How many ways can I split my time?

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Categories Mommy Issues, Relationships, Toddlers

If there’s one thing all moms can agree on, it’s probably that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done.  One bit that I’ve really been struggling with recently is how to fit in all of the various permutations of “quality time.”

As a full-time stay-at-home-mom, I get more time with my two kids than I sometimes know what to do with.  I’m glad I get to be with them so much, even though it’s exhausting. But we get all kinds of time together.  And the kids are together pretty much all day every day, so no worries about them getting all the time they need.  But what about the other combinations?

First, mama needs some alone time. And while naptime is a precious commodity to me, sometimes you need a bit more freedom than that.  So, sometimes on the weekend we get to knock out a little mommy-free-time while also getting dad-alone-with-both-kids time.  Check and check.

We also spend a lot of time on the weekend doing family-of-four stuff, like going out for lunch or going swimming at the YMCA.  I really do enjoy that time, being able to do things all together.  (The improved adult:child ratio is nice, too.)

Oh, wait. That guy I married. I think we used to have fun together.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have some mom-dad solo time, too?  Crap.  Childcare is expensive. Maybe when my parents come to visit? For now, we’ve implemented a weekly movie night, which is a start, but it’s hardly a romantic date.

And then, everything I read reminds me that what the kids are really missing out on is time without the other twin. While I think this is an issue in all multi-child households, it can be especially problematic with the pair who have never known life without one another.  They each need some one-on-one time with mommy.  And daddy.  And, if we’re really lucky, they can each have some time with both parents to themselves.  I know this is one of the biggest things that we are lacking, and I know the one-on-one time is really important.  The individualized attention can reap so many benefits for everyone involved, I really want to get more of it. But how?

To recap, here’s the combinations we’re trying to squeeze into time outside of the work-week (when I’m solo with the kids all day):

  • Mommy alone time
  • Dad with both kds
  • Mom and dad without kids
  • Son with mom
  • Son with dad
  • Daughter with mom
  • Daughter with dad
  • Son with mom and dad
  • Daughter with mom and dad

In my world, I know that things are more likely to happen if they are somehow scheduled or planned into the daily and weekly routine.  So, how do you do it?  How do you get solo time with the kids, solo time for yourself, adult time with your spouse?  Do you plan it into your week (or, who are we kidding, weekend)?  Do you have some kind of rotation in place to keep things as equitable as you can?

Or am I just over-thinking all of this?

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12 thoughts on “How many ways can I split my time?”

  1. I’m going to have to check back and see what everybody else says. We have no problem with the mom+kids (SAHM) or even the dad+kids (he takes care of them for a bit when he gets home from work and one evening each week so I can get a break), but we rarely do the individual kids with one parent, or especially individual kids with both parents (never!) We are able to get out on date nights several times each month thanks to grandmas (yay!), but I suppose we could work on splitting up our twosome more than we do. Especially now that they’re past the infant stage and may really come to appreciate it. I’ll be interested to see how others do it.

  2. Yes you are overthinking it but that’s why I like you. Great minds think alike.

    Here’s what we do:

    * Morning scramble is alternated between me and Jon. Bedtime scramble is also alternated. Satisfies one parent + two kids.

    * Saturday morning is solo soccer. One parent takes kids to soccer, other parents gets alone time with NO RESTRICTIONS or honey-do list. Satisfies alone time.

    * Sunday morning is solo time with kiddos. One parent takes twin A, one parent takes twin B. We trade the following week. Satisfies one-on-one time with parents.

    * Jon travels during the week so we both get alone time. But the weeks he is here, we opt out 1-2 nights a week to NOT spend together. Sometimes it is out with friends, sometimes it is watching our own stuff in different rooms. But we both need quiet alone time to recharge.

    * We do date night once every other week. Every week is too much with the traveling and working full-time. One time a month is trading with a friend, one time a month is hiring a sitter.

    But in all of this, we do this because WE WANT to do it, not because it is on a checkbox.
    .-= LauraC´s last blog ..Yet more proof my boys are growing up =-.

  3. If they had separate rooms you could do separate bedtimes with alternating kid/parent. I know a twin recently wrote a book and was on the Today Show and stressed “individual” time, etc. (I did not see it) but I have to say that as an adult multiple I didn’t have any issue with “special time” until I was in middle school/high school and wanted some solo attention for my own activities. And then it was much easier since you didn’t have to worry about the other kids. So basically, don’t sweat it. We split the kids up some for errands on the weekends but with two working parents it just works out that we are often together as a family or trading kid duty as the need arises. Figure it this way – if you have a third this is going to be a luxury question… :)
    .-= Mommy, Esq.´s last blog ..Halloween =-.

  4. People constantly question why Hubby and I eat dinner later than our girls. Two reasons: first of all, Hubby’s schedule is so erratic that we never know when he’ll be home. Second: sometimes dinner is the only time we have to sit down together sans kiddos. It’s such a juggling act. We have date night MAYBE once a month, so it would be nice to expand that, but for now I’ll make do with what we have.
    .-= Quadmama´s last blog ..Party ‘Til You Puke =-.

  5. We both work and we have an older son. So our time is squeezed in such a way that the only time I can recall in the 28 months of our twins lives, when they have had one on one time with either parent, is during one of two trips to the ER. (wow!) Other than that we are one big crazy rowdy bunch and we just improvise as we go. The quality solo time is MOST important with our older son as we make time each and every evening for reading time, homework time and talking time with him. Thank goodness for the twins early bedtime which enables this to happen.

  6. We’ve worked our daycare situation out so that 1 of my 3 kids gets to go to nana’s every day. I think their solo time with a parent consists of going to PT or (lately) the doctor for various illnesses. We also do early bedtime for the twins, so my older son gets a lot of mommy/daddy time before bed. Hubby and I rarely get to be alone, except when we are getting ready for bed. Or when we get up at 5 a.m. The problem with using family as daycare is that no one wants to babysit on the weekends!
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..5 years ago today… =-.

  7. So glad you brought this up! My twins are about to turn 3 and this is something we have really been struggling with lately too. So nice to hear other people’s perspectives!

    I have to admit that my husband and I are not good at making time for just the two of us and we really, really need to work on that. We have strated spending more one on one time with each of the boys (I take one and he takes the other) the last few weeks and I am not sure if it has helped or hindered. They seem to be demanding even more of that than what we can give. So hoping that kind of levels out once we get into a better routine.

    Some great suggestions so far though so will check back in again. :)
    .-= Lee Anne´s last blog ..Friday at last… =-.

  8. I’ve just resigned myself to the fact that we’re never going to get it all in, at least not any time soon. As it is, my partner works on Saturday’s so we’re trying to stuff any family time (and then seeing OTHER family that lives in town) on that day.

    I DO get the kids up in the morning, provided they are awake before I leave for work, while my partner prepares the kids’ breakfast. It gives me a whoppin’ 20 minutes with both kids in the morning, combined. Sometimes, I’ll snuggle/rock one for five minutes extra before going to get the other.

    In the evenings, we have family reading time (after baths), and then separate after about 20 min to have one-on-one time kid-to-mamma, alternative kids each night.

    The kids go to sleep early, by 730p, so we have dinner together, though usually in front of the television. And I am grateful for sports because it means she is entertained by the television while I comment on blogs :)

  9. I thought hubby living in a different country was why we never saw each other, but judging by the responses above, that may not be it!

    And Liz, yes you’re over-thinking. It’s a common trait among mothers.

    In 2009, it’s just me and the kids. I work full-time. I get about 9 nights during the year to see my musicals; my husband got me season tickets. I get to take any friend I want, and we almost always go out to dinner first. The sitter costs $80 each time, so it’s hard to rationalize hiring her for other things.

    My neighbours are great about watching the kids, so from time to time I get alone time with one twin while the other spends some time with her friends. Unfortunately, it’s usually Melody who wants to come home, so Jessica gets very little Mommy time. However, Jess is more snuggly, so we sneak cuddles in the middle of the day, especially on weekends.

    I’ve recently instituted a sleepover exchange with one neighbour. Their three-year-old daughter spent the night with us, while Mom and Dad went out. Our understanding is that I can cash in my turn for a night off with about a week’s notice.

    I’m about to have a few kidless days for the first time since they came home from the hospital. My mother-in-law is going to take them halfway across the country to spend Thanksgiving with the extended family, and I’ll join them a week and a half later. Fortunately, I trust her and my FIL completely, so it works out very nicely.
    .-= Sadia´s last blog ..Overheard 25 =-.

  10. What I planned to say above was this: my husband makes a point of Skyping when the kidlets are asleep at least once a week so we can have a one-on-one conversation, plus we e-mail quick notes to each other throughout the week.
    .-= Sadia´s last blog ..We’re a NICU family =-.

  11. Our kids are 4, 3, and 3. Our focus has been on getting everyone to act as a family unit. We have always thought the one on one time would be much more important when they were older.

    Having said that, we are starting to do some one on one time. We are trying to divide it up equally but we are honoring their preferences … right now our son wants to go with dad and the girls want to be with mom. Mostly we are finding that the kids want to go places together.

    As far as spouse time together … we don’t get much of that. But we aren’t looking for that time … we are about to celebrate our 16th anniversary. We often have a conversation about if we should be doing that … and we both agree that we aren’t needing it right now. We want to be there every night to put them to bed … that time is going to pass very quickly.

    On Mother’s Day this year I read a comic strip that summed up my feelings about alone time exactly… the Dad and kids brought mom breakfast in bed and told her she had the day to herself … Dad was taking the kids for the day … the last frame was of the Mom watching them leave through the window and her thought bubble read “But I want to go with you…”

    As much as I would love alone time, I keep thinking about how fast the time is going …

  12. We’ve been successful (in part) with giving the kids one-on-one time with a parent. We have weekly “date” night Friday – my husband takes Boy A out to dinner to Boy A’s choice of a restaurant and I take Boy B out to his choice of restaurant (can’t be the same as his brother). The following week, I’m with Boy A and my husband is with Boy B. The first month or so of doing this (we started around when the boys were 2, 2 1/2) was rough – one boy really fought being separated. But now it is routine and I have to say, I really enjoy it. It is a nice way to start the weekend, my husband and I as much as the boys are learning how to have conversations with each other and it gives the boys time apart.

    The boys (they are 4 1/2 yrs old now) have separate rooms (we separated them when they transitioned out of their cribs) so we also have separate bed time routines – each night my husband will read stories to one child, while I read to the other and then we switch so that we wind up both reading to each child.

    As for date night with my husband, we try to squeeze one date night in each month when my mom comes down to visit the boys. Still working on improving this one.

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