Freedom in an afternoon.

There are some changes afoot in the S. household! Mr. L has started a new radio gig as part of his business’s marketing plans for this year. As excited as I am for him and hopeful it will have a solid ROI, personally as a SAHM it means I lose my other set of hands every Sunday for a chunk of time.

To be fair, Mr. L and I discussed this in length and we mutually decided on a time slot that would be the least intrusive to family life on Waldie Road. Being cognizant that this Mom needs a bit of a break, we agreed to the following:

 1)   We now have all three kids in the same place at the same time for Saturday morning gymnastics. Being used to participating in the Parent and Tot stuff, I volunteered to take all three each Saturday morning giving him a morning off. (Am I not a great wife thinking of Mr. L as well?)

2)   Each Saturday afternoon/evening (barring family planned events like birthdays and holidays) I get off. He is on for the rest of the day through dinner and bedtime with the bonus if I come home at some point before all three kiddies are asleep he should take it as a lucky day. I am not planning dinner or putting out pyjamas.

3)   We reconvene Sunday morning with family time however that takes shape and he is back for family dinner.

My first Saturday under our new agreed-upon schedule, after a much needed treadmill session at the gym, I met up for coffee with a friend. Pre-third child we used to meet up weekly or biweekly for a coffee and catch-up. Nowadays we are lucky if it’s once every three or four months. Before heading back home to get dressed for a night out at a casual family get-together back in the small town I grew up in with Mr. L and kiss the kids goodnight, I even managed to pick up some much needed spring wear for my brood.

As my friend A. and I caught up, I openly shared with her our new weekend arrangement. She asked what I would do with a whole afternoon and would I not rather be at home catching up on all the stuff there or relaxing?

“Of course I would!” I answered. “But as soon as I walk back through that door they are all surrounding me wanting this or that. They always find me if I try to hide, always! Also, it is hard to relax or write when faced with all the stuff to-do around the house.”

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Explaining to her how I could take the afternoon to go to the gym and not feel rushed trying to put an hour circuit training into forty-five minutes or not worry so much about errands during the week as Saturday afternoon’s were now free to do them. Also it was a few hours I could actually get to those must-do personal appointments. It sounds like heaven to me! Even after all those things were checked off the list, just simply sitting somewhere quiet for dinner with a pint of beer and my laptop tapping away uninterrupted for a few hours would be time well spent as I pursue this writing dream.

Of course, I look at it another way as well. Mr. L gets some one on one time with his kids. He can plan that time however he wants with them. My personal hope is that it nudges him towards starting to take a little more initiative when planning family/kid activities.

How do parents of three or more manage to get things done? I have found over the years simply accepting that errands or items around the house will take me nearly twice as long as anyone else is simply a fact of life right now. It will not always be like this and even now, I can see little nuggets of time freeing up that as my children become a little more independent. The key is to make the most of those nuggets of time, whenever and however they occur. As well, I think being an advocate for yourself within your relationship is paramount. Mr. L was not a huge a fan of my idea of Saturday afternoons free but open discussion on both sides and his support to help keep me a sane person outweighed his own concerns on managing three kids plus a dog on his own for an afternoon each week.

 Would love to hear others “tricks of the trade!” 

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