Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)

Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)
Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Navigating The Weekend

We are for the most part a single-income household, for various reasons I won't get into now. This has lots of different ramifications, some good, some bad. But, I've been thinking about one of these ramifications (is ramifications the right word? It sounds good to me), one that may seem minor, but that actually has a fairly big impact on day to day family life, and one that I don't hear discussed all that much.

To put it simply, I am away from my home for pretty much all of the daylight hours of the working week drawing pretty pictures hunting and gathering. About 11 hours a day, or 55 hours a week.  Being the mote-loving homebody I described yesterday, this means I look forward to getting home, shutting my doors, and not going out again.  I'm very excited on Friday afternoon.

Now, on the other hand, E has a long week with the childers, and spends a lot of time busy at home.  There are lots of outings and whatnot, but yeah, certainly some long hours under that same old roof, or in that yard. For different reasons to mine, her week can be long, and so she too is generally excited by Friday afternoon.

So then, you'd think it would all be fun and games from there. It's the start of the weekend and we're both happy about it, looking forward to the weekend, and the respite from routine it promises.  But, often friction arises on the weekend, and it always takes me by surprise.  I'm a slow learner, I guess. 

But I think what it comes down to is our different expectations, and the fact that we are excited on Friday afternoon for pretty different reasons!  E is like, 'yay, we can get out of the house and do things, and I can get some time to do the stuff I don't get a chance to do during the week'. And I'm like, 'yay, I can pull up the drawbridge and not leave the house, and potter around doing all those fun things I'm thinking about during the working week'. 

Whether or not this seems like a petty issue, I think it's something to be mindful of.  The weekend is an important time, because it's the one block of time where we are all together, and also the one block of time where we can factor in time out for each other. I guess it just has to be about compromise and communication. And I think for me it needs to be about being more selfless and giving, and aware of where my family are at, rather than thinking, tippity tops, now I have two sweet days to do whatever.

Has anyone else encountered this sort of a thing? What has worked, and what hasn't? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.  


Gary Ware said...

I think the last line in your second last paragraph pretty much nails it. Not everyone falls upon that truth, so don't downplay the significance of it. Weekends are a good time to grow more like Jesus. Mind you, my wife is very generous in recognising my need for quietness and even solitude at times. Talking it through expectations and needs in advance is essential.

Joanna said...

Yes, Andrew and I have had this issue throughout our marriage - especially when I was doing a PhD and spending all week on my own in the library going (as an extrovert) slowly crazy and my introverted husband was spending all week dealing with people. I do think communication is the key, because if you both feel that your needs are respected and that there is going to be give and take - eg. we'll go out on Saturday mornings but the afternoon will be home time - it's much easier to be generous!

simone r said...

Yeah. Weekends and holidays. The hardest adjustments to make in your first few years of parenthood. We'd generally plan a Saturday morning outing and make sure we were back home by 12 for the kids' rest time. Then sleep or potter around in the afternoon.

We're in the next stage now where Saturday is ever-painful sport day. One kid all morning, another all afternoon. Neither of them are any good at what they are playing. Rainy Saturdays are a delight.

Karen said...

I think it's about negotiation too. I think what Joanna said nailed it pretty well. Fortunately we're both pretty home-oriented and introverted so it's not like we're dealing with opposite ends of the personality continuum as well. (Although I do like to get out on the weekends...but often to do "by myself" stuff).

We don't do Saturday sport because we find Sunday is so busy and demanding with church, that we need Saturday as a quieter day. We have considered it sometimes but it takes up so much of the day that there's not time to plan anything else. And, like Simone's kids, our kids wouldn't be much good at playing anything, so we figure, why put ourselves through the stress of it all. They swim in a squad one day during the week and do an after school sport program on a couple of the other days so I'm happy to keep our Saturdays for family stuff or having people over or whatever.

Ben Boardman said...

Ben, you hit the nail on the head exactly with this post! Are you sure you weren't talking about me and kate?

Ruth said...

Ben- we totally have this problem! Andrew's day off is Wednesday- and I'm desperate to get out of the house and he wants to be home. We usually do a bit of both. We are finding as the kids are getting older that they need to get out for part of the day too.

onlinesoph said...

I totally hear you on this post! Our day off is thursday (husband in ministry). I think out of every day off we've had so far, all but maybe one or two of them have ended with someone in tears (usually me) all because of different expectations.

Ben McLaughlin said...

Thanks for your great comments, guys. I want to give a proper reply, and will when I have more time.