No unicorns are coming to whisk you away just because your partner is home…

A long ass time ago I remember listening to an interview with Oprah. They were asking her about her decision to never get married. I loved her answer so much that it has always stuck with me. I have looked SO long for that interview and, for the life of me, I cannot find it. At this point I could have very well dreamt it. Anyways, in the interview (or my dream), she explained that she never wanted to get married because getting married leads to expectations of your partner that were not there before saying “I do”. I love the idea of this so much that I often apply it to things other than marriage. For the purposes of this blog post, I am writing about expectations I have about when my husband gets home from work and when he’s home on weekends. Now, given that our son is usually in daycare, this is a new realization for me that came about in “quarantine life”. But, I am sure this will resonate with many stay-at-home moms and/or dads.

I always have this expectation that things will be totally different once my husband gets home… like unicorns are going to whisk me away to a private island and hand me a glass of riesling.

I started to notice that I was more frustrated or annoyed when my husband was home versus when I was home alone with our son. So, obviously I started to think about why that may be, because I’m obsessed with understanding feelings (nerd alert). I realized that while I was at home all day, doing the same toddler-mom things over and over, I was always in a state of waiting for my husband to get home. Being home with a toddler all day doesn’t leave me much time to get anything done that I want to do. And I don’t mean fun things like taking a bath or watching The Real Housewives of New York. No, I mean things like changing the bedding, wiping down mirrors, or hanging clothes up in my closet. So, I start to unconsciously build up all these things I want to do when my husband gets home at 5:00pm (on weekdays), or when he is home for the weekend.

But, the reality is that on a weekday when my husband gets home, it’s dinner time, and then bath time, and bed time follows shortly after. My husband has also been working all day so I realize that he is also tired and wants to relax. So, we usually do dinner, bath, and bed time routine together. Once Milo is in bed (around 7pm) it’s chill time and I ain’t doing shit! I will work on my blog or play on social media, but there’s no way in hell I’m cleaning, organizing, or doing dishes.

Weekends are a different story. My husband is a physician and so, on some weekends he is on call and I try to have zero expectations on those weekends. When he is home for the weekend I will plan to do a few things on my own, whether it’s going to the grocery store, going for a drive, or a walk. But, for the most part, other than those few outings, the days are pretty much the same as a weekday. But, if I’ve already unintentionally built up these expectations in my head of all these things I want to get done that weekend, then I get frustrated and grumpy when the day is passing by and I’ve barely done anything. Instead, I’m colouring, pouring water through a funnel for my son for 30 minutes so he can shower his Little People, cutting fruit up into tiny pieces, and so on. The same stuff I’ve done all week.

It is also important to note that this cycle is usually my own fault. For example, on many weekends during this quarantine, my husband has told me to go and do whatever I want to do. But, for some reason it’s difficult for me to just lock myself in the office and get work done or clean and organize while ignoring what’s going on in the house. When I had to study for my PhD defense, I would go to the library for hours. But, that’s not an option at the moment. So, I struggle with focusing on my own stuff. Cue frustration and me being irritable.

I started to notice I was grumpy in the evenings or on weekends because no unicorns ever showed up.

After making this realization, I am now trying to prioritize what I want to get done. Instead of piling up a huge list of housework, things I want to do as a family, things I want to do on my own, etc. I am now trying to make a plan that’s feasible and stick to that. I also have to realize that my entire life isn’t changing just because my husband is home. While it’s super helpful to have two adults in the house, and I enjoy my husbands company (usually… hehe), I am not going to be magically transported back to my childless days. You know those days where I could focus on work stuff for hours upon hours, clean the entire house, stay up late, sleep in, and sip hot coffee for several hours.

So, my take home message from this post is to not mentally (or literally) create a giant list of thing you expect to get done or happen at some future date and time. When these expectations can’t be met (which is obviously going to happen with kids), it leads to frustration, grumpiness, and irritability. And then you waste your weekend not doing things you had hoped and also being a stick in the mud. So, pick a couple things, try to get them done, but be flexible. Don’t have so many expectations. Maybe that healthy dinner won’t get made tonight but you’re able to go for a solo walk instead… oh well… make the dinner another night, grab some Big Macs, and call it a day.

XOXO Renee Reina

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  • Alison
    June 1, 2020

    Soooo true ! Love this idea , make a list and don’t worry if it doesn’t get completed right away! ❤️

  • Aniela
    June 4, 2020

    I’m a new mom of a 7 week old and omg this has totally spoken to my soul. I think it’s been my goal to clean the bathrooms in my house for like 4 weeks now and I only managed to clean one toilet, but I wI’ll just try again next week!

Playing with Toddlers: It’s not fun… yeah, I said it.
No unicorns are coming to whisk you away just because your partner is home…