I look at my partner sometimes who, every other week, gets up before seven in the morning so that he could get to work for nine and doesn’t come home until half seven in the evening. There is one hour to shove food down and to hang out with our two kids before we put Little to bed. The weeks where he works from home means that he can sleep in a little more, but then lunch is often cut short, and usually his meetings that end at six drag on until quite late. I suspect that is because he and/or his colleagues feel guilty for ending the meeting only to find themselves sitting at home, whereas usually they would have to start the inevitable march home. Then there’s the late night emails or the ever present “ding” of the WhatsApp group chat.
Where did the respect for personal time and space go? When did it happen?
Seeing my partner interact with his colleagues and to witness some of their blatant refusal to acknowledge my partner’s other life despite having their own families is astonishing.
Then there are the kids, who obviously want to spend time with their father, as they should. And one hour is certainly not enough, especially when one is a toddler and the other is almost sixteen. Just yesterday, while we were trying to have some downtime during dinner after what was a long work day, Big comes home in a mood and demanding why we weren’t available on the phone. Then it turns out she skipped a theatre lesson that we had paid for. And so came the argument. Thankfully we were able to decompress quite soon after, but we’ve not always been this lucky and I am tired.
As I am writing this, we are both on our second cafetière of coffee, I’m on my second mug of builder’s tea, my partner absconded into another room because both the washer and the dryer have been turning all morning. There is medication and groceries still to be bought, another meal to make, bills to pay, and Big to keep track of.
When is that day where we can do nothing again?
The two of us have dreamt of building a cabin for so long. Maybe I’ll just escape there for a second, right now. Just for a little bit.