I’ve talked about my need to relax here before. You can’t read a website or a book about women without stumbling on at least one mention of getting some “me” time, or remembering to “take care of yourself”.
We’re reminded over and over again that the best thing we can do for the people who count on us is to take time to nurture ourselves. Getting away, it seems, if only for the time it takes to enjoy a nice hot bath, is essential to our mental health.
My husband doesn’t get it.
He supports it. He knows the need exists for me. He is fully aware of the collateral damage that will result in me not taking care of myself. But he doesn’t really get it.
Or rather, he doesn’t seem to need it for himself.
I used to beat myself up about this. I felt guilty when I saw him come home from work and be able to slip right into fun dad mode. I agonized over the fact that he never seemed to reach his limit for family time or us time. Not once can I ever recall him collapsing in a heap on the floor in tears, sobbing that he “just wanted to use the bathroom alone! Just for a few minutes!” Heck. I still let that bother me if I think about it long enough to, say, write a blog post about it.
It would be easy to suggest that he doesn’t need to take time to address his needs because they’re already being met. Because I am clearly an awesome spouse.
And I could suggest that he isn’t required to do as much of the hands on, intensive nurturing that tends to drain my female friends and me. Because we are clearly the more awesome sex.
But I know better. He works full time. He’s an active, involved parent. He’s a conscientious spouse who invests a crap load of emotional energy into keeping me happy. He’s certainly giving just as much as I am on a day to day basis.
So why is it he doesn’t need to take as much back?
A woman close to me is trying to figure this out in her own relationship. She needs alone time - which other women understand. He needs as much time with her as he can get - which makes her want to strangle him.
A recent Forbes article noted that women seem to be more effected by stress from the current economy and need, even more so than men, to take some alone time to deal with that stress.
And here is where a better writer would insert some well thought out and insightful conclusion. But I have none. I’m baffled by the difference between my constant craving for alone time and my husband’s apparent immunity to it.
I’m curious if this is a phenomenon unique to my household and the women I know. Do you find that the working mom in your household needs more space to refuel than the working dad? If so, do you let that lead to guilt and a “can do it all” attitude in order to keep up?
Photo by Luza.