gets tight. You might be able to find some good deals!

  4. Hugs, hon. It *is* really f*ing hard to do everything. (And I was never even trying to work full-time.)

    Another idea, which we have been considering ourselves, is to hire a mother’s helper for a couple hours so you can do your ‘tasks’ more efficiently and free up some time for fun w/Baby O.

    Good luck figuring things out.

  5. What are those things he NEEDS to get done? Maybe there is no real need for them to be done and he needs to be shown that. Hiring a cleaning service REALLY did help us. Maybe if his stuff that you can have hired to do, then that is a solution.

    I am the planner and organizer in our family and I just say plan something and DO it. Don’t worry about whether he comes–a couple times missing out–he may just decide those things are not worth missing out. I always plan 1-3 things per weekend–something “low speed” like going to the local park and something “medium/high speed” like going into Boston, etc. And then depending on our moods, we can at least DO something.

  6. We are working parents also with two little ones and I’m just like J — always worrying about getting things on our to do list done. What has worked for us is, like another commenter said, having someone come in and clean once a week, and then dividing the weekend into chunks. Saturday morning, one parent hangs out with the kids while the other parent works on to dos. In the afternoon, we trade off. Then Sundays are family days where the focus is on just being together and having fun as a family. It’s hard and not perfect and we have stuff piling up, but so far it’s helped a lot. Each parent has some quality alone fun time with the kids while the other one works like crazy to get chores done, and then we also have some dedicated time together as a family. It’s hard and it’s evolving but this has worked pretty well so far.

  7. I would say hire a cleaner every other week to take that off your plate, hire a landscaper every other week if needed, if you launder your own shirts, can you send them out…just hire out whatever you can. I know you’re not rich, but think about what your time is worth, especially when it’s being spent not playing or interacting with your child. Don’t worry about things like contributing to retirement, college fund, etc. Put those on hold for two years and use that money to make your immediate life easier and more joyful. If you’re making car payments, can you trade in for a lesser car with no payments? How else can you simplify and save money to pay for these life maintenance services? Can you get rid of cable? Cancel magazine subscriptions? Can you agree to put non-essential house projects on hold for two years? You just have to discover what’s important to you and what kind of quality of life you want, then adjust your priorities.

    Then just tell your husband that you and Baby O are going to the aquarium, park, [insert fun place here] on Sat. and you really want him to join you so you hope he does. If he doesn’t, then just go. Do this every other weekend. If he chooses not to go then know that ya’ll don’t have to do everything together. Sounds like one of you needs to make the leap off the to do list, so just be that one. Break the cycle before it breaks you.

  8. Sometimes I probably get like your husband is. That’s when my DH reins me in. It will NEVER ALL BE DONE. Thus, sometimes you leave the dishes for the next day, the oil change for the next week, and those phone calls until tomorrow.

    So much *could* be done. But, if it doesn’t exact a big penalty by putting it off (like paying bills) then why not blow it off? Maybe ask J if he could start by blowing off one small thing per week and replacing it with family time. He can pick what it is.

    Anyway, sorry for the assvice. If it is utterly unhelpful, know at least that another person on the net cares.

  9. How about making plans with other mom(s) and kid(s) to do some fun weekend things? I know it’s not the same as doing stuff as a family and doesn’t really address the issue with J….

  10. I’ve been dreaming about going to somewehre sunny also. It is stressful, it has been stressful trying to do it alone as a single (not by option) working mom. I try to do at least one fun thing on teh weekend with Lyla, but that means that other things on my to do list will not be done. Maybe you 2 just need a vacation. HUGS

  11. My husband is the same way. He has this box he is making for Cameron, and we’ll get home from work, and Cameron is fussy. So I ask if he wants to go with a walk with us – and he says – I need to work on that box. I tell him – I think spending time reconnecting with your son and wife after a hard week is more important. And it’s like a cartoon – a lightbulb went on over his head. Everytime I think – damn. I want to do ‘x’ – I think – is this vital?! Now, I have a lot of baby sleeping time – so I have windows of time to work with. As he gets older – I’m sure that he’ll be bouncing around wanting to play or whatever, and I’ll want to be working on something…. it all a balance. Life isn’t all play – but my mom was the opposite – all work no play. It wasn’t awful – I would play on my own – but I have no happy memories of going to the aquarium or hiking in the woods or going to the beach with my mother. I’d like Cam to have those memories.

    Now. I have a cleaning lady, and also use dream dinners for help with cooking (http://www.dreamdinners.com/main.php?static=index)and sometimes even PeaPod for grocery delivery. Both Aaron and I have a minimal commute, and we pretty much work 40 hours a week. I know you both have jobs where you are working more hours than that. Ask for help! Pay for help where you can! Don’t feel guily about it either!

    And hey – let me know when you are going to the aquarium – I’d love to go into Boston for that!

  12. Oh- and I should add. Aaron is SO bad at going away on vacation – I’ve already scheduled a weekend and a whole week away at the beach, just Cam and I. Aaron can come if he wants (and so far, he isn’t planning on coming – and I’m fine with that) but I have those trips with Cameron planned and I’m super excited about it.

  13. what are the things that NEED to get done? O. and I can get this way too sometimes, but remind ourselves that Auden is the most pressing thing in the universe. he may crawl through some dust bunnies, but it’s worth it. i know it’s hard, and not always possible to do that…but it’s worth working on. and hear! hear! for hiring a cleaner. we don’t have one right now but when we did it was glorious. we’re looking for another one once we both go back to work. good luck, s! take that little baby on a day trip somewhere! xoxo

  14. It’s hard. I don’t think you have to accept it.

    For most of Miss O’s first 3 years, M. and I worked opposite shifts…and I would do LOTS of stuff without him. Go visit family for the weekend. Check. Go to the park. Check. I know M. was sad to miss out, but he also understood that I wanted to do these things, and he wanted us to have fun.

    Schedule the trip into Boston to see the aquarium, then tell J. Odds are that he’ll have a great time with you and Baby O.

    ((HUGS))

  15. We have an eight year old daughter and twin boys on the way and I will say that one of the things both my DH and I have learned since our daughter was born is that all the chores will never all be done and that “good enough” is good enough. We will often let some things go on our to do list so we can go have fun with our daughter instead of doing chores all weekend (we both work and don’t want to spend the $ on a cleaning service). That said – also check out Flylady. Her idea of routines and that perfectionism is something to be corrected I find very commendable. She’s helped me immensely.

  16. Come visit me – I live very near the beach. In FL. Where it is 80 degrees. (Or 75)

    But seriously, you just have to remind yourself that spending fun time, creating memories with your son IS a priority. It’s not the leftover thing that you’ll do when everything “important” is over. All that stuff will be there later and eventually, Baby O will be 22 and in college and you’ll go “but I wanted to take you to the aquarium!”

  17. My husband is SOOOO the same. He’ll complain about how we don’t see x often enough, so I’ll book plans with them, and then he’s stressed cuz that weekend he wants to work and if we have plans he will have to come home by a certain time to be ready and it’ll just stress and fuck up his whole day. I want to make plans so we do stuff yet when I do I sometimes feel like shit for doing it cuz it stresses him which makes me feel bad, or it makes me mad.

    I personally have taken to just scheduling our fun, and letting him stress, because the truth is whenever we finally do go out, he has fun, he relaxes, and we enjoy ourselves. You just have to try to ignore the stupid stuff they stress over because the fun you have will outweigh the stress he had over the plan. Really:-)

    But spring I get stir-crazy too so maybe a quick little romp away? The three of you in a cabin somewhere where even if it’s cold and grey, at least it forces you to read or play cards or just break out a little. No internet, no phone, and no duties or errands, cuz you’re away, and that’s what away is for.

  18. Everyone has already said the things I was going to suggest, so I won’t waste your time and repeat it all. I just wanted to say is that you don’t HAVE to put up and shut up. This is obviously something that affects you very much and therefore it is up to both you and J. to find some kind of compromise where you can both live with the outcome. If you don’t, eventually you will start to resent J. and Baby O will pick up on this, and it will affect him too – and that’s not fair, especially when you have the option to try and sort it out.
    I really hope that you can both sort something out soon – everyone will feel all the more better when you do!

  19. Peapod is the greatest…and not that expensive (I do them 2 times a month). I find it really helpful especially since they can deliver at various times…like tonight at 9 p.m., for example…

  20. I’m the opposite and leave everything else and only do the fun things. It makes for a great time for Caden and I but then everything else builds up. The thing is eventually you can’t ignore everything else. So about one weekend a month, Rick or an Aunt watches Caden during the day and I do all the shit work that I have been ignoring. That means it gets done eventually and I have still had lots of fun.

    But then I don’t stress about it. It’s no good to ignore it if you are just always going to stress about it.

  21. No assvice or suggestions, just lots of ((HUGS)). I too understand that struggle to want to have fun family time while dealing with a spouse who is caught up in other things. It’s definitely a difficult thing to navigate.

    Thinking of you and wishing lots of warm spring weather and fun times for you, J, and Baby O.

  22. Ah, running away. Some days it gets me, too. You’re still trying to work out your priorities, and it’ll take more than 6 months to get the hang of it all in most cases, because it’s hard to find time to sit down and talk about/work out solutions. But fun does need to be higher on the list!

    I think the hired cleaning suggestions are good, if you can manage it (and I’d be prepared to go without a good few things in favour of hired cleaning, myself!). You’ll find a way.

    Bea

  23. I think I mentioned this to you, but our way of dealing with it is to take one weekend day for fun. The other day is about getting stuff done that NEEDS doing. By needs I mean stuff like laundry and dishes and taxes, etc. Also, during the week we take some time after dinner and just chill out with our girl.

    If you are anything like me, it’s REALLY hard to fathom hiring out for cleaning and laundering. Plus, with some things it could be a choice. For example, I prefer to wash some of K’s cups by hand, but the dishwasher does a more than adequate job. So, I have ‘let go’ and just put them in the dishwasher. KWIM?

    You and J will figure it out, somehow at the end of the day, week, year, it all works.

  24. A lot of people are mentioning hiring out some housework, but it seems to me from your post that the problematic to-do list is your husband’s, not yours. His weekend chores are probably more maintenance projects, which can be expensive but can also suck up an entire weekend or series of weekends. I think a lot of do-it-yourselfers need to prioritize and make schedules. Ask J. to make a list of what needs to be done according to priority, estimate how many hours each project will probably take, and have him promise so many hours per weekend for family time. I say this as the wife of a home improver, and coming from a family where people jump from one huge project to the next — and we are witnessing this with D.’s sister and BIL, who have totally compromised their kids’ childhoods this way: You have to be somewhat flexible but mostly firm.


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