I go out every Thursday night. Or I don’t. I do what I want.
A typical Thursday night for me can include a yoga class or the grocery store, a family dinner or rock climbing, drinks with friends or an early bedtime.
This doesn’t sound revolutionary. This doesn’t sound notable at all. Until you hear that I am a mom. I work full time. My husband owns a business. We both often have meetings in the evenings or work right up until (or past) dinner time. My husband travels a bit. Scheduling can be a nightmare in my house and the childcare/house maintenance/chores/logistics often falls on me. From what I have read and discussed with friends, this is pretty typical- mom tends to fill the jill-of-all-trades role by default.
How it all began…
Well, it all started with a tremendous amount of stress and upheaval.
Before having a baby, my life vibed well with my husband’s. We enjoyed a certain level of independence and, having opposite personalities (me= introvert, husband= extrovert), we were able to give the other what he/she needed just by being ourselves. I was able to do what I wanted, when I wanted. Drinks after work on a Tuesday? I’ll be right there! Quick weekend away with friends? Give me 5 minutes to pack!
Having a baby through us out of whack. I no longer could take the time that I needed to fuel myself. The baby needed me. My husband needed me. Friends and family needed me.
I needed me, too, but was struggling to find the time and energy to give me what I needed. It felt like everyone was depending on me and I was letting one of us down- myself. I was building a house of cards that was dangerously close to folding.
New Mom Stress
My maternity leave was filled with stress. Is the baby eating enough? Growing enough? Seeing our families enough? Do we have nurturing and reliable childcare? What is happening at work?
Stress was not a foreign concept to me- I had lived with a fair amount of stress in my pre-baby life. The only difference now was that I couldn’t fall back on my old methods of stress relief because of my new responsibilities.
And, most maddeningly, my husband’s life didn’t seem to change that much. He seemed to still be able to go out for drinks/dinner with friends 2-4 times a week under the guise of “work” events, go to the gym during the workday, and take meetings all week and into the weekend.
One day, it was too much.
I broke. I cracked. I lost it. After days on end of being in my house with my beautiful new baby, after hours on end of tending to her sweet needs, after another evening of my husband coming home with tales of the outside world, I realized that something needed to change.
So we tried. We tried giving me a night each week, negotiated the Sunday before. This never worked because, inevitably, something came up that took precedence over my time. We tried giving me time during the day by having someone come over to our house to take care of the baby while I went out. This caused more work for me as I needed to pump/plan/clean before I could leave, plus I was still recovering from childbirth and I really didn’t want to have to be social all the time.
Finally, we landed on the idea that I needed a set time every week (we could plan for it!) in the evening (after the baby went to bed!). Thursdays worked best for my husband’s schedule- he could avoid scheduling events or meetings on Thursdays.
Thursday nights are my night- no questions asked. I can go out or stay in. Either way, I do what I want.
If my husband wants (or needs) to go out, it is his responsibility to find childcare, make the arrangements, and prepare the baby and house.
The pick-up and evening routine are my husband’s responsibility. I often will go home in the evening to spend time with my kid before I go out, but I am not responsible for putting her to bed or cleaning up. Unless I want to.
Our Thursday night routine works for us. A Sunday morning or Tuesday lunchtime might make more sense for you. Find your time and commit to it!
Claim Your Thursday
Your sanity depends on it.
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