Thursday, July 9, 2009


The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.
Albert Einstein

When two people decide to have children, time becomes an issue. Time together as a couple, time with the kids, and individual time. It seems an even bigger struggle for couples who are older and have had many years of time on their own.

I'm not sure if other couples find it difficult to manage their 'free time,' but my husband and I came up with a system that really works for us. We were finding that we'd get into the cliche, "Whose needs are more important?" conversations that are extremely unproductive. My husband would want to spend Saturday morning getting the boat-trailer road-worthy, and I would want to work on my new website. Which was more important? It's an impossible question; the point is, we both deserve individual time.

We came up with a schedule. We divide 'free days' into family time, Daddy-O time, and Mama time. (Time together as a couple usually comes when the girls are in bed!) We don't schedule all of our free time in this way, but if we both have things that we want to do, then we divide the day as follows:
From 9am to noon is the first shift.
We all eat lunch together, and the "Primary Caregiver" torch is passed on at 1:00.
From 1:00 to 4:00 pm is the second shift. After 4 is family time once again, and we make it a priority to eat together.

The ground rules are simple: what you do on your free-time is completely up to you! If my husband is busy mowing the lawn during his shift, and I decide to have lunch with a girlfriend when my free-time arrives, THERE IS NO JUDGEMENT!

Initially, I thought my husband would hate the schedule because it would mean that he would have less time to himself. It turns out that he loves it!!! Why? Because it's completely guilt-free time! He doesn't feel as though he should rush around so that he can get back home to help out. He knows exactly how much time he has and can plan projects accordingly.

It makes the less-desirable shifts with the kids much more tolerable as well. You don't resent the fact that your husband is out on a three-hour bike ride while you're trapped in the house because your baby is napping; you know that your turn will come.

We all love our kids. We love spending time with them, but it is an undeniable fact that we also need adult-time, and for my husband and I, we need solo-time as well.