Who doesn’t look forward to the weekend? The weekend means breathing a little deeper, sleeping a little later, and if you’re a married mom with young kids, it also means going to the grocery store sans kids.
In our days of car seats, diaper bags and whining, going anywhere without little ones in tow brought refreshment. It meant I could actually think while accomplishing errands, and even listen to big people music while doing it! Also, what would take me hours with my crew on board would take me minutes without them. Some errands I would save for the weekend just so I could go by myself.
As much as I was always looking forward to the weekend, Kevin was also looking forward to the weekend ~ a time of uninterrupted time and focused places where there weren’t littles trailing behind. ‘Finally, time in the garage, time to work on the car, mow the lawn, a trip to Lowes’...or whatever else he had been holding off all week.
I might get a baby down for a nap, make a menu, create a grocery list, find my coupons and grab my purse. When I would call out that I was leaving, suddenly I would learn that Kevin had his own agenda for that time. “Well, I need to go get groceries.” I might say with a huffy breath in a complaining voice. “Well, I need to change the oil”, might come the determined retort. It was different needs, various errands, and clashing expectations that carried us through a few tough years.
In retrospect, it makes sense that we argued each weekend for a few years, we weren’t really using tools, just felt needs. Then I honestly don’t remember where I picked up this tool, it was likely from a speaker at my Mothers of Preschoolers group, but I learned the obvious…we each had a plan for those weekend hours, and neither of us was sharing that plan with the other. We separately made our To Do lists, mapped out the times we would get our own stuff done, but never communicated this plan to each other. Silly, really…verging on stupid, and certainly not very mature. But it was where we were.
One Friday evening after the littles were in bed, we sat at our kitchen table and I said, “What are you hoping to accomplish this weekend.” And he told me the matters on his mind; it was that easy. I then told him what I felt like I needed to get done and a rough estimate of the time segments I would need without kids. We then mapped out our weekend. It was that simple.
We haven’t argued about weekend time since that Friday evening in our tiny kitchen, many, many years ago. Suddenly we were no longer opposing each other in the time without kids game; we had quickly, and easily, become partners.
It seems ridiculous that we felt so defeated all those weekends prior to this strategy. But I believe we were so focused on boldly protecting our own interests (and lists) that we weren’t looking to help each other. Even though it wasn’t working, we just didn’t know how to do it any differently. I’m grateful that we’ve grown in communicating – because really, that’s what it came down to. Well, and trust ~ we had to trust each other to deliver on the time periods we set up on Friday evenings.
Communication and trust – fundamentals (and basic tools) of marriage, yet so easily pushed aside in the stress of every day life. Grateful those tools made it back into our hands so we could make something different.