by Bryan Calvin
My wife is wonderfully overcommitted SAHM with a part-time job, who’s also a room mom for our daughter’s part-time preschool and on occasion has to take care of her mother. Suffice to say, she’s busy. And that’s okay, because as a family, we’re happiest when we have a thousand things going on.
I try to do my part. We split the household chores and take turns making dinner (the crock-pot is our friend). During the week, when I come home from work, I’m in charge of the bedtime routine for our daughter. Frequently, I send her to our room with a nice glass of wine and tell her she’s off duty for the rest of the night. But none of that makes up for the fact that my wife is the primary caregiver and for those of you with little ones, you know how exhausting that can be. It’s not glamorous, and can be very monotonous and there are no days off. Story time for the hundredth time. Play date at the park, again. That’s why I’m glad she’s leaving me.
Of course, she’s not leaving forever. I’d be beyond devastated if she did. But for four days this week, my wife is leaving for scrapbooking retreat with some great friends. Imagine—a four-day weekend with no husband, kids, work, or domestic responsibilities. Just die cuts, embellishments, and stamps. How great would that be?!
I don’t get the hobby, but she says I’m not supposed to. I teach, so I have Spring Break off plus holidays and a reduced teaching load during the summer. This is in addition to the mounds of paid sick leave I get but never actually use. Staying at home, my wife gets none of that. Which is why we think it is so important that every few months, she gets some time away. It’s a chance for her to take a break and recharge her batteries. Crafting is her passion, and she’s darn good at it.
The fact is time away, whether it is for a day or a week, makes her a more patient mother and a better wife. Putting herself first and taking care of herself allows her to come back rested and ready to parent a bubbly, energetic three year old, who asks a lot of questions on a daily basis. In truth, I need her to take a break. I support her occasional excursions because it is shows that I realize how hard her job is, I appreciate her for it, and I value everything she does for this family. It is my way of acknowledging her as the beautiful woman I fell in love with, not just the mother of my child. When she’s relaxed, I’m more relaxed and that makes us both better parents.
YML family, how often do you take time away and what do you do to recharge your batteries?
Bryan T. Calvin is an Assistant Professor of Government in Fort Worth, TX. He can be reached on Twitter at @btcalvin.