Thursday, October 14, 2010

Love Life, Time Management, Comparative Advantage, and the Two-Career Household

We are a month into our new rhythm as a two-career, two-school household. It has been the norm for awhile for many of our closest friends, who I compare notes with to see how it can be done without losing one’s sanity. Common answer: fat chance.

All kidding aside, it has been interesting to see how Amy and I have adapted to the swirling maelstrom that is our life of two stressful jobs and two stress-inducing children, and to hear about the experiences of others in similar straits. One couple leans heavily on in-laws, another on babysitters, and yet another on kid-free getaways to stay healthy and invest in the marriage.

For Amy and me, I’d say it’s three things. First, we’ve made an effort since the beginning of this month to get on our knees and pray once the kids have gone to bed. Sometimes it’s just for two minutes, and sometimes it’s borne of more desperation than other times. But having even this short moment of contact and shared spirituality seems to give our partnership the necessary connection and refueling.

Second, we respect each other’s need for space. Being introverts, we need alone time, and know what it means for the other to need quiet space. Perhaps it is strange to suggest that our marriage is stronger because we make sure to leave each other alone, but for us it’s essential.

Third, we give ourselves fully to the household tasks that we’re good at, relieved that the other will do what is draining for us to do and glad to do our part to avoid our spouse having to do it. The fact that I do most of the dishes and finances and that Amy does all the cooking/cleaning/laundry/shopping is not a source of insecurity on the one hand or bitterness on the other, but rather a tangible way we can serve and be served. It helps that we both think we’re getting the better end of the deal.

The months to come will bring more level of difficulty than this first 30 days. Someone’s going to get sick, business trips or instructional conferences will throw things off, and colder weather may make the commuting routine more challenging. But, we pause to breathe a sigh of relief that the first month went OK, and that our marriage is intact and perhaps even a little stronger for it.
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