I left my wife this weekend.
Oh, don’t worry. She’s cool with it. In fact, she prefers it.
The kids and I are five hours away at my dad’s house for the fourth annual Labor Day getaway. I took off on Friday morning with the three kids and left my wife to enjoy an extended weekend of solitude, peace, and quiet.
The annual trip began almost as a necessity. My wife has been a stay at home mother since our second child was born nine years ago. With three children to care for, I am contractually obligated to tell you that my wife works harder than I do.
Being a stay at home mom in a rural setting brings some challenges. Grocery shopping is an all day event since the closest store is 45 minutes away. There are no parks close at hand to take them to and socialize with other mothers. No little stay at home social clubs to join. She rarely gets any real “time off”.
After five years of this, she started feeling a bit stir crazy. This came out one day in a flood of tears. Since her life looked so perfect; stress free, no job, an able husband who actively participates in the home, she didn’t feel that she was allowed to voice her complaint that she just needed some time alone.
Let me be clear, she wasn’t just whining. I completely understand the stress she experienced having three little kids in the house all summer long with no relief.
So I told her I would take the kids to my dad’s for the Labor Day weekend. She gets the whole weekend to herself. For the first three years, she chose to use that time for massive amounts of scrapbooking and watching cheesy chick flicks. Not how I would spend a weekend alone, but that’s okay.
This year, the agenda changed. The pool is up and she planned to spend the entire weekend naked in the pool. It was a wonderful plan until her parents showed up unannounced on Friday night. Then there was funeral for a close friend’s father on Saturday. She ended up visiting and spending the night at her parents Saturday night, then had to race home to beat a line of thunderstorms on Sunday morning. When we spoke on Sunday night, she was nursing a sore back.
So, not the best Labor Day getaway. But still a much needed break.
Why do I even bother posting this? It really isn’t much of a story. Now that I look at it, we’re a pretty boring couple.
I’m posting it because sometimes the key to a functional marriage is time apart. I am amazed by the number of couples who state that they would never want to spend a single night apart if they could help it. What the hell is wrong with those people? They also can’t understand wanting a weekend away from three wonderful, but occasionally LOUD children.
We get some strange reactions to our arrangement. The first time I came down without her, my family assumed we must be fighting. Why else would she stay home? They couldn’t comprehend that we had actually agreed that I would travel without her. She got the same reaction from my friend’s wife when she went to the funeral on Saturday.
Some people think it’s strange that we would willingly spend four days apart. A lot of the women are just jealous.
The Labor Day weekend is a gift to my wife. It is an event that we look forward to all summer. I’m happy to give it to her and we enjoy a laugh when we see that confused look from people who haven’t discovered that it is perfectly acceptable that we are still independent people.
I will also admit that I enjoy the fact that no one else does this. I enjoy knowing that we are taking steps to insured a healthy marriage that no one else seems to be taking.
This isn’t completely one sided. In exchange for this free weekend, my wife takes the kids to her parent’s house all weekend for the opening of deer season. We didn’t actually tie these two events together until after the fact; the Labor Day getaway began on its own merits. But since so many people have a difficult time understanding that I actually want to give my wife this time to herself, we just tell them that we have a trade off between Labor Day and deer camp. That seems to be easier to comprehend.
It’s Monday morning; the great Labor Day getaway is nearly over. In a few hours the kids and I will make the five hour drive home. I’ve enjoyed a relaxing visit with my father and we will all be well rested for the coming week. By the end of the week, I suspect we will be looking forward to next year.