Kids are excellent at monopolizing the time to the point where there’s very little time left to actually think about anything else. Between a full-time job, the commute, the daycare hustle and other daily chores it’s hard to find that uninterrupted moment where you can sit down and really figure things out. When we’re home, our lives revolve around our son – because we love him, obviously, but also because we feel guilty about seeing him only 2 hours during an average weekday. He is in daycare and we are at work.
Most weekday family time is spent on maintenance. Get up, brush your teeth, get dressed, eat breakfast, get in the car, have fun at school! After a mind-numbing workday it’s get in the car, wash your hands, eat dinner, play for 30 minutes, take a bath, read a book, see you in the AM!
Weekend comes and all we wanna do is spend time together doing something fun as a family. We ride bikes, go fishing, throw rocks in a lake, visit friends and family… But there are a lot more work days than fun days. Before you know it’s Monday again and we’re back in maintenance mode.
There is no time to think but there is also no time to talk. I mean a chance for me and my wife to engage in a meaningful adult conversation. Something other than a quick recap of the day, complaints about work, rundown of friend’s and family happenings or a to do list.
The two hours we have at night to ourselves when the kid is in bed are not ideal for a deep, meaningful conversation. It’s almost 9 pm, we are both tired and just looking to unwind our scrambled brains. Barely enough time to clean up around the house, work out and just decompress.
At work I sometimes get paid to think about risks to any given project. After being a father for almost five years I’d put Kids at the top as far as the relationship risks go. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything but I can see how kids can wreak havoc on even the strongest relationships.
Of course, it’s not the kids – it’s the parents. We become laser-focused on children. We spend every moment in maintenance mode forgetting how this kid came about in the first place. My wife and I are guilty of this and looking at other couples I’d say we’re in good company.
Our friends and us all love our children but we sure do plan a lot of trips without them. Grandparents need some grandkids’ love too, right?
We just came back from one of those trips. Us and four other couples rented a house at the top of a mountain for some R&R. Four glorious days filled with college-like debauchery, skiing and snowboarding. When was the last time you saw a bunch of 40-year-olds dancing on tables? Most left 2 or 3 kids back at home… I guess that explains it.
The hot tub before 10 people got in it:
But as much fun as we had on the mountain the best part for me was the 4 hours spent getting there. Without a child seat and full of gear our Mini Cooper was a cozy place to be.
It’s funny because we spent the first 30 minutes just enjoying the little things like a travel mug of hot coffee, music (that we liked) on the iPod, heated seats and the fact that we had this rare, uninterrupted moment in time ahead all to ourselves.
We were high on coffee and freedom from responsibilities. Just me and her, blabbering away as if back in college on our first date. Released from the mundane we were making the plans to change the world. All right, not the world but maybe just our future.
How often do you talk with your partner about the future? People and priorities change. Things that seemed important before might not matter as much or at all. A getaway like this goes a long way in staying together – on the same page.
Some couples go out once a week on a date to reconnect as a couple. We don’t do that often but I feel like that’s not nearly enough time to get into these conversations. Spending a few days together, without the usual distractions (and kids!) seems to be a better way to get our minds tuned to the same frequency.
I spend a lot of time in my head. I walk a couple of miles each day during lunch and my brain is firing on all cylinders. When I have free time at work I read my favorite blogs and fiddle with the master spreadsheet. That’s the one that has all the financial numbers and what if scenarios. I talk with my wife about a 5-year or a 10-year plan but it’s usually in 5-minute intervals full of distractions. It is impossible to discuss any subject, intelligently, when your 4-year old is nearby. That’s just the way it is.
This car ride gave us a chance to dig into some major questions. What are we doing in life? Are we happy? What’s enough? What is the plan?
No, we didn’t have a miraculous breakthrough on all of these questions. Still, I’m happy where we ended up by the time we reached the mountain peak.
Operation Pura Vida 2020 is in motion.