Trading Places

Calli Tyler Photography (c) 2013

Calli Tyler Photography (c) 2013

This is what I’d like to be doing right now.

My amazing husband got me a pistol for Christmas and I have only shot it twice; one of those times being yesterday. I was having so much fun plinking away at the steel targets. That has got to be one of my favorite sounds.

Unfortunately, having kids (and lack of personal funds) really limits the amount of time I get to spend at the range. I’m sure MANY moms can relate – maybe not the range specifically, but fill in the blank with ANY hobby you enjoy. Whether you’re a stay at home mom, working mom, single mom, married mom, mom of one child, or a mom of twelve children, we all know how it feels to really want to go do something and not be able to whenever we want.

One of my favorite things to do, pre-children, was to go spend the day at the beach on my day off from work. I would wake up at 9:30, put on a suit, tank top, flip flops, shorts, and grab my dog. We’d be loaded in the car and on the road by 10:00. Arrive at the beach around 11:30 and then we wouldn’t leave until it got dark. Charlie had fun playing in the sand (not really – he hates the beach) and I got to work on my tan and relax.

It would be a dream come true to do that just one more time.

I love all the time I get with my children, but you lose a lot of freedom when they arrive. That’s just a sacrifice you make when you have kids. The thing that really gets to me though is how taboo it is for moms to talk about MISSING that freedom.

We’re not saying we would ditch our kids on the side of the road so we can score a couple of hours having brunch and mimosas with our girlfriends or that we would trade our kids in for a night on the town – we’re just bitching about what a pain in the ass it is to have to find a trustworthy sitter, pay for said sitter, make plans, PRAY the kids don’t get sick and cause plans to be cancelled, and then be home at a “reasonable hour” so aforementioned sitter isn’t ticked off at you and never wants to babysit for you again.

Not to mention how frustrating it is to have your entire day scheduled around someone else. Even if you’re a working mom, you do this to some degree. Wake up at the crack of dawn, get yourself ready, get kids ready, make breakfast, be out the door by 6:30 justtttt in case you get stuck behind a school bus at 7:00 or caught in school traffic, arrive at daycare at 7:30 (after getting stuck behind a school bus… three times), drop off kids, arrive at work at 8:02, freak out because you’re late, leave work at 5:00 and speed so you get to daycare by 5:45 so your kids aren’t the “last one.” Yeah. We all plan our days out around our kids, to some degree. And it’s TIRING.

The other day I caught myself thinking, I really wish I could trade places with my husband, just for one day.

Simply because of this: I’m envious.

Not because I think he has it easy (he’s military – his schedule is unpredictable and he deals with a lot of idiotic issues) or because I think he can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. Not because I get angry when he goes and does “fun” things without me. Not because of any other stupid, petty reason you can possibly come up with.

I’m envious.

envy

My husband is a wonderful man and I have absolutely ZERO complaints when it comes to him and the things he does. He provides everything we need. He works hard, sets goals, and successfully accomplishes everything he sets out to do. He is honest, loyal, trustworthy, caring, considerate, optimistic, understanding, and loving. On top of all that, he’s charming, just as goofy as I am, and incredibly handsome.

Heart, be still!

I KNOW he doesn’t have it easy. He sometimes works from 5:00 AM until 7:00 PM. Sometimes he’s gone for weeks at a time, with no communication. He has to deal with people patronizing him pretty frequently and his schedule is NEVER the same. He’s often away from us. BUT, when he IS home, I’m envious.

Because being at home with the kids and taking care of the house is basically my “job,” it’s kind of a given that I will always be here with them (unless I’ve had time to make plans for something). So when he’s home, it’s easy for him to say (after asking if he’s needed for anything or if we have plans), “Hey honey! I’m heading out to the range for the day,” or “Do you mind if I go meet up with the guys for breakfast?”

Do I have issues with him doing these things? Nope. I never have, unless it interferes with prior plans. Do I resent him when he makes plans without me? Never. He deserves time to himself to do the things he enjoys as well. Can I do this too? Well, yes… kind of.

I know that he has zero issues with watching the kids while I go and do something I want to do. He has told me this more times than I can count, and I appreciate it more than I can say. However, it still requires planning and a fair amount of work before I can head out the door and that makes it frustrating.

Because being “Mom” is my “job,” it is, always has been, and always will be my duty to ensure that my children have everything they could possibly need and that my husband has everything he needs before I go anywhere. So… diapers, snacks, nap times, what to cook for dinner, clean sippy cups, etc. Then I’ve gotta get myself ready… it always feels like it’s a much bigger production than it should be for just a few hours to myself.

This is going to sound kind of silly but when he says he’s going to do something, I find myself thinking, “Damn! He beat me to it.. again!” See, most of my girlfriends are parents too. So if one of them calls me up to do something, it usually doesn’t happen until later in the afternoon. If he makes plans, he usually knows before 2:00 PM. By the time a friend calls, it’s like 3:30… I’m in yoga pants with no bra and I ain’t moving (just kidding… but seriously).

I think I’m just going to make a master calendar and pick one day each month and write “DO NOT PLAN ANYTHING! THIS IS MY DAY. RESERVED!” on a random Saturday.

Then he can’t beat me to it and I’ll have plenty of time to plan. 😉

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