Author Topic: How to approach marriage time equity conversation  (Read 8423 times)

researcher1

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #50 on: January 08, 2020, 11:12:12 AM »
u said they weren't a "family," and you have questioned their commitment to being together.  That is insulting and hurtful -- and very likely particularly insulting to two gay dads who for most of their lives didn't even have the legal right to marry and be a family, and who probably to this day hear snide, underhanded, plausible-deniability comments suggesting that they aren't a real "family" even now. 

So would my comments be acceptable if this were a male/female relationship, but not for a same sex partnership?
Why should it matter what sex they are?  Shouldn't advice be similar for all types of families?
Or should we suppress or sugarcoat our responses depending on what type of family it is?

The facts are that the OP made zero mention of spending time as a family in the first post.
When someone asked about that, the response was..."I'm willing to give up the "doing things together" time on a regular basis for now."

Is that how you would describe a family?
Would you suggest this is how a healthy family should operate (spending zero time together)?

I fail to understand how this is even a controversial opinion.

Kris

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #51 on: January 08, 2020, 11:17:03 AM »
u said they weren't a "family," and you have questioned their commitment to being together.  That is insulting and hurtful -- and very likely particularly insulting to two gay dads who for most of their lives didn't even have the legal right to marry and be a family, and who probably to this day hear snide, underhanded, plausible-deniability comments suggesting that they aren't a real "family" even now. 

So would my comments be acceptable if this were a male/female relationship, but not for a same sex partnership?
Why should it matter what sex they are?  Shouldn't advice be similar for all types of families?
Or should we suppress or sugarcoat our responses depending on what type of family it is?

The facts are that the OP made zero mention of spending time as a family in the first post.
When someone asked about that, the response was..."I'm willing to give up the "doing things together" time on a regular basis for now."

Is that how you would describe a family?
Would you suggest this is how a healthy family should operate (spending zero time together)?

I fail to understand how this is even a controversial opinion.

Wow, researcher1. Gross.

I would strongly suggest the tone and hostility/aggression you've repeatedly displayed in your posts here say a lot more about you than about the OP.

Laura33

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #52 on: January 08, 2020, 11:29:23 AM »
u said they weren't a "family," and you have questioned their commitment to being together.  That is insulting and hurtful -- and very likely particularly insulting to two gay dads who for most of their lives didn't even have the legal right to marry and be a family, and who probably to this day hear snide, underhanded, plausible-deniability comments suggesting that they aren't a real "family" even now. 

So would my comments be acceptable if this were a male/female relationship, but not for a same sex partnership?
Why should it matter what sex they are?  Shouldn't advice be similar for all types of families?
Or should we suppress or sugarcoat our responses depending on what type of family it is?

Well, if you actually want to help someone, you usually try to say things in a way that they can hear.  And usually, when you start off insulting people, that forces them to become defensive, which then forces them to double down to defend their own position, and so as a result makes them less likely to hear what you're trying to say.  If you actually thought about the OP's situation, you'd realize that having and being a family is a big fucking deal for gay people, and that maybe starting with the insinuation that they are not really a family is hurtful and counterproductive.

It's not about gay/straight in particular.  It's not about sugarcoating (Lord knows I'm direct).  It's about trying hard not to gratuitously insult people under the guise of "helping" -- about taking that extra minute or two to think about how you say things.   

researcher1

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #53 on: January 08, 2020, 11:38:30 AM »
As usual, @Laura33 saw into the emotional reality, beyond what I was able or willing to say here/admit to myself...
I can assure you, with 100% certainty, that your family makeup has absolutely nothing to do with the comments made here.

You yourself said my perspective was helpful.  And that perspective is...
It is NOT a healthy family dynamic to cut out all time spent as a family, which is what you initially suggested...
"I'm willing to give up the "doing things together" time on a regular basis for now."

That is not, and should not, be a controversial position!!!

Here is my point...
Your main issue is that you've been feeling like you're drowning in solo time caring for kids.
The solution is for your partner to step up and help out more AS A FAMILY, not retreat to your separate corners to maximize personal alone time.

A big problem is your partner's atypical work schedule AND his desire for so much personal alone time. 
Given his 12-hour shift schedule, you are effectively operating as a single parent for much of the week, instead of as a team (dare I say family).
This is compounded by the fact that your partner "requires" so much time pursuing personal activities (bowling, working out, ect).

If he were around more, it would both lessen your stress/burden dealing with the kids and allow for more time spent as a family unit.
This would hopefully kill 2 birds with 1 stone, as you wouldn't feel the need to trade what little family time you currently have for more personal alone time.

It may be worth it for him to find a job with a more traditional 9-5 schedule.
At the very least, he should be working out at time that don't impact family time (before kids wake up, after they go to bed, ect).


researcher1

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #54 on: January 08, 2020, 11:59:59 AM »
Well, if you actually want to help someone, you usually try to say things in a way that they can hear.  And usually, when you start off insulting people, that forces them to become defensive, which then forces them to double down to defend their own position.

Again, I don't see how anything I've said has been controversial in any way.  Here are some of the OP's comments I used to form my thoughts...
"I'm willing to give up the "doing things together" time on a regular basis for now.
So I'm going to schedule my weekends as packed with outside activities as I want them.
So we are starting with my proposed schedule (which has almost equal hours of solo kid time and kid-free time, at least in the way I am counting things)"


The OP is effectively operating as a single parent much of the time (due to partner's work schedule and personal activities).
There is zero discussion of time spent as a family.

This does not sound like a cohesive family atmosphere, and spending even LESS time as a family doesn't seem to be the answer.
Do you find this to be an unreasonable perspective???

I guess I could have couched my thoughts with lots of superfluous fluff in an effort to avoid offending anyone.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2020, 12:03:48 PM by researcher1 »

historienne

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #55 on: January 08, 2020, 12:10:35 PM »
A few thoughts thoughts:

First, my husband and I do MUCH more beancounting than you are describing here, and we are extremely happily married.  I think you're actually doing great in balancing the realities of the inequality that's playing out right now with a recognition that the goal is to get to a balance that works for you, not some exactly equal division of time.

Second, since you are doing more of the childcare, maybe he just needs to use his non-working days to do more of the housework so that you can have a few hours to putter around after the kids are in bed.  I tend to think that it's good for our family dynamics to have equality in childcare, separately from the issue of overall household labor--i.e., we try not to get into a pattern where one person does all of the childcare and the other person makes up for it by doing all of the housework, because we both want to have time to nurture our relationship with our kids.  But sometimes it can't be helped, and if you're burnt out, you don't want the perfect to be the enemy of the good.  It sounds like he's already doing bedtime at least two days/week, which is good - that might also be a time when, instead of being out of the house, you might try to come home a bit earlier and spend the time doing your projects.

Third, is there any chance that the family who is willing to babysit would be willing to host a sleepover at their house, at least occasionally?  My parents actually love having my kids sleep over at their house, and it's a great adventure for my kids.  We generally use the time to have a luxurious morning of sleeping in, but you could get up and do some DIY or cooking then.  If you're family's not genuinely enthusiastic about it, then it's obviously not something to push--but I know that in my case, it's a win-win. 

Alternatively, maybe you could alternate getting family to watch kids for a date night, and having them keep the kids for an afternoon where each of you do solo projects.  Both are important.  And if you start using a gym with childcare, it sounds like you might be able to get some weekend time together while you exercise.  My husband and I will take our kids to the Y and exercise separately, but then sit in the sauna together for a half hour or so before we pick the kids back up.  It's not a ton of time, but it's time when we are out of the house and relaxing, which is hugely valuable to maintaining our connection.

Finally, I do think it's worth being realistic about the amount of "free time" that's available in life with young kids.  Y'all are actually both getting more kid-free time than my husband and I do.  Some of that is by our choice; we prioritize family time on the weekends more than y'all do.  That's not a better choice, just a different one, that works for our family and our needs.  If y'all need more solo time, then you should absolutely prioritize that.  But I think we'd have trouble building in as much solo time as y'all have right now (21+ hours minimum between the two of you) while still doing the basics required to keep our life together (cook, clean, pay bills, do repairs, etc).  If we did, it would come at the expense of basically all our family time and couple time.   Again, if you can make it work because you have family support, using gym childcare, etc, that's great.  But part of this equation might have to involve your husband admitting that the amount of time he expects to get is just not realistic. 

Gay Burqueño Dad

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #56 on: January 08, 2020, 12:18:59 PM »
I can assure you, with 100% certainty, that your family makeup has absolutely nothing to do with the comments made here.

That's great, thanks for clarifying. Please do work on your tone & empathy, I think that would improve your ability to help on these forums a lot.

The solution is for your partner to step up and help out more AS A FAMILY, not retreat to your separate corners to maximize personal alone time.

A big problem is your partner's atypical work schedule AND his desire for so much personal alone time. 
Given his 12-hour shift schedule, you are effectively operating as a single parent for much of the week, instead of as a team (dare I say family).
This is compounded by the fact that your partner "requires" so much time pursuing personal activities (bowling, working out, ect).

If he were around more, it would both lessen your stress/burden dealing with the kids and allow for more time spent as a family unit.
This would hopefully kill 2 birds with 1 stone, as you wouldn't feel the need to trade what little family time you currently have for more personal alone time.

It may be worth it for him to find a job with a more traditional 9-5 schedule.
At the very least, he should be working out at time that don't impact family time (before kids wake up, after they go to bed, ect).


These are reasonable thoughts. I will note:
1) Not everyone has access to traditional 9-5 employment that they find tolerable and that pays them enough. My husband is not highly educated ("some college") and works in healthcare. Believe me, I'd love to have him working 9-5 but for now that's not happening. Yes, he could work in outpatient clinic care 5 days/week 9-5, but it pays far less per hour and he enjoys having more days off. I do have it on my mind to try to cut our expenses/grow my income to the point that a part-time clinic role was a good option for him, but it's not a good option right now.

2) I think it's reasonable for my husband to work out without children (gym), and for him to need a social outlet without children (bowling). Unfortunately, it would be really hard for him to find a good social outlet on his days off. Stay-at-home parent circles generally have kids around (not our favorite right now), and retirees are much older than us. It certainly could happen (find a stay at home parent with all their kids in school/childcare with time/chemistry?), but it would take a good bit of effort on his part.

3) I actually think we'll find a good balance while preserving his gym time and bowling time. Aside from getting me some self-care time on weekdays, and getting a gym with childcare, I think a third key to it will be off-loading me of some non-kid responsibilities too. Whether those go to my husband on his days off or to paid services, I don't know. But if the shopping & other stuff wasn't weighing on me so much, I think it would make a difference. I could get home for dinner every weekday that he works rather than often shoehorning a grocery or library trip in after work. Just feeling that I have a lighter load of non-childcare tasks in exchange for a heavier load of childcare would help me be happier doing whatever we end up doing together on the weekend rather than getting some task done or getting in some piece of self-care.

4) I think you're fixating on a statement about giving up our "doing stuff together" time that I made while in crisis (and later clarified as "Weekend Outing" time) & brainstorming potential solutions. I don't feel trapped in the old way of being anymore, and that's not something I'm thinking about anymore. But even if I were - I'd like to point out that there are plenty of healthy marriages and families where people don't go on Weekend Outings. Maybe a spouse or child is disabled and it's just too hard. Maybe they're homebodies. Whatever. The interstitial times together, wandering around the neighborhood, and lazy evenings at home can bond a family just fine if that works for that family.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2020, 12:26:15 PM by Gay Burqueño Dad »

Goldielocks

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #57 on: January 08, 2020, 12:38:03 PM »
4) I think you're fixating on a statement about giving up our "doing stuff together" time that I made while in crisis (and later clarified as "Weekend Outing" time) & brainstorming potential solutions. I don't feel trapped in the old way of being anymore, and that's not something I'm thinking about anymore. But even if I were - I'd like to point out that there are plenty of healthy marriages and families where people don't go on Weekend Outings. Maybe a spouse or child is disabled and it's just too hard. Maybe they're homebodies. Whatever. The interstitial times together, wandering around the neighborhood, and lazy evenings at home can bond a family just fine if that works for that family.

Ha.  Not just that.   As your kids get a bit older you will be amazed when you realize how many parents are driving kids to every known activity under the sun (sports is a big one, but also dance, chinese lessons, music) on the weekends and evenings and if they have two kids, are doing it separately and have zero time together... a whole lot less time together than you do now yet society holds them up to be pillars of parenting.   

Laura33

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #58 on: January 08, 2020, 12:39:32 PM »
Again, I don't see how anything I've said has been controversial in any way. 

. . . .

I guess I could have couched my thoughts with lots of superfluous fluff in an effort to avoid offending anyone.

Well, you've had specific examples pointed out to you directly, with a clear explanation of why they are offensive.  So I have to assume that you understand that telling a gay couple they are not a family can be seen as hurtful and offensive given the social history involved; you just reject the idea that your comments were offensive, because you didn't mean it that way.  But you don't get to determine what other people find offensive.  So, again, if you want to help people, think about things from their perspective for a minute and try to avoid offending them, either gratuitously or unintentionally.

And it's not about superfluous fluff.  I thought your 11:38 comment was right on point and helpful, without being at all fluffy or insincere.  There is a difference between "direct" and "obnoxious."

Gay Burqueño Dad

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #59 on: January 08, 2020, 12:42:13 PM »


Yes, both of us having the amount of kid-free time my husband currently has is not realistic/desirable. I laid out a schedule like that to him mostly to dramatize the huge privilege he has in having childcare on days off 2 days/week and THEN getting weekend gym/bowling on top of it. We're of course not following said schedule, and it's in the direction of more family time.

However in general - I think we put a relatively high emphasis on avoiding experiences we find to be painful with our kids right now (e.g. grocery shopping, hiking for my husband). So, a good bit of the "kid-free time" is spent on "cook, clean, pay bills, do repairs" type things. Out parenting experience so far has been an unusually wild ride so there may be some excessive guarding in there that we should watch and see how it develops. E.g. maybe in 6 months or more we can establish discipline to the extent that grocery shopping with kids is NBD, which would give the kids the benefit of some wholesome fun/education while shopping.

At the same time, I'm very glad that we don't place excessive emphasis on family time. E.g. I see families all together in the grocery store with the kids wild and both parents distracted/annoyed and say, "Jeez, if this is a regular thing, that seems like probably a bad decision to me, can't one parent just run out to the grocery store alone?"
« Last Edit: January 08, 2020, 12:44:18 PM by Gay Burqueño Dad »

historienne

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #60 on: January 08, 2020, 12:53:17 PM »
However in general - I think we put a relatively high emphasis on avoiding experiences we find to be painful with our kids right now (e.g. grocery shopping, hiking for my husband). So, a good bit of the "kid-free time" is spent on "cook, clean, pay bills, do repairs" type things. Out parenting experience so far has been an unusually wild ride so there may be some excessive guarding in there that we should watch and see how it develops. E.g. maybe in 6 months or more we can establish discipline to the extent that grocery shopping with kids is NBD, which would give the kids the benefit of some wholesome fun/education while shopping.

Two words: grocery delivery.  I have taken my kids grocery shopping maybe 10 times in 7 years, so I hear you.  It's not fun for any of us.  But it's totally feasible to check my cupboards and put in an online order while my kids are playing in the next room.

For the rest of it - if that's the kind of stuff you need kidfree time for, your husband should be able to do 75% of it on his days off.  Even if he goes to the gym those days!  He can't do all of the cooking then, but he can meal prep so that it's easy to throw dinner together on the other weeknights.   He could cook soups, stews, lasagnes, curries, etc. in advance so that they just need to be reheated.  I know you like cooking, but the daily grind of putting dinner on the table is a lot of work; if you are doing that and a disproportionate amount of the childcare, it's going to be very very hard to balance things out.  Maybe you cook one "fun" meal/week, and he throws together simpler stuff the rest of the time?

researcher1

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #61 on: January 08, 2020, 01:00:27 PM »
These are reasonable thoughts. I will note:
1) Not everyone has access to traditional 9-5 employment that they find tolerable and that pays them enough.

2) I think it's reasonable for my husband to work out without children (gym), and for him to need a social outlet without children (bowling).

3) I actually think we'll find a good balance while preserving his gym time and bowling time.

4) I think you're fixating on a statement about giving up our "doing stuff together" time that I made while in crisis (and later clarified as "Weekend Outing" time)

1 - That makes perfect sense, and why I said it "MAY" make sense for him to have a more conventional work schedule.
Everything in life is a trade-off.  If it would make your quality of life substantially better (which it may not), it might be worth the reduced income.

2 - I agree with you, but not at the detriment to your mental well-being.  He's already enjoying substantially less family responsibilities due to his work schedule.  It doesn't seem fair for you to bear the additional burden of him being gone for an additional 10+ hours/week for personal social time.

3 - I mostly agree with this. But why does he have to work out while you are dealing with the kids.  At age 4/5, they probably go to bed around 8pm and wake up around 7am.  Why can't he go to the gym after they go to bed, or before they get up?

4 - I'm not trying to fixate on that point.  But it was the ONLY comment you offered about family time, and was the comment I reacted to with received such negative responses.

Lastly, I want to point out something important you mentioned...
"Just feeling that I have a lighter load of non-childcare tasks in exchange for a heavier load of childcare would help me be happier doing whatever we end up doing together on the weekend rather than getting some task done or getting in some piece of self-care."

This is EXACTLY what I was trying to get across with my previous posts. 
You were taking on an unfair share of child rearing, and to some extent operating as a single parent.
Instead of attempting to fix this imbalance by maximizing personal alone time, he should team-up and help out more, so that you could spend quality time TOGETHER as a family.

ABC123

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #62 on: January 08, 2020, 01:09:17 PM »
I don't have any great wisdom for you, just want to let you know I feel your pain.  My kids are 11, 9, and 3.  And my husband is more than willing for me to take on as much as I am willing to do. He is never going to volunteer to do anything around the house, I have to specifically ask him to do something.  I manage everything, I make all the major decisions, I do the majority of the kid work.  It is stressful.  And I have just recently come to the realization that I am done with it.  I never thought I would ever think about divorce, but it is almost to that point.  I have tried to talk to my husband, and he pretty much brushes me off.  So that said - I think it is great that you are talking to him about this, and that you are aware of what you need.  I hope you are able to come to an agreement that gets both of you the family time and the along time that you need to thrive.

Gay Burqueño Dad

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #63 on: January 10, 2020, 01:32:31 PM »
@ABC123 - I'm so sorry to hear that you're facing the same thing, but with an uncooperative husband. That's BS.

Update - after interruptions for work, sickness, and emotional processing, I've finally gotten an hour to actually talk about this with my husband. He recognized that I was doing too much and was burnt out. He also felt that I wasn't adequately valuing what he was doing (laying with / fending off our "spirited" 4 year old for up to an hour after the 5 year old is asleep; doing most of the night-time wake-ups; voluntarily picking the kids up early so they didn't have to spend so much time in childcare). He also felt like I resented him having the job that he does, and felt that wasn't fair because he doesn't have good other choices that we know of right now.

He still claims his depression is getting better and that he feels he can take on more than he was doing. I didn't really press on that - didn't have time and haven't strategized with a therapist yet.

So... I didn't even bring up the topic of invisible labor and whatever. We're going to have weekly+ lunch "business" talks going forward (in addition to "fun" dates) and I think this is going to be a whole process with many discussions. But I did lay out kind of a "compromise" schedule plan that gets me the minimum that I feel I need while maximizing family time. He's clearly happier with that; he felt like this week I was a little "absent." Honestly I feel that this was a very good opening discussion given who we are.

He wants a week to have a chance to check out the gym with childcare and see if he likes it. (Going to the gym before the kids wake up is too early and going after they go to bed keeps him up at night). He feels like it's a little silly to pay extra for a gym with childcare when he's already picking the kids up early 2 days/wk. to get them *out* of childcare hours that we pay for. In one sense I agree... but I pointed out that when he goes to the gym sans childcare on weekends it uses *my* time to care for the kids, and I'm the one who's burnt out. We shall see what happens with that.

Overall, the minimum I feel I need is to have the ability to exercise an hour or two on one weekend day, plus about an hour every weekday morning (I greatly changed the morning routine, and successfully got the kids out of the house half an hour after they woke up, so that it's a possibility on the days my husband works. I got a short but intense weight circuit workout in on Wednesday so it IS possible). To enable that, I asked that my husband to do bedtime (post-books) solo on at least the days he doesn't work. That will let me prep those nights so the mornings can be quick & I can exercise.

I also feel I need a social outlet but hiking is not a very time efficient way to do that. I'm interested to see if setting up play/talk dates on weekends can get me the social outlet I need while being also something akin to family time.

So more or less we are gonna try for now -
Me: 18 solo parent hours, 11 kid-free hours (some of which are getting ready for bed/sleeping before the 4-year-old finally goes to sleep)
Husband: 15 solo parent hours, 21 kid-free hours
Family time: 22 hours (a small increase from the former status quo, but improvement in quality is really what's important)
Kids in childcare: 42 hours
« Last Edit: January 10, 2020, 01:56:22 PM by Gay Burqueño Dad »

Goldielocks

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #64 on: January 11, 2020, 10:31:01 PM »
Group hiking with kids is also excellent social adult quality time.  Better than most activities where kids are involved, anyway. The spirited 4 year old sounds like they would have alot of energy and 5 yrs is a good age to hike shorter distances.   

Do you have any friends with kids to try a 3mile walk / hike with?

englishteacheralex

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #65 on: January 12, 2020, 12:26:16 AM »
I have little to add except that this thread is interesting and relevant to me, since I have a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old and my husband and I both work full time.

I don't spend a lot of time resenting my husband over the time equity thing. For one, he's really good about doing stuff. For another...I don't know...I'm not that great of a person, but for some reason I can't be bothered to get super wrapped up in who's doing what. It might be conflict avoidance, really. I think when I get pretty bogged down in the craziness of the time poverty we find ourselves in so often, I mostly just think--you know, this is all going to be over pretty soon. The kids being so needy; this stage isn't going to last forever. A couple of years will pass in a blink of an eye and before I know it--poof, suddenly I'll be able to read a book while the kids bathe themselves. For some reason, that thought seems to help me a lot. I was single for a long time and I just figure in a couple of years I'll be in command of my time again and probably (due to human nature) look back at this time as a wonderful though extremely stressful time and I'll realize that it was a small percentage of my overall life. And that it was really, really special in its own way, so maybe it was ok that I was 10 lbs overweight the whole time and my gray roots were showing a lot because I couldn't get to the salon. Both my husband and I exercise and eat pretty well, so it's not a total disaster or like we're neglecting our appearance and health. It's just not what it was before kids.

I can only offer a couple of things where I differ from you guys:

1. We generally don't pick the kids up from daycare early. My husband goes in to the gym before work, while I do drop-off. And then I get home and work out for an hour/start dinner/tidy up around the house and he does pick-up when he gets off. I could get the kids when I got off work, which would be about 1.5 hours before he gets them, but I'd be doing housework with them at home, and we all know how effective that is. And I wouldn't be able to exercise. So my feeling is look, we pay a lot of money for daycare, we might as well use it.

2. My husband had a twice a week social commitment after work for about six months at one point (so the equivalent to the bowling) when we only had one kid. I hated it. It pissed me off. I couldn't be gracious about it. We didn't have room in our schedule for it. Still don't. Because my husband is awesome, he sensed that things were getting out of hand and axed the social commitment. What I'm trying to imply here is...how truly necessary is this bowling stuff? Because...it seems a bit much to me.

3. My five year old has been getting himself ready since he was 4. I made him a checklist and incentivized it. He now bathes himself and gets himself ready entirely on his own. I don't enforce two minutes of teeth-brushing. In fact, two minutes of teeth-brushing is a habit I only started personally about a year ago (before I always did about 30 seconds). I get my 3 year old up, dress her, brush her hair and teeth, and get her out the door in about fifteen minutes while her brother colors at the table (if he was able to get himself ready in time). I'll be training her to get ready on her own next school year. Not all kids are capable of this, so...maybe that wasn't a helpful comment. Probably not. I hate it when people tell me all about how great their kids are. Mine are insane and suck at the playground. You would judge them if you saw them. But the oldest one gets himself ready pretty well. So hey, good for me.

I'm appreciating all the answers from everyone who's in the trenches with littles. Chin up! Also you have a great attitude. Also the researcher guy came on too strong. But he seems to have reformed a bit. Hey, meta-comment on the thread itself. Personally, I wouldn't have bothered with that guy. Too confrontational for me. "Someone is wrong on the internet!" Blech.

Omy

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #66 on: January 12, 2020, 07:41:40 AM »
My sister is divorcing her husband over this exact thing. She has always felt like a single mom and did all of the cooking and most of the household chores. She has always had the more stressful, bread-winning job (and their jobs were offset enough that they didn't have a lot of quality family or couple time). So it's important that you address this early and often.

She blames her husband for not wanting to participate and not volunteering to help out, but she bears some responsibility for not letting him know what she needed from him - and for not giving up control and letting him take care of activities that she felt he wouldn't do as well as she would.

ender

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #67 on: January 12, 2020, 10:30:12 AM »
This is long but a really good description of the men/women household chore divide - https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/26/gender-wars-household-chores-comic


Sandi_k

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #68 on: January 12, 2020, 04:43:48 PM »
This is long but a really good description of the men/women household chore divide - https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/26/gender-wars-household-chores-comic

Dude, this is a same-sex partnership. Irony much? ;)

ender

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #69 on: January 12, 2020, 05:47:19 PM »
This is long but a really good description of the men/women household chore divide - https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/26/gender-wars-household-chores-comic

Dude, this is a same-sex partnership. Irony much? ;)

Considering the last few posts specifically address husband/wife relationships where this is a problem...

My sister is divorcing her husband over this exact thing.

I have little to add except that this thread is interesting and relevant to me, since I have a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old and my husband and I both work full time.

@ABC123 - I'm so sorry to hear that you're facing the same thing, but with an uncooperative husband. That's BS.

Regardless of gender, the same principle in that article also applies to the OP, if you read it.

Gay Burqueño Dad

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #70 on: January 13, 2020, 11:03:43 AM »
Do you have any friends with kids to try a 3mile walk / hike with?

I'm working on it. I started a weekly nature playgroup which is more like a 0.5 mile RT hike with playing in the middle. The kids love that but any longer hiking that I've scheduled *without* kid-friends has been a non-starter for the kids so far. I'm hoping that longer hiking will happen once we have kid-friends along but I haven't gotten a chance to schedule much hiking with kid-friends.

Unfortunately, the spirited 4-year-old still asks to be picked up a LOT when hiking. She has asthma which may be part of it. I'm hoping hiking with kid-friends will help. I also made up a "grownup hide-and-seek" game where one grownup goes up ahead and hides (after leaving a jacket or backpack on the trail to signal where to look) in order to motivate walking in the right direction. That has been effective so far.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2020, 11:20:36 AM by Gay Burqueño Dad »

Trifele

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #71 on: January 14, 2020, 04:16:55 AM »
Do you have any friends with kids to try a 3mile walk / hike with?

I'm working on it.

Random thought OP, but maybe you could try letterboxing?  My kids loved that when they were the age your kids are, and it was a great way to get them outside hiking.  It's like geocaching with no equipment -- just a "treasure map." 

https://www.letterboxing.org/ search for "Albuquerque."  And there are other clubs as well.  Do preview the instructions.  You want to pick a box that looks "active" to increase your chances of finding the box, and that has simple directions.  There's usually a little book inside the box where your kids can write their names or stamp.  (Our kids loved the stamping part.  They brought their own stamp and ink pads along.)

I think you're doing great @Gay Burqueño Dad -- your husband and kids are lucky to have you. 

 

mm1970

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #72 on: January 14, 2020, 12:47:35 PM »
Do you have any friends with kids to try a 3mile walk / hike with?

I'm working on it. I started a weekly nature playgroup which is more like a 0.5 mile RT hike with playing in the middle. The kids love that but any longer hiking that I've scheduled *without* kid-friends has been a non-starter for the kids so far. I'm hoping that longer hiking will happen once we have kid-friends along but I haven't gotten a chance to schedule much hiking with kid-friends.

Unfortunately, the spirited 4-year-old still asks to be picked up a LOT when hiking. She has asthma which may be part of it. I'm hoping hiking with kid-friends will help. I also made up a "grownup hide-and-seek" game where one grownup goes up ahead and hides (after leaving a jacket or backpack on the trail to signal where to look) in order to motivate walking in the right direction. That has been effective so far.
Yeah, so my kids are 7 and 13.  For the last 2-3 years, I've scheduled my workouts religiously.  Bonus: I get good hard workouts.  Bad: I do not get to "work out" with my kids.  To be honest, at your kids' ages it's "family time", not exercise.

We are now at the point where we can easily do hikes with the kids, so this year that's going to be more of a goal.  Fewer long weekend runs for me, more family hikes.  We can also bike ride with the teen, but he's a bit too slow (he has a mountain bike, we have hybrids with slicks).

I think you have a few years at least before you can combine family time and exercise time.

Goldielocks

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #73 on: January 15, 2020, 12:08:18 PM »
Do you have any friends with kids to try a 3mile walk / hike with?

I'm working on it. I started a weekly nature playgroup which is more like a 0.5 mile RT hike with playing in the middle. The kids love that but any longer hiking that I've scheduled *without* kid-friends has been a non-starter for the kids so far. I'm hoping that longer hiking will happen once we have kid-friends along but I haven't gotten a chance to schedule much hiking with kid-friends.

Unfortunately, the spirited 4-year-old still asks to be picked up a LOT when hiking. She has asthma which may be part of it. I'm hoping hiking with kid-friends will help. I also made up a "grownup hide-and-seek" game where one grownup goes up ahead and hides (after leaving a jacket or backpack on the trail to signal where to look) in order to motivate walking in the right direction. That has been effective so far.
I have good news - you are very close, time wise, to having a family hiking activity being a fun and regular thing. 

Your thought about other friends with kids is spot on... and playing in the middle of it.   One thing we did, we gave our 4 year old a kick scooter when we had access to paved trails, as a start, then the occassional weekend true hike was a lot easier because they were used to the idea of walking for the sake of walking.

researcher1

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #74 on: January 24, 2020, 12:45:08 PM »
Also the researcher guy came on too strong. But he seems to have reformed a bit. Hey, meta-comment on the thread itself. Personally, I wouldn't have bothered with that guy. Too confrontational for me. "Someone is wrong on the internet!" Blech.

I have a lot of haters here, but my comments/advice have turned out to be 100% spot-on, and have been vindicated by the OP's subsequent posts.

Here are a few of the OP's comments in particular...
- But I did lay out kind of a "compromise" schedule plan that gets me the minimum that I feel I need while maximizing family time.
- I pointed out that when he goes to the gym sans childcare on weekends it uses *my* time to care for the kids, and I'm the one who's burnt out.
- I asked that my husband to do bedtime (post-books) solo on at least the days he doesn't work. That will let me prep those nights so the mornings can be quick & I can exercise.


This is all stuff that I pointed out as issues to address.  The answer to burn-out wasn't retreating to more alone time. 
It was getting his partner to help out/pitch in more as a family, working together to share the load and minimize the stress on the OP.

It appears the OP deleted a recent post that even more strongly validated my comments.
I won't go into what he said (as I assume he deleted it for a reason), but it proved that what I said was right all along.

I wasn't trying to be confrontational.  Just calling it as any rational person should have seen it.  I'm glad it seems to be helping the OP.

halftimeprof

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #75 on: January 28, 2020, 07:49:36 PM »
Lots of dismissals of "bean counting" in the responses to this post.  Count me as a happily-married (almost 40 years) bean counter.  I attribute a rigorous attention to balancing/alternating household chores early in our relationship (and later to balancing childcare) for habits that are now automatic and have served us well over a lifetime.

Gay Burqueño Dad

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #76 on: February 10, 2020, 04:29:38 PM »
OK, update time!

We are doing better. A long January of illness was an obstacle to really getting into any kind of new groove, but we're mostly there now.

1) I'm getting therapy. I definitely don't want to sink into my own depression.
2) I've revamped mornings on the days my husband works. We ALWAYS change kids into the next day's clothes the night before, and pack my lunch and the kid's lunch that is brought (my husband doing the majority of parenting the night before helps free me up to do this). Now mornings when my husband works are faster and fine. So I get to work earlier, and can get off work and pick the kids up earlier, and then they're not meltdown hungry children at pickup.
3) Currently, we are usually heading over to my family's (walking distance from our house) for dinner on nights when my husband works. But my plan for when/if that ends slash breaks in that is to up my sandwich game and pack the kids awesome and varied sandwiches for dinner that they can have on the way home. Yeah, yeah, family dinner, whatever. This will probably be in the summer, and we'll go to the pool across the street instead, and it will be awesome family bonding time of its own kind. (Lunch for the kid who brings lunch is essentially never a sandwich. We rock the little thermoses of hot food).
4) I'm (sometimes) getting up ideally before the kids and leaving and going the rock gym and/or yoga in the mornings when my husband doesn't work.
5) Husband got a gym with childcare. The only weekend time is Saturday mornings, but that's enough (and the most that I could find offered in our area). So I get exercise time on Saturday mornings. Woot.
6) Sunday evenings are now dubbed "movie nite" - I prep for the week while the kids watch some amount of TV/movie.
7) I leave for a long walk / talking to friends / something on Sunday afternoons so I'm in a good-ish mood come Sunday evenings.
8) I've been asking my husband to shop on his days off. Also, I rocked the Walmart Grocery pickup service yesterday.
9) Lunch dates (or just walks when the weather's nice) on at least one of my husband's days off per week. We need maintenance/logistics discussion time and we are just too tired (or I am literally sleeping) in the evenings.
10) Often a weekend date.

We definitely fought about the time issue at first. I was in such a bad mental state that I couldn't present it in the most effective/compassionate way. But we've worked through that and are happy with each other and at a more equitable division of labor now. We don't feel the need to hire any additional help right now, but it's quite possible that when my aunts are away for their lengthy summer vacation, we will hire some.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2020, 04:34:12 PM by Gay Burqueño Dad »

Laura33

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #77 on: February 10, 2020, 08:49:00 PM »
So I get to work earlier, and can get off work and pick the kids up earlier, and then they're not meltdown hungry children at pickup.

Isn't it amazing how much life improves simply by the absence of routine meltdowns?  And yes:  lowering expectations for things like home-cooked dinners and TV time when necessary is my own favorite coping mechanism.  ;-)

I am very seriously happy for you.  You had some tough conversations and made a ton of changes.  And I am particularly glad that you have your own therapist who can be a much-better-trained sounding board for these issues in the future.  (Not that we're not happy to help, of course, but, you know, you get what you pay for and all that)

SuseB

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #78 on: February 11, 2020, 07:06:28 AM »
I have three kids (now 13,11,9) so I am out of the little-kid woods a bit - but just came on to add one idea I didn't see mentioned, that we used to term 'divide and conquer' - basically, any activity that is way stressful with all the kids, is much, much better with only one of them... this realisation meant that we were able to feel that we had 'recharged' a bit, even though we technically had a child with us. Grocery shopping with one kid - bonding educational experience for the child and parent! Same deal with two or three - mayhem. Similarly one kid on a walk with all your attention on them? Awesome! Plus when you have multiple kids they all LOVE time on their own with a parent. I used to take one of mine out to 'run errands' - post office, library, maybe stop at a cafe - and I would feel like I got a break! Husband at home would do similar with the other child(ren). Plus this has the advantage that you get to practice taking your kids places, so that someday in the future when you do have to take them all to do a full shop at Aldi on a Saturday morning, you can be done and home by 9.30am and feel like you have won a parent of the year award...

Annie101

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #79 on: February 11, 2020, 09:15:49 PM »
Sounds like you have made some great changes and things are going much more smoothly.  Yay!  One other thing that makes a huge difference for us is trading off the bedtime ritual.  We alternate every other day, but since you do more mornings, your husband could do more of the evenings so it balances out.  I don’t like the idea that I should need to leave the house to have alone time.  It’s nice to have time to myself every other evening.

Gay Burqueño Dad

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #80 on: February 12, 2020, 10:01:05 AM »
@Annie101 - Oh yes, it's not explicitly mentioned but implied - my husband now does bedtimes solo ~4 days a week, I do solo 1 day a week, we do it together ~2 days/wk. Once I'm done with lunch prep, I generally journal or get in the hot tub when he's putting them to bed. Soo nice.

Gay Burqueño Dad

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #81 on: March 12, 2020, 10:56:08 AM »
Update -

Home life was significantly improved in February but my work life was still suffering from bleedover stress from home life. So, I planned a staycation for this past week. It was AMAZING! I didn't plan to use the time mostly recreating like the term "staycation" implies. I thought of it more like a DIY Queer Eye for the Gay Guy life makeover. Focused on things that will reduce my stress in the long term (not on fashion or hair... not priorities for me right now).

So I:
-Found some convenience/frozen food options that the kids will eat and I think is reasonably healthy (and I will probably eat it sometimes). Trader Joe's cauliflower-crust pizza is good! TJ's breaded cod and chicken are probably not ideally healthy, but having actual meat chunks inside feels better than sticks/nuggets.
-Also, smoked trout in a tin for me. Ugh, such a relief to not have to cook meat for myself to put on my salads all the time! (Note: I think normal supermarket canned chicken and tuna is unappetizing).
-Made a good-enough meal plan. It's only one week's worth, but I'm declaring it good enough to repeat it every week until I get motivated to find more dishes to put on the meal plan.
-Switched loud kid's bedroom with guest bedroom further from our bedroom so one parent can sleep more effectively while the other puts kids to bed.
-Caught up on a slew of other life tasks. Not interesting to you, but made my life better.
-Made a list of every single little thing that I/the kids could do in the evenings to make mornings when my husband works better. While off, I started building the habit of doing most/all of the things on it. There's a lot beyond making lunches and changing clothes! I now shower & shave & get my clothes out at night; prep & schedule coffee; get breakfast requests from kids so I can prep their breakfast before they get up; have kids get shoes & socks & jackets chosen and out; etc.

I plan to use more of my PTO as staycations going forward. Travelling with the kids doesn't sound fun to me yet (actually I know from experience that it is NOT fun. For me. Right now.) So staycation is a great option in the meantime. The kids were in daycare which was such a relief compared to travelling with them. Highly recommended to other parents with little kids (especially 2-working-parent homes)! If you're in a position where using more of the time for recreation makes sense, all the better!

As an aside, the "spring forward" daylight savings time always throws our kids' sleep for a loop. So it was nice to have a parent home Mon-Wed this week so I could be the designated putter-to-bed-er (and be able to take a nap the next day if necessary). I didn't factor that into my choice of staycation timing, but I'm going to consider it next time, all else equal :-)

former player

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Re: How to approach marriage time equity conversation
« Reply #82 on: March 12, 2020, 12:23:21 PM »
Nice update.  Congrats on thinking it all through so sensibly and then putting it into practice.  It's a rare human being that can do that!