The Passage of Time

Two years ago I wrote a post in my blog about Time Management.  It centered mostly around the time constraints of a new relationship, so today I’d like to talk about time management in a family situation.

Time can be one of the hardest aspects to master in any marriage.  Between work and personal interests it never seems like there is enough of it to get everything done and spent quality time with all the people we love.  This can be a sensitive topic in a poly relationship and the one I find leads to the most emotional discussions we have.  At times it seems like juggling knives would be less tense, and often less risky, but it’s not something that can be avoided.

Our family full of independent people with jobs and extracurricular passions that take up a lot of our free time.  Add in commutes, differences in shifts, and household chores, and this leaves very little to work with when it comes to spending time together.  We have a pretty colourful Google Calendar, which I will mention again and again as a poly family’s best friend, but finding space between the motley array of prior commitments can be frustrating.  Making that time healthy rather than stressed and rushed can be even more so.

My piece of that pie comes with the fact that Hubby and I have household responsibilities that generally fill up the two days a week I’m home from work.  This may change when I’m home every day or when we all live in the same house, but at this time that’s the reality.  It’s also the only time we have to see friends and family, so even that together time is rarely the one on one bonding time that keeps an intimate relationship healthy.  We can go months at a time without a day spent alone together doing something relaxing or fun together, and this causes a lot of stress on our marriage when it starts to seem like all we do is visit friends and do chores.  From my perspective, Hubby’s nights with A are still considered “planned”, so he won’t plan a night with a friend or another hobby during the time he’s with her, and I admit I get a little flustered knowing my time gets filled with those things because we live together.  While I may have more time on the whole, very little of it is quality time even spent in the same room, while they get to go to dinner, movies, and wine tastings.  Hubby is trying to make sure we balance that better, and we try to have a “planned” date once in a while, but sometimes nothing can be done.

On A’s side she worries about our responsibilities completely filling Hubby’s schedule and pushing out her time.  Hubby likes to sleep, so unless there’s a planned activity he will lounge and sleep or play games on his computer.  This often frustrates her, because she wants to be doing something, even if it’s just cuddling or making breakfast.  Because I’m often only home on weekends, that’s when we’re usually busy, so she doesn’t get a lot of time with him that doesn’t involve a work schedule in some way.  This can be stressful having to factor in bedtimes and work responsibilities, and if he gets held up at work she misses out on what waking free time she has.

Now let’s add a new development, just because things weren’t stretched thin as it was.  Hubby just started a job that will sometimes have him out of town a few nights a week, which means the only time he has consistently available is the weekend.  This means our schedule changes somehow.  It also means that all the personal activities he had reserved for weeknights also now can only happen on weekends.

We have discussed options that will make everyone happy.  I have no problem with spending a weekend or half a weekend alone.  My concern is that all Hubby’s personal time, all our time with his friends, and all our time spent as a family will come out of the now abridged time he and I have together, especially over the summer when events and outings pick up frequency.  Last year we had a few incidents with time management and things that were really important to me getting pushed aside or family time that left me feeling like a third wheel.  Some of that is internal, but some has been identified as something we all really need to work on to be a happy, healthy family.

Right now it’s all very up in the air with me out of work, and I will be returning right about the time our Google Calendar lights up again.  I won’t say I’m not a little worried, but we’re all adults, and I’m sure we can work out a solution.  It might take a few rounds of discussion and trial-and-error, but I feel like we’re headed in a positive direction.