Incessant, relentless, unremitting, parenting is exhausting. We all need some restorative time to ourselves now and then. With that in mind, I had assumed the Mother would enjoy this weekend to Herself while I take #1 and #2 camping. So I was caught by surprise when She seemed not as excited as I had anticipated.
A moment’s reflection would have made me realize why She is not excited about my taking #1 and #2 away for the weekend. On the one hand, She recently had a weekend to herself—just last month I took the progeny camping. So, Her need for time alone is less acute than it was a month ago. On the other hand, and I think more importantly, I cannot schedule Her time alone. I cannot know when a break from quotidian parental demands will benefit Her most. I am sure She will at some level appreciate the time to Herself, but I don’t get to count this as a time I “gave Her a break.”
When She takes the progeny with Her on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, cutting me loose to do what I want, I don’t typically find that time alone particularly restorative or credit Her with “giving me a break.” She can’t know when I need time alone or schedule my time alone any more than I can know and schedule Hers.
However well intentioned, offers for time alone should coincide with the beneficiary’s needs for time alone.
Sure, at times I see in the Mothers eyes, hear in Her voice, sense in Her body language that She needs time alone. As I’m sure She sees it in my eyes, hears it in my voice, senses it in my body language. But I cannot preemptively schedule those times. ↩
Don’t get me wrong, I make the most of the time alone and generally appreciate it, even if I am not relaxing or recuperating. ↩