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.
I want the marriage and the time.
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.