Thursday, January 29, 2015

Evening Up

Lately Jacob's been a little annoyed that Carter gets to stay home with me three days a week.  I can't blame him, I suppose, but obviously there are a lot of other factors at play.  The law says Jacob must go to school.  Financial sense dictates that it doesn't make sense to spend money on five days of daycare when I'm home.  And, of course, the bonus time with Carter isn't half bad either.

Sometimes it does seem unfair that Carter gets this time with me, while Jacob has always spent his days somewhere else.  However, even though he may not have been home with me on weekdays, we had countless weekends and weeknights when Craig was working and we got significant one-on-one time together.  So, the more I think about it, maybe this is a bit of an equalizer.  I reminded Jacob the other day that he had mommy and daddy to himself for over four years, and Carter won't have us to himself until he's at least 13...and by then he probably won't want us around at all!  So this time alone with me is Carter's version of those one-on-one days and nights that Jacob and I had.  We spend most of our weekends right now as a threesome, and that's great, but there's nothing quite like dedicated, solo time with a parent.

The time Carter and I actually have together is more limited than you'd think.  Once Jacob and Craig are off in the morning, it takes some time to get both of us dressed and ready for the day.  We play for a little bit, and suddenly it's around noon and time for lunch.  After lunch he goes down for a nap, and lately he's been taking three hour (!) naps, so suddenly it's late afternoon and we have a little playtime before it's time to get Jacob from school and start working on dinner.  Because I have more time during the day it usually means I'm a little more participatory in the evening playtime before bed, but the total amount of quality time is still less than you'd think.  And if you add in errands to that, it's even more disjointed. 

Still, errands can be fun.  I remember thinking the best kind of days off as a kid were ones where we had plans...like when my mom still bowled on Monday mornings and we'd go to the bowling alley and then go out to lunch (Showbiz Pizza when I was little, and Pizza Hut for personal pans later).  Heck, I even liked going grocery shopping, and I hope Carter likes the running around too.  Most of the time he's pretty good, so I think he's at least entertained.  A couple times I've debated doing something special--getting a treat or going out to lunch--but I've held back.  It feels like "cheating on" Jacob a bit or something.  It would be nice to get my gluten-filled-food fix, though.  And like I said above, Jacob and I had plenty of special treat moments over his first four years, so I feel like maybe Carter is due a few of those moments himself while we have the chance.

It still feels a little funny, but I think ultimately this is a special time we need to embrace.  How that plays out and how long it lasts, I don't really know, but I do know I should lay off the self-guilt, at least a bit, and try to enjoy it.  My baby isn't going to be a baby for long, and I'm trying to soak up every moment...and if that involves watching him eat a contraband Tim Hortons donut for the first time, so be it.

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