So. One of the things I finally (FINALLY!) got around to doing was to set up a weekly ‘free night’. Since I’m on evening/bedtime duty* with the kids each weeknight, I just wanted one night where I . . . wasn’t. So Thursdays are mine**. I often have this nagging sense that I am always rushing from one checkbox to the next; that my life lacks space and margin. So this is my attempt to mandate that I make some.
The thing is . . ummm . . .I don’t know what I want to do with it. It is Thursday at 6:20pm and I am writing this post! The kids are covered until 8 or 9, so I could do any number of things. So far, though, until writing this I’ve just defaulted to work (my “results” box in our electronic medical record was getting to a state of overflow that makes me uneasy). But I feel like this is missing the point. That stuff is the urgent, rather than the important. I am constantly in that mode, and one main purpose of this night was to get out of it.
One issue is that evening is NOT when I want to do any deep thinking. I have some longer-term work projects that I could tackle, but after a full day of patient care/notes/etc my brain just isn’t ready for that right now. What I really would like is to hit a wine bar with a friend, with Josh, or even with a book***. Actually, even better would be my own couch — but (obviously) that wouldn’t work.
What would you do with a night off/week?
* Don’t get me wrong; sometimes Josh gets home and helps, but usually C is asleep by then. And I am the designated parent to arrive home to relieve our nanny by 6 pm, which just works better for our schedules.
** I realize this is an enormous luxury. I also realize that some may judge me as a full-time working mother who is purposely skipping out on the bedtime routine one night per week. Ahh well.
*** And maybe I will . . .
No judgement here! Bedtime with young children is a trying and stressful experience at times. I have help each night with my three (5 and under), but still fantasize about having a night off from it all. Enjoy your time!
I *hate* bathtime and bedtime. My partner works away 8 weeks & home 3.5wks. When he’s home he’s on bath/bedtime duty and I love the half an hour/hour I get to myself. I hear you 🙂
I can relate, and you aren’t alone in realizing you have to think about how to use this space to achieve what you intended (i.e. space). We end up having a sitter at least one evening a week for something or another, and I definitely find a way to take a night off from bedtime duty either by switching with my spouse, having a sitter or some other helping hand like grandparents happens to be in town. Also, like you, my day job is very people intense. I’m pretty much fried by evening and the split shift concept does not work for me unless I’m doing people-intense work like attending an event or traveling because the activity of interacting forces me to stay awake and focussed. (And the twins don’t go to bed until 9, and, since I get up and 5:30, I cannot start working again at 9 and expect to stay on that schedule). I don’t find being in the house while a sitter is here relaxing because there is still noise and the twins will want me over the sitter. So, things that do work in this kind of space for me include: dinner/wine out with a girlfriend, relaxed girlfriend-type social activity like our local "cocktail club," book club type social activity, library time to read followed by solo wine bar, being out of the house for a portion of the time and telling the sitter to have the twins upstairs by a certain time at which I’ll arrive home and try to stay out of sight downstairs, hair cut (just did this last night), on the rare occasions I shops for clothes I can use this time to go to two stores I like in town.
So glad you set up a night off for yourself. Missing one bedtime a week is no big deal and by giving yourself a break and taking care of your needs (personal, professional, marital) you will be more mindful with your kids when you are there with them. Once you get used to the routine you can start planning ahead and set up social or personal plans. Even if this becomes an occasional catch up time at work I think that is ok. I think being mindful and present in the moment is really hard when there seems to be this big to do list waiting for you. This may even be an opportunity for you to have one on one time with each kid when they get older. Think of it as a time for you to do what you choose even if that is work or child one day.
YES. And I love the idea of using it for child one-on-one time some nights too. It’s making the conscious choice that is the truly important part.