Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Day Off

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming for a public service message. To be more accurate, a good old fashioned grumble session.

There is a large disparity between my husband's definition of "a day off" and mine. Before I continue, let it be known that in reality I have no cause for complaint. None. I married a wonderful man who is a great dad. He works hard, comes home and plays with the kids, does more laundry than I do, mows the lawn, takes out the garbage, and very seldom leaves the toilet seat in the upright position. He's a jewel.

That being said, I need a day off. A weekend would be better. For every gift giving occasion over the last two years this question has been posited:

"What would you like for your birthday/anniversary/Mother's Day/whatever?"

The answer has been the same each and every time.

"I would like for you to take the kids and go away."

I'm such a romantic. But seriously, I would like a whole weekend to not hear a whine, wipe up juice, change a diaper, or blow bubbles in the front yard. And read and write with NO GUILT.

The thing is, that boy I married often takes one or the other of los bambinos somewhere for an extended period of time on Saturday afternoons which cuts my responsibility load considerably. Occasionally, however, I am promised a day off. Last weekend he made noises about actually taking the kids to see his mother this weekend. I had palpitations.

Somehow or another, that plan faded or fizzled or maybe he was just speculating out loud. I'm not really sure. It was quite a tease, though. Then he floated the idea that maybe he would take the older (my trouble maker) with him on Friday night and Saturday to do some work on the house we are selling. That one never came to fruition either. Today he generously (and bravely) started out with a plan to manage the kids all day and let me put my feet up.

I know that in theory it's the thought that counts. I do. And he was thinking of me. BUT. If everyone is here, it's not a day off. I can hear them when they have tantrums. I feel guilty that I'm not pitching in. (Not quite guilty enough to ascend from our cavelike basement.) And when things get really hairy I have to pitch in because frankly the kids are a little more scared of me. So. In the interest of well meaning spouses everywhere who promise their significant other the day off I am posting the conditions that must be met in order for it to qualify:

1. You must actually go away.

2. If you say you will go away by 9 am, you must comply. No claims of a 9 am departure and then dilly-dallying around until 1. At that point it's naptime for at least one of the bambinos who must then stay home and that is NOT a day off. Every second that dear hubby and kids are still around is on MY time. I get edgier than a two dollar hooker looking for a crack fix while I watch the clock and wonder when everybody is really going to clear out and the house will be quiet.

3. Do not come home early unless it is a bona fide emergency. In our case, a complete melt down of the five year old qualifies. I might want a day off but I can be reasonable and handling him in a public setting when he is in full frontal disintegration mode is just too much to ask. Just please call and let me know as soon as you do that you'll be home early. Otherwise, if I think I have until 6 pm to play with my belly button I really need until 6 pm. If I don't get it I feel ripped off. Shortchanged. Hostile.

4. It is better if the day off is not a surprise. Half the fun of the elusive day off is knowing it's coming and looking forward to it. It's better than jewelry and highly likely to gain you favors of a carnal nature.

That's it. Pretty simple, really. If I ever get a real day off I will let you know. But I won't blog about what I did that day because I guarantee you that to anyone besides me it will be dreadfully, blissfully boring.


  1. lolz !! I can so sympathize with you ... :) Though, I don't have kids yet, I have friends who are So in need of the TLC for themselves that you're talking about .... But trust me, you're luckier than some of them. Thy have No help other than a nappy change here or there, that too under protest ... hehehehe :))

  2. Perfect post. So very funny and yet so true.

    My kids are of the furry variety, but I swear one of them would give the worst of yours a run for the money. He's hyper, he's into everything - especially garbage, he snaps with no warning, then the next second he'll cuddle up against your side and look like a cute little fawn.

    But we can leave them at home all day and not have someone call the police.

    A day off sounds so blissfully wonderful. A whole weekend? Wow. Now that would be - there are no words. I think about taking myself to a nearby hotel for the weekend sometimes. Only think about it, mind you. My wife is understanding, but I don't think she'd be that understanding.

    I do get a weekend out every year at the Working Writer's Retreat (put on by SCBWI-LA). That's a very intense, draining, creative, writing and critiquing weekend. It's my yearly treasure.

  3. We have furry kids, too. They are grown and well-behaved so they are a piece of cake now but the best dog ever (Mazie, rest her soul) put me through the wringer and TWO carpets. She was worth the investment once she hit age 2 but most other people (sane people) would have given her up.

    I remind myself every single day what a great dog Mazie turned out to be despite the trying start. Right after I ask myself if it is possible to list all the things I should tell the 5 year old not to do. (Really? You didn't KNOW that you can't swing a baseball bat inside the house?)

    Loved your CoN poem!

  4. Laurel - I've been there! Granted, it was long ago, but now, I just wish the hubby would take himself somewhere! I'd love to have one day in my own home without someone who knows what I'm doing every minute. Are we ever happy? ;-)

    ps- Enjoyed your entry at CoN; hope you don't mind my coming by here.

    FYI - I'm the mother of 30somethings who are in your shoes, so I "feel your pain!" LOL

  5. Hi, Karen!

    Are you kidding? The more the merrier! I clicked over to you,too. I *love* the pictures. Your blog is all around aesthecially pleasing. My poor blog got a little jealous.

    I do think lots of us need "cave time." Women, especially. That boy I married gets that my cave time is much cheaper than filling a script for antidepressants.

  6. I think if my wife read this one should she would be nodding the entire time. The only thing with her, though, is that if I gave her a day off she would probably just use it to get things in order in the house rather than to truly relax.

    I'd have to add a clause to her day off stating that she had to do something fun and not something for the house.

  7. SW:

    You sound like a man blessed with wisdom and compassion in exceeding abundance!


  8. Drive them approximately 50 miles in any direction.

    Leave them there with insufficient funds to catch a bus or train - perhaps a little for sustenance.

    Drive home and relax.

    They will return on foot either late in the evening or early the following morning.

    I love it when a plan comes together.

    Four Dinners x

  9. Preacherman:

    BWA HA HA HA! Tempting. I'd like to stick to plans that won't necessarily involve child protective services.

    Still, there is a Brothers Grimm appeal to your suggestion...

  10. Hi Laurel, you totally deserve a day off. When my kids were little, I got divorced and that scored me entire summers off. You might think that's a little much but it's not. ;-) Sounds a little extreme in your case however, since that guy you married sounds like a good one.

    I just wanted to say hi, it's been great seeing you at every entry, and I loved your piece. Thanks for your comments on my blog. If your husband doesn't read my piece, tell him I'm going to sing it to him. Heh Heh.

  11. Go away? Gee, I don't know. This might send the wrong message. Still, I think it's a novel idea.

  12. Hey, JR's Thumbprints! Thanks for stopping in.

    I am the anti-chick when it comes to communication. If I wanted him to go away and not come back, I would tell him and not in girlie code.

    To get what you want you have to make your wishes known. To get what you want from your husband you have to make your wishes known without ambiguity. Mars, Venus, and all that.

  13. Laurel - good stuff. While I don't have kids, I appreciate the need + sentiment.

    When my husband and I got engaged, we, two very independent people, made an agreement that took effect upon move-in: I leave you alone once a week, you leave me alone once a week. Having "me time" can never be overrated. I hope you get your day! Cheers!

  14. EB:

    Thanks for stopping in! Great agreement you guys hammered out. My husband and I have both had jobs in the past that involved travel and neither of us do now. It makes a big difference.

    I have a sister who swears she won't marry someone who does not agree to live next door to her so she can send him home at the end of the night.

  15. Dare I admit that this morning I put my wife on a train, which took her to a plane, which took her to her girlfriend in Philadelphia for the weekend? While the boys and I stayed home? I know what you're thinking, but believe me... the house upon her return will be spotless. While she's gone... well, let's just say it's a blessing that we don't have any webcams trained on the living room or kitchen.

  16. pjd:

    Have fun! I know your wife will ;)