I’m filing for a time divorce

I want a time divorce.

I have a few friends who have separated from or divorced their partners after having kids, and from my vantage point, this is the biggest difference between their lives and mine: they have scheduled time alone. Sometimes 2 or 3 days in a row. While the kids are with their partner, they go dancing. They stay out late. They hang out at home and sit in their quiet, empty houses.

And I know it’s not all shiny triumphant alone time. I’ve listened to their heart ache and debilitating sadness and anger and disappointment. And when their kids are around, they’re the one on the hook. Solo. But they have more kid-free-time than I do.
Scheduled kid-free-time.

I want the marriage and the time.

Relaxed Foot
I want this to be my relaxed foot.
Photo by ShaneTeee

I had this eureka over lunch with a friend, while we tried to corral Cal and eat dim sum. She explained the revelation of unstructured time without kids.

Unstructured. Time. Without. Kids.

If you’ve been at this for a while, the mere thought of that might just blow your skull.

So I just called AJ and requested a time divorce. Why the hell can’t we schedule time during the week when one or the other of us is off?! Just clocked out. Not because we have a class or a plan or a thing we need to do. Just because we both need time when there’s nothing to do but what we want just then. We could alternate so that every other Wednesday night is ours to do whatever the eff we want. Or one Sunday a month. Or both!

Sure, there have been plenty of times in the last 5 years when AJ or I have gotten away for a few hours, a day, a whole string of nights even.

But every time, it’s a full-on negotiation. You have to ask, consider the delicate balance of getting both parents’ needs sort-of met, coordinate your schedule with your friends or the dance class and make sure it works for your partner and various feeding/napping schedules. Not to mention transportation if you happen to only have one car. Which we do. It can be a real palava.

This is why the time divorce is genius.

It’s pre-scheduled. No need to scramble or quibble or squabble. No need to “go to yoga class” and instead drive a revelatory 2 blocks to the park by your house where you feel emancipated and strange. And then you just sit in the grass in your yoga pants talking to friends on the phone for the next hour because you can.

You see, under the agreement set forth in ye olde time divorce, sitting in the park in your yoga pants talking on the phone is allowed–encouraged even!

Imagine yourself frolicking in an open field of unstructured time that is scheduled into your week.

Now, wipe the drool from your chin. And go file for a time divorce.

8 thoughts on “I’m filing for a time divorce

  1. Yes! I was just having lunch with a newly divorced friend and we were talking about how beneficial it is to have that adult time to do grown up things or better yet, nothing at all. Love that once it’s set up, it’s non-negotiable and I’m thinking, stress free.

    1. That is my hope. Truth be told, I started writing this post weeks ago and we still haven’t set up the schedule, even though AJ granted my time divorce. Posting this sucker has gotten me motivated again. We’re gonna whip out the calendar tonight…

  2. Yes, we kinda do this. Although I give more time. But Greg never quibbles when I take time. In fact he always says, “good.” Which of course is awesome.

    I think this works for us because we work three days a week. And have almost the rest of the time as family time (well sort of….I do have the kids every morning :).

    And yet we are both still way overwhelmed. Just no pleasing us. 😉

    1. Yes, I too suffer from this anxiety of how to make the most of child-free time. While understandable, its also pretty silly. We need more practice puttering slowly and relaxing, don’t we?

  3. I only have one kid, but I do feel that B and I have been pretty sane about it all. I have a lot of activities and things I do on my own, and he does too. Some are scheduled in advance, but often we just say to each other “Can I go out tonight?” or “Hey I’m gonna need some time this weekend” and then just try to be gracious, say sure, and avoid the palava (great word). So far, so good. My other trick? “Working from home” while L. is at school. Ahem.

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