When my husband and I first began to discuss the issue of our separation and how we were going to divide and conquer so to speak, we had decided he would have the kids every other week-end. As time drew closer to our actual physical separation, I could tell how hard it was going to be for him to loose that daily contact with the kids. I suggested that he have the kids every weekend beginning at 4:00 p.m. on Friday and return them to me by Sunday morning so I could take them to church. He really like that idea. It was just kind of on a whim that I suggested it, and I had not really thought it through. After it came out of my mouth and he said "great" I begin to think of the implications for me.....
ALONE every week-end. In the 7 1/2 years since my oldest child was born I have never had that kind of alone time. It scared the crap out of me. Which ironically is what was also scaring my husband, how much time he would now find himself alone, once we separated. I called my dad hysterical, wondering what I had just done. He attempted to calm me down, and I did feel better after I got off the phone.
I am a list maker, so naturally I decided to make a list of all things things, and projects I could do without my children underfoot. I discovered that I had a very long list of things I have wanted to do for 7 1/2 years but not been able to because of being a mother to small children. All of the sudden those ALONE week-ends did not seem so alarming, and instead seemed very appealing.
Several weeks ago was the first week-end the kids spend at the new house with their dad. I went over on Friday night, and helped my husband unpack, because the movers had been at my house all day moving stuff out. I wanted both my husband and my children to feel settled in the new house. I know it seems silly, and a lot of my friends don't understand why I would still even be speaking to him, much less helping him unpack his stuff, but the fact remains I still love him, I care about him and I know this is just as hard on him as it is on me. I need him to feel settled, for my piece of mind, as well as to be a good dad for my kids. My job as a mom will be a lot easier if he is involved in their lives and has some degree of contentment. I left late Friday night after unpacking numerous boxes and making a run to the grocery store for food my children would eat.
Saturday morning found me sleeping in until 10:30 a.m.!!! A real treat for me. Actually I was woken up my his calling me asking if he could stop by and get another pair of PJ's for the 18 month old. Here was his morning: No sleep the night before due to the 4 year old who refused to sleep anywhere but with daddy, kids up, fed, bathed, and dress by 9:30 a.m. because they had to be out the door to ensure my 8 year old made dance practice by 10:00 a.m. While he was attempting to get the kids ready, the 18 month old dumped a bowl of coco pebbles she found unattended on the table all down the front of her PJ's, hence the call to me, and in addition she ate 2 tubes of Chapstick, and went on a search and destroy mission throughout the house. His comment to me was "Boy she gets into everything!" I replied "Yeah, I know" while inside I was secretly laughing, because I guess he thought for the last 7 1/2 years,since we started having kids,that a mysterious fairy went through the house cleaning up after the kids.....
He had to entertain the 18 month old and the 4 year old until noon when the 8 year old finished dance practice. This involved running errands, and taking the 4 year old in public is always an interesting experience. While driving back to his house the 18 month old fell asleep, which meant she refused to take an afternoon nap. He was trying to prepare a gourmet dinner for 6 friends, and all she wanted to do was cry and demand to be picked up. His comment to me "You can't get anything done when they are around." I replied "Yeah, I know," while secretly thinking to myself "Where have you been for the last 7 1/2 years? Now do you understand why sometimes when you came home I might not have always been in the best of moods?"
With the arrival of his friends he was able to finish dinner, but all during dinner and after dinner the kids kept demanding things kids demand, like more food, drink, to be cleaned off, diaper changed, help going potty, etc. He was in and out of the conversation with his friends as he attended to the kids. I think it was pretty exhausting.... And again a second night of no sleep due to the 4 year old in the bed with him.
Meanwhile for me, on Saturday, after sleeping in until 10:30 a.m. I decided to completely clean and reorganize my bedroom and bathroom. The project took three hours, and it was entirely uninterrupted by children. I listened to uplifting music and enjoyed being able to have a thought to myself that was not interrupted after 30 seconds by a child needing my attention. I then took a long hot shower, got dressed in a totally rockin' cute outfit and headed out to the mall. I shopped for two hours, mostly window, and met friends for dinner. After dinner we returned to my house and my friend's husband gave me a beautiful blessing. The week-end was the most peaceful relaxing week-end I have had in a long time, maybe ever.....at least since my children were born.
I think I am going to like week-ends ALONE!