Catholic Husband

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Rethinking Together Time

A couple laughs together

Is residency over yet? With just under 18 months to go, I'm so done with all of this. Alison's schedule, the shifting sands, and lack of predictability in future planning. It's a part of the process, but that doesn't mean that I have to like it. As a part of this whole experience, Alison and I have really had to spend time rethinking what we need when it comes to time together.

When you boil down our daily schedules, we have a paltry 1 to 2 hours together a day where we're not eating, sleeping, or working. In that time Alison needs to unwind and I still need to read and finish up tasks from the day, meaning we really only have 60 minutes. Ouch. How do we meet our needs for togetherness when we can only find 60 minutes in a day?

Obviously, we had to rethink what we want out of together time. First, we spend more time together on days when she's off. If she has a day off after a 24 hour shift, I'll dial back the amount of work I'll do during the day. As an example, I cancelled my day a few weeks back and we spent the day at IKEA and frustratingly assembling the things that we bought at IKEA. This together time strategy requires flexibility that thankfully we've been able to craft through my work.

Next, we keep weekends light and clear. When Alison has a day or two off on the weekends, we spend most of those days together. The time might be spent playing with Benedict or running errands. These are low intensity activities so that we can be together and she can still be resting after a series high intensity shifts. We might have someone over for dinner or take a quick weekend trip, but all of that scheduling is done with a eye on her overall workload.

Finally, we had to take a hard look at the ugly week night and admit that there was little to be done. We can watch something on TV, or she's free to craft, work on a project, or do whatever. I place no expectation on her and I have plenty of my own non-work activities to work on. That's taken a lot of stress off of us because she can make decisions based on how her day went.

When time is tight, you have to make tough choices. I've written about the complexity of time management many times on this blog. It's important to remember that time management is dynamic and that when things get really tight, the best thing you can do is adjust expectations.
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