Tuesday, July 22, 2014

So much time for activities

This blog has obviously hit a low point as to how often it is updated. There are a number of reasons for this. One is that we have some big changes happening on the horizon that we are not discussing publicly (no, it's not a baby), and I have a hard time blogging with a filter on (as anyone who reads our blog knows). But the other problem is that we have just so much free time. I've always found that the more unstructured time I have, the harder it is to fit in my "important but not urgent" tasks, the one Seven Habits calls "Quadrant 2" activities. When I was on the FUS teen trip the other week, when time was really limited, I got in a good run every day, but now that I have a ton of free time, it is so easy to put it off for "a better time" until it is dark and I am tired and I'll just do it tomorrow. Blogging is one of those "important but not urgent" tasks that slips away when there is too much free time.

Cait and I have talked about this a few times, but it almost seems like being a really top-notch parent is easier when we are not both around. I'm really proud of how well I did as a solo-parent while Cait was gone for 3 weeks. Did our kids eat a few bowls of Cap'n Crunch, yes, they did, but they also ate a ton of vegetables, played outside all day and read an endless pile of books with me. I was focused, present, kept the house quite clean and kept my temper fairly well, even as it got hot. But now that Cait and I are together all day, I have a lot harder time stepping up and find it a lot easier to drop into a chair with a book. Of course, reading a book a few hours a day during a long, lazy summer is fine, but I am having a hard time even doing my half of the household responsibilities, which usually consist of cleaning and monitoring active and outdoor play for the kids (Cait usually defaults to cooking and transitions and taking the kids to activities outside the home). I just feel like I have a lot less energy and need more sleep and downtime when Cait is around. It's all going fine, of course, the houses we've stayed in have stayed pretty clean, the kids have mostly stayed off devices and the kids play outside plenty, but it still feels almost harder to get these things to happen when we are both home.

Of course, solo parenting only seems to work well for us when we feel like the other parent is doing something important, so spending a few hours in a coffee shop reading a book alone doesn't quite have the same effect as studying for finals or volunteering for a week.

I have been getting more alone time than Cait, for sure (like right now at this bakery and coffee shop while Cait is at the splash pad with the kids)

, but I spend most of it working, as I am the one with the stay-at-home job that I've never found exciting enough to really blog about, but that rarely feels the same as a real job that I am going to (although it probably pays better per hour than any job that we've had before).

Anyway, that's what's been on my mind. We realize that it's totally a luxury to have both parents choosing to be at home (not involuntarily unemployed, for instance). It's great that Cait could get some intensive field work done in the first month of the summer leaving us with two months to bounce around rent free in the unoccupied homes of vacationing friends, but the trials of luxury are still worth talking about, right? Maybe not.

Do any of our readers have experience with both parents at home for an extended period? How did it go? Do you have any tips or tricks? Or anything you want us to blog about, besides our secret? We are taking requests.


  1. Yes, I have felt this way too! Too much unstructured time is very bad for me getting anything done or being present and active with Owen, and when Mike is home I definitely slack on lots of things. On evenings when Mike has to stay late at work or go to an event I am a much more present parent and it feels like I get a ton done. I also remember during maternity leave that once Mike went back to work I managed to get Owen and myself out the door to do something with MUCH more ease. I never made it to a parenting group before he went back to work. With two adults, there's always one more thing that needs to be done before you can leave (bathroom, finish getting dressed, send one more email, grab a snack to bring along), and before you know it, baby needs to nurse or be changed again.

  2. I completely understand. Last year we had just shy of three months between the bar and Patrick's start date. The first month and a half was full with trips and moving, but once we got settled in our new city we had no idea what to do with ourselves. By October I was practically wishing for Patrick to start work just so we could some semblance of a routine again. It's nice to have the whole family together, but over such a long period of time it turned into sitting around unsure of what to do with ourselves. A week or two at a time works much better for me. I do miss your posts, but I'm glad you guys get some down time!

  3. Yes, so true! I'm having a similar experience this summer. Lots of free time, and yet somehow it's all filled...

  4. Hi, big fan of your blog. I've always wondered about Cait's WIC lactation consultant experiences as well as your attachment parenting and cloth diapering thoughts.