Most nights I open a beer or pour a glass of wine… then do the dinner, and sometimes breakfast, dishes. If I’m feeling especially adventurous I’ll take a shower. Alone. Under really hot water.
Then I often sit down to do more work. Like more and more moms, and probably dads, my partner and I work a split shift – meaning we do some of our work during what has historically been considered “normal work hours” and the rest we do at another time that is convenient for us. I work for a large nonprofit that provides a good deal of flexibility and my partner works in academia so her schedule is all over the map. We arrange our lives in such a way that we work a few hours at night so that we are able to go on the kids’ field trips during the day and coach soccer in the evenings.
We get home in time to play with our kids, make and eat dinner together, play some more and do a full bedtime routine – complete with baths, stories, cuddles and some nights tantrums, other nights more cuddles. We have a no cell/laptop rule once we’re all home until after the kids are asleep. This means we pay attention to each other and to our kids without the distractions of work emails, texts from Nana, social media or random calls. Once they are in bed, we can handle all of those.
Do I sometimes envy my friends with schedules such that once they are done for the day, they are fully done? Yes, yes I do. There are times that a set schedule where work doesn’t follow you home, or follow you after dinner, sounds blissful. But then I remember in my family, no one has to rush out the door in the morning, that we can make pediatrician appointments in the middle of the day, and that we can go to the park when it’s still light out during the winter on a weekday. And one of my very favorite perks of a split shift schedule is that my partner and I can meet during the day for “bakery dates,” just the two of us, lattes and cookies, no kids. These are our date nights.
So yes, a lot of nights you’ll find the two of us sitting next to each other (which is nice too) working on our laptops or reading until we’re ready to go to bed. But, I believe we’re all happier because we can get our work done on our own time, and terms, like this.