Bryan works hard, and he works long hours, so spending time with the kids takes a lot of planning ahead. If he has to work in the evening, we sit down to dinner as soon as he gets home, clean up quickly, then move on to a family activity for a couple hours.
In the summer we do things like walk to the library, go for a bike ride, play games, or take Lucy to the dog park. During the school year we’ll help Ruthie with her homework or read to the kids or play the Wii – anything that engages us in an activity together as a family before Bryan descends to the office and the kids go to bed.
On the occasions that I allow myself to become disorganized or fall behind in my day or otherwise don’t plan ahead, we aren’t ready for “daddy time” when he walks in the door and those fleeting moments are squandered. Likewise, if we don’t come up with some ideas for our nightly activities in advance, we spend valuable time getting organized and deciding what to do.
It’s definitely a joint effort to maintain the proverbial balanced life, but the bulk of the effort falls on me to make it happen – I keep the trains running on time.
I often feel burdened by this role and flirt with bitterness – why do *I* have to do all the planning? why do *I* have to stick to this rigid schedule? why can’t we just be spontaneous? But when I drop the ball or get sick and chaos ensues, the value of my role becomes loud and clear – our family gets messy and disoriented and irritable when we lack intention.
We miss each other.