Is trying to get alone time selfish?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Is trying to get alone time selfish?
27
Wed, 07-02-2003 - 10:44am
My DH and I have a monthly alone time fight. He thinks that because I need and want alone time I resent the children. I have been trying to explain that it is not that I resent the children, I resent being in charge of them 24-7 and sometimes would like to be alone. Of course, some of this is my own fault. I took over the household tasks when he was ill and he has enjoyed it. My job is more flexible so I take the sick days off and the snow days. He needs to keep his days in case the tumor comes back. I arrange all the childcare because he seems incapable of handling it. He just looks at me blankly when I suggest he arrange a babysitter for a night out.

He just does not understand the concept of alone time-he thinks going to the gym or going to church is alone time. I say no because I have to take the children and put them in the nursery. If something happens to them, I have to go get them. Not alone time. Alone time to me is no children and no husband. Just me, myself and I doing what I want. The fight last week started because I wanted to go to the pool alone while the kids and he went to an airshow. He thought I was being selfish. I explained I had the children every Saturday while he ran triathlons and marathons. He was having alone time and I wanted the same right. He thought triathlons and marathons were not alone time even though he was not wathcing the children, worrying about the children or arranged their care. Whatever. Obvisously, I have some issues about this.

Here are my questions:

1. Does work status have any bearing on alone time needed? Do SAHM's need more alone time or is it the personality of the mother?

2. Do some men arrange childcare and can they be cloned? Or at least teach my husband how to pick up the phone and ask someone to watch our children?

3. Is alone time selfish when you are a mother or is it self-perservation?

4. Do other couples fight about this or are we just strange? I am being nosey but we seem to argue about it more and more.

Kristi




"I do not want to be a princess! I want to be myself"

Mallory (age 3)

      &nbs

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-01-2001
Wed, 07-02-2003 - 11:14am
1. Does work status have any bearing on alone time needed? Do SAHM's need more alone time or is it the personality of the mother?

* I think it is much more a personality thing.

2. Do some men arrange childcare and can they be cloned? Or at least teach my husband how to pick up the phone and ask someone to watch our children?

* My dh has been known to occasionally ask his parents (or mine) but generally it is me who makes the calls and I don't think he has ever asked a non-g'parent to watch the girls. I have told him that the most romantic thing he could do is to call me and say "Hon, my parents are coming by in half a hour to get the girls, put on a nice dress we're going out for dinner, be ready by 6:30." It hasn't happened yet but I still daydream about it!

3. Is alone time selfish when you are a mother or is it self-perservation?

* I need my alone time, I am an introvert and need time by myself to recharge. This summer I've agreed to watch a little boy one day a week so that I have the money to pay a sitter so I can go out by myself.

4. Do other couples fight about this or are we just strange? I am being nosey but we seem to argue about it more and more.

* We don't any more, it took my dh a while ton realize that I just need to "be" by myself sometimes. I don't think he totally understands but we're getting there.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 07-02-2003 - 11:20am
I'll take a stab at this. NO ALONE TIME IS NOT SELFISH.

Now, to answer the questiosn ...

1. Does work status have any bearing on alone time needed? Do SAHM's need more alone time or is it the personality of the mother? -- I don't think it has any bearing. Whether you're at home with the kdis or at work with a boss and coworkers, neither of those things is *alone* time. I think how much a person needs is independent of your working status. A SAHM might, however, be satisfied with the time she gets while the kids are napping. A WOHM might, however, be satisfied with her hour lunch break. But, my bet, is those two are the same woman. In other words, a WOHM that's satisifed with an hour of *alone* time on lunch break would be satisfied with the nap time if she was a SAHM.

2. Do some men arrange childcare and can they be cloned? Or at least teach my husband how to pick up the phone and ask someone to watch our children? -- Stbxh never arranged childcare. And he hated talking on the phone. And that's considering that he's a much more involved father than the average (at least IMO). And this is a small pt of what went wrong wth our marriage. We rarely had any quality *couple* time. And while he was willing to work at making *couple* time with his homewrecking ho, he never worked at it for me. It was always my responsibility.

3. Is alone time selfish when you are a mother or is it self-perservation? - Alone time is NEVER selfish .. its just non-selfless. IMO, everyone needs alone time. the extent of that alone time varies, obviously, but I think we all need it.

4. Do other couples fight about this or are we just strange? I am being nosey but we seem to argue about it more and more. -- we didn't fight about it .. but it was an issue. Alone time was something I RARELY got. Stbxh got a lot of it (maybe too much) when he traveled.

Hollie

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 07-02-2003 - 12:07pm
No, I don't think it's selfish to want some time alone.

1. Does work status have any bearing on alone time needed? Do SAHM's need more alone time or is it the personality of the mother?

I think it's more of a personality thing. I don't think SAH/WOH status in general has much to do with a person's need for alone time, or theor ability to get it. However, I think a person's specific situation makes a difference. For instance, my sister is a SAHM with two kids in school, so she gets plenty of alone time during the day. She volunteers at school and does household work during the day, so that doesn't count as "alone time," but she also has time to walk the dog, read, work on crafts, etc. For me, I think I need less alone time because of the nature of my job. I am a technical writer, and I generally work alone without a lot of interuptions. It's not alone time, but it does give me a chance to live inside my head without constant interruptions.

2. Do some men arrange childcare and can they be cloned? Or at least teach my husband how to pick up the phone and ask someone to watch our children?

DH doesn't arrange occasional babysitters, but that is partly because we always ask my mom to babysit as our first choice. Sonce she's my mom, it makes sense for me to do the asking. However, he has been good over the years about helping to find daycare, summer camps, etc. Maybe you could arrange a regular babysitter, twice a month or something? You'd still do the arranging, but at least you could have a regular time you could count on without arranging it each time.

3. Is alone time selfish when you are a mother or is it self-perservation?

SELF-PRESERVATION. I tend to be a social person who doesn't need a lot of time alone. But what I crave is time with my girlfriends and sisters.

4. Do other couples fight about this or are we just strange? I am being nosey but we seem to argue about it more and more.

We have in the past and still do occasionally, but it has gotten better over the years. Our kids are now 5 and 8, and it helps that they are out of those intense toddler years. Also, I think DH & I have finally worked out a pretty good balance. For us, it really, really helps to schedule things in advance rather than try to be spontaneous. I just got back from a 3-day weekend away with two old friends, and it was wonderful. We planned it pretty far in advance, and DH had time to decide how he wanted to spend the weekend alone with the kids. He made it a good time for all by taking them to a movie, swimming, etc. He's going on a trip in August to a friend's wedding, and I'm staying behind with the kids because it conflicts with DD's scout camp. We do try to keep our alone time more or less even, although we're not keeping score. Also, I do tend to make it easy on him by doing things like feeding the kids their dinner before I go out, or packing lunches the night before if I won't be there in the morning.

And a question for you...

>>He thinks that because I need and want alone time I resent the children.>>>

So, does he resent the children because he doesn't want to be alone with them while you go to the pool by yourself? What happens when you use his own flawed logic on him?

Dana

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 07-02-2003 - 12:28pm
OT--How's the job hunt/house hunt going?

I just wanted to wish you luck. It sounds like you're making progress, and I wish you the best.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 07-02-2003 - 12:45pm
Alone time is not selfish. It allows me to recharge my batteries. I don't know about your husband, but I have never been able to do anything 24/7/365 no matter how much I liked it.

1)For me, work status has not changed my need for alone time. BUT being at home makes it harder for me to get. When I worked, I would get my lunch hours and occationally leave work early and pick up the children at the regular time. Now, I have to get a babysitter or have DH watch them. I have an arrangement with DH and once a week we each get a "late night". Sometimes he uses it to catch up on things at work, and sometimes I use it to go non-grocery shopping. Usually I use it to go to starbucks and read my book. I have also been able to have a once a year weekend trip to visit my best friend from college. This will be longer next year as she is moving to London next week!

2)My DH arranges childcare for our "date nights". But if it is for my "alone time" and he is not available, it is my responsibility.

3)Self preservation

4)We have had discussions regarding the hours DH is at work. But both of us try to honor each other's requests for alone time.

Another thing, DH and I try to allow each of us to have time away from the family each week. BUT we do not dictate or comment on how that partner uses his/her time. In my book, watching th children on the weekend so that DH could participate in a triatholon would fall under "alone time". But maybe we need to come up with a better name.

Janet

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 07-02-2003 - 12:47pm
Actually, when I used his logic on him, he caved and realized I had a valid point. It surprised him that I was so upset because I had let it build up. He did not know there was a problem. He is getting better.

Kristi

"I do not want to be a princess! I want to be myself"

Mallory (age 3)

      &nbs

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 07-02-2003 - 12:47pm
I think some of it may have to do with personality. I am what is known as an introvert. I truly NEED time alone in order to *recharge*. Being around people all the time (even my own children) having to talk and interact all the time, is very draining for me after awhile. There are times where I feel like I just need to have a few hours of SILENCE, where I dont talk to anyone and they dont talk to me, lol!

As far as dh is concerned, mine is a pretty involved dad. He usually takes the kids places on his days off, or in the evening if he is running to the store or something, he understands that I need a break. He runs races almost every weekend in the summer too! But then, *I* also run, so we have had to learn to compromise a LOT in that area. I will say though, he has no clue about ever arranging childcare (maybe its a guy thing?). I usually make arrangements for the kids if care is needed, but on the other hand its usually MY family or friends who are watching them so it kind of makes sense that I am the one making the calls.

I dont think time alone is ever selfish. We all need it to some degree, some of us more than others.

And no, you arent wierd, dh and I dont really fight about it per se, but we've had many a *discussion*, lol. I always tell him that he gets HIS alone time when he bikes to and from work every day, when he gets to run on his lunch hour, and in the mornings when he is up earlier than the rest of us. He insists that none of those things count, lol.

dj

Dj

"Now when I need help, I look in the mirror" ~Kanye West~

Avatar for laurenmom2boys
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 07-02-2003 - 12:54pm
Oh, no, alone time is not selfish. Some people need it more than others, but it should never be viewed as "selfish."

<<1. Does work status have any bearing on alone time needed?>> Being at work does not provide "alone time." Being at work is work. <> I truly believe it's an individual personality thing, not a WOHM/SAHM thing.

<<2. Do some men arrange childcare and can they be cloned? Or at least teach my husband how to pick up the phone and ask someone to watch our children?>> I guess some men arrange childcare. Mine never has, but I'm okay with that because I have more access to a phone during the day than he does, so I'm easily more accessible.

<<3. Is alone time selfish when you are a mother or is it self-perservation?>> IMO, it's not selfish, and it can be self-preservation for those women who have the types of personalities where they need alone time.

<<4. Do other couples fight about this or are we just strange? I am being nosey but we seem to argue about it more and more.>> DH and I have never had an issue with this. He is fine with me taking off by myself, and I am fine with him doing it as well. I can't comment on other people's lives.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-29-1999
Wed, 07-02-2003 - 12:58pm
1. Does work status have any bearing on alone time needed? Do SAHM's need more alone time or is it the personality of the mother?

I think it is the personality of the mother. My mom and I were/are both SAHMs, I need far more alone time than she ever did--I always have. Fortunately, I have her to watch DS while I get that alone time! ;)

2. Do some men arrange childcare and can they be cloned? Or at least teach my husband how

to pick up the phone and ask someone to watch our children?

Hmmmmm...my DH doesn't, but I'm a SAHM, so that's my job anyway.

3. Is alone time selfish when you are a mother or is it self-perservation?

SELF-PRESERVATION! I can give a lot more when I've taken care of myself.

4. Do other couples fight about this or are we just strange? I am being nosey but we seem to argue about it more and more.

Sometimes, when I can't get my mom to watch DS and I need some down time. But usually DH is really good about understanding my need for me time.

Christi

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2003
Wed, 07-02-2003 - 1:04pm
Here's another question: is there really such a thing as a "man" thing? Because I think some of what you described would fall under being a "man" thing (like the blank look at the babysitting arrangements).

I don't think wanting time alone is at all indicative of any resentment against the children. You were a person before you had kids, you are still a person now. You do not commit yourself to physical and emotional servitude when you give birth. I think time alone can actually enhance your time with your kids. Plus, I believe in the old adage "absence makes the heart grow fonder." Now about your questions:

1. Does work status have any bearing on alone time needed? Do SAHM's need more alone time or is it the personality of the mother?

I would think it's equal because, as a working mom, I can say that time at work does NOT count as alone time. Sure, it's time you don't have to be around kids but it can also be more stressful, demand more of your attention, frustrate you more, etc... So I think time alone needed is equal.

2. Do some men arrange childcare and can they be cloned? Or at least teach my husband how to pick up the phone and ask someone to watch our children?

Like I said, I think that's a guy thing. I've never seen a hubby do it and I have quite a few married friends. The women always handle that. If I'm wrong then I'm wrong but I personally have never seen men take on that kind of stuff.

3. Is alone time selfish when you are a mother or is it self-perservation?

Definitely self preservation. If I don't get some alone time I am mean. Very mean. My kids know it too. If they are having a week or two when they don't go to their father's they know that there is just time when they need to go to their playroom and play or chill out because mom needs some quiet. I have good kids that way. They'll sit and play quietly and let me watch HGTV for an hour until I seem halfway sane again.

4. Do other couples fight about this or are we just strange? I am being nosey but we seem to argue about it more and more.

I have a friend who argues with her husband about this but the roles are reversed. He thinks they need more couple time and alone time and she doesn't want to leave the kids. I dont' know how they resolve that. I fight w/ my ex about it all the time. He takes the girls one day a week (most of the time) and wonders why I tell him it's not enough. Well I drop them off in the morning, work 9-5, get maybe 5 or 6 hours alone (which I usually use to go grocery shopping or do some other task that I need to do w/o them being there) and then I go to sleep and in the morning it is time to pick them up again. He gets everyday when he gets off work to hang out plus one full day off from work w/ no kids. To me that's unfair but I guess it's the life of a single parent.

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