A Night Off

Recently, after being asked to fill-in for a missing member, Jon informed me that he was considering joining a once-a-week sand volleyball team.  This is on top of his once-a-week basketball team and his late work nights on Wednesdays, so in short–I would be playing single-parent approximately three nights a week.

Now, Old-Alaina would have thrown the book at him, i.e., equal division of labor; partner-parenting; blah, blah, blah gender role cakes.  New-Alaina?  New-Alaina barters.  She bargains.  And she gets her (almost) equal division of labor, too:  A Night Off.  She says, “Sure, fine.  You want to be gone most of the evening on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday?  All right.  I get one night off a week.”  “What are you going to do?” says Jon.  “Anything I damn well please,” she replies.  No classes.  No schedules.  Just simply a night when I am not in charge, even remotely, of the toddler (or really anything past 7 p.m.).

So, last Thursday, I went to Target all by myself.  Okay, if you don’t have kids, this is one of those moments that a) you don’t get, and b) makes you sad and stops your biological clock in its tracks.  I know.  I’m sorry.  But, if you do have kids, especially kids of a certain run-up-and-down-the-aisles, scream-in-the-cart, yell-about-not-getting-t0-chew-on-the-closed-package-of-shredded-cheese age, you feel me.  I blissfully wandered up and down the aisles, taking time to choose just the right scent of fabric softner (although, in retrospect, I’m not so crazy about the one I chose, smells different on the clothes), lingering over the cleaning products, and even picking out some children’s apparel without “someone” wanting to touch ever.y.thing.  Then, because I’m not completely lame, I popped over to Old Chicago and met my sister for some well-deserved beers.  (See, I still sort of remember how to be an actual adult and not just a MOM.)

Dearests, it was heaven.  I didn’t have to feel bad about not being at home because I’d been at home for most of the week.  And Maddie needed some Daddy-time, and to be honest, Jon needs some time on his own at home, every once in a while.  I know there are some out there, especially in this new generation of parents who are trying to figure out a balance between being everything for their children and being everything for their bosses who will say that I’m away from her enough during the day.  I get my break from 8-4, thank you very much.  I know there are those who can’t fathom that I wouldn’t be able to put up with one kid (and a decently well-behaved one at that) for a few hours every night.  To all of “those” I say, whatever.  You don’t live my life, you don’t have my kid, and if I’ve found something that makes me feel a bit more balanced and ready to take on the rest of the week, I don’t have to justify to you or anyone else.  (Sorry, some of that may be me projecting, just a bit.)

Tonight?  Well, frankly, this week has not gone at all as planned (sick kid, out one day from work, unrelated kid-visit to the doctor = more time away from work, and husband gone for most of four nights in a row), so I’m not taking my night tonight.  It would feel forced, and I don’t want to be forced to enjoy myself.  I’m going on Sunday instead.  🙂