How Working Part-Time Affects Our Marriage
At my new job (and by new I mean I've already been there 7 months - holy cow!) I work 32 hours a week. Well, if you figure in breaks and day care check-ins and check-outs, it's actually less than that. (I know, it's awesome!) I told Eric a couple months ago that I finally found my life calling. In many ways it has been like a dream come true for me. I cut out one full day of work (Wednesdays) and because Rooney goes to day care at the church where I work, I get to see her 19 hours MORE per week than I did when I was at my old job. I added this up the other day and was shocked. You'd think the number would be closer to 9. But NINETEEN? Whoa. This has been great for me in my role as a mother.
But as a wife?
Well, it has affected our marriage a little bit.
Eric has a hard time working on Wednesdays now. He usually comes home really bummed. One day he even left work at lunchtime and hung out with us for the afternoon instead. Sort of like a mental health day. (There are men who love going to work and want their wives to stay at home with the kids -- but I'm not married to one of them. Eric would love to work part-time just as much as I do!)
I did some more math and figured out that he actually gets to see Rooney about an hour a week LESS than before :(
Which I feel sad about, because that wasn't part of the plan. I'm not sure we could have anticipated that.
And because he and I used to work together, we get to see each other less, too...
I am trying to be happy about finally being fulfilled with my work, but it doesn't feel fair. I feel lucky, but also guilty about how good I have it! My goal was not to make him sad...only to make me happier. When Tuesday night comes around I just want to scream I don't have to work tomorrow! but I feel like I have to keep it inside.
How I Try to Ease the Pain
- Errands. This is a big one. I take on most of the errands now (which I do not mind at all ... I kind of love it!) I run errands over my lunch break at least three days a week. I get a (boss-approved) one-hour break and I work very close to Target, the mall and the grocery store. It is awesome. I love getting to do quick errands by myself and get things done. I've used my break to go to Walmart to get Eric the oil and filters he needed to change the oil in our vehicles (because he is awesome with cars). I've gone to Target to get him a beard trimmer when his died. We literally do not have to run errands in the evenings or weekends anymore because I can get them all done during the week. Rooney and I have also occasionally gotten groceries on Wednesdays (like we did this day) to make sure we're fully stocked. This means Eric doesn't have to get them, and we can focus instead on family time when we're together. This helps give him more margin in his life.
- Emails + texts. I email him extra on Wednesdays (when Rooney naps) to help him feel connected to us. Our relationship started and blossomed over email and it's something we both still love to do. I'll tell him about Rooney's big poop, what time she got up that day or send him a good blog post I read and think he'll like. Rooney still naps about four hours a day so I spend some of that time pouring into Eric. I also text him photos of her at day care so he can see that side of her life, or photos from her at home on Wednesdays.
- Visits + meetups. On Wednesdays Roo and I have gone to visit Eric at work a few times, to cheer him up! Or, we'll meet him for lunch (like we did this day) or frozen yogurt after work so he has something to look forward to!
I'm starting to learn that each change we make as a family will have side effects ... some that we anticipate and some we don't, some positive and some negative. We both know this was the right move for our family (he's seriously really happy for me, just a little jealous), and these little adjustments have helped us keep everyone happy and balanced! It's still not perfect, but we're trying.