Is scheduling downtime from parenting healthy?

posted 6 days ago in Parenting
Post # 3
788 posts
Busy bee

Very healthy!! We do this – we alternate who gets up in the morning with the kids, and who puts the last kid to bed (twins go to bed at 7, our daughter at 8).  We also make sure to affirmatively schedule evenings out – so last night I had dinner with a friend, so I left while my husband was putting the twins to bed.  Saturday, he is going out with a friend so I’ll do all 3 kids.  

I think that when you DON’T schedule it, you definitely risk what you suggested – one parent is better about taking time for themselves and then resentment sets in.  

Post # 4
4452 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

We alternate too, and it’s never been a “it’s your turn” kinda thing: there’s two of us so it’s pretty easy to figure out if you didn’t do something last night you do it tonight. We alternate on who puts each kiddo to bed (as one is far far easier), and who gets up on weekends with them.

Our kids are potty trained so diapers aren’t really a concern, but in terms of “unfun” stuff, like wiping their bum, it’s always been wheoever is close/with them….that’s not really something either of us has really kept track of.

I think picking a night in advance could be a great thing, as it will “guarantee” you that slot if you want to go out, or make plans. Pre-COVID my husband played basketball every Tuesday and Wenesday was my night. Sometimes I’d go out with friends, sometimes I’d wander HomeSense solo, and sometimes I’d just go in our room and read or relax. It’s nice to have that time you know you have that you can use to recharge how you’d like. I’d argue once you have a newborn you’ll probably feel you need it even more as they’re so demanding of your time/energy.

Post # 5
7991 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

we divide in a different way, but one that works for our family.

i do have more of the childcare responsiblity, but my husband grocery shops, meal plans, cooks all the food, and cleans the kitchen every night.  he also preps the kids school lunches and snacks for the next day. 

but we also absulutely make time for ourselves.  i would say, i’m going on a long run saturday morning, you are on kid duty.  or he’ll tell me he has a zoom call during bedtime so i’m doing double duty for bed.  (typically, i get them brushed and in pjs, he takes older and i take younger for their bedtime routine, then we’ll go into the other kid’s bedroom to say good night also)

taking care of yourself is part of being a great mom.

Post # 6
9416 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

Divvying it up and getting your own down time is super important! My husband and I just had this issue come to a head because he has 2 set nights a week where he has plans with friends (virtually, but still we leave him be in his office) and I had nothing. He kept telling me that if I make plans then he’ll handle the kids, but the issue is all of my friends are in the same mom boat as me and it’s impossible to get a set night every week for us to get together. Plus I don’t want to need outside plans in order to get some time off! Having a date with myself is just as valid as having a date with my best friend. I declared my one night a week that I get off and taking that time for me. Right now it’s sort of aimless “huh…what are my hobbies?” time but mama is working on finding herself again.

My husband does housework and childcare, but I’m definitely the manager and have to do a lot of reminding so my physical and mental load is higher. We’re working on it. But taking time for myself makes me a better mom and wife.

Post # 7
7992 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 1997

We divided things differently, but that was because I was a sahp. So when Dh came home, he basically took over child care. That wasn’t solely for me, but also because otherwise he would have had very little time with the kids. He happily did the bathtime and bed routine much of the time, but it was never a resentful, “It’s YOUR turn” when we switched. He also often took the kids out on a weekend day, so I had the day to myself. Again, it wasn’t because I specifically asked him to or that it was an agreement, he just wanted to take them somewhere and I needed some rest!

As the kids got older and I went back to teaching, Dh takes the kids to most appointments outside of school, while I take care of everything school-related. They don’t need much help otherwise anymore!

Post # 8
3931 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

View original reply
@bear123:  I think it’s definitely healthy to get some time away.  It’s best not to have a “I’m doing more than he is, I am the one who deserves time off!” perspective.  When you each start resenting that the other isn’t doing enough and doing tit-for-tat, it can lead to issues very easily. Of course this requires that the other partner IS doing enough, which a lot of men do not.

It’s fine to switch off though.  We switch off getting up with my son in the middle of the night.  We both feel that the other parent is doing a great job being engaged with our toddler and helping bear the load of parenting/house work, so there’s no resentment about whose turn it is or whatever.  (I guess I’m “lucky” in that my husband is a very involved dad and also does a lot of cleaning and tidying, but really that’s how all dads should be…..)

While I think family time with both parents engaged with the kiddo is important, no, you don’t have to both watch your child play.  Carving out some time for chores or alone time during those times is fine and healthy.

Post # 9
483 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

I definitely recommend doing this! I think back to my first, when both my husband and I did bedtime together every night. It was great family time, but wow, I should have really taken some more nights off! We just had our third, and we now split it where I get the kids up weekday mornings, he gets them up weekend mornings, I do 95% of baby tasks, and he does bedtime for the older two (a major chore). Knowing that I’ll have some downtime after dinner is picked up, even if it’s with the baby in tow, is so key for me at the end of the day. Otherwise we just try to tag-team, but given that he is a major offender with regards to those I-just-need-five-mins-and-now-its-been-an-hour moments, I probably keep track of the time more than others do. 

Post # 10
326 posts
Helper bee

Of course it is healthy to schedule downtime. 

Post # 11
3697 posts
Sugar bee

Very healthy and important to have downtime and a break. We don’t have rigid schedules like tonight is my turn for bedtime and the next is his – we just sorta go with the flow on that, so sometimes we tag team it and other times not. But at least a couple times a week one or both of us will need some time “off” and we def support each other in taking those breaks.

Sorta related, something that’s helped me a ton in the last year as we had our second baby is Janet Lansbury’s “RIE” approach. It can kinda be boiled down to, “do less, enjoy more.” I have felt so much less anxiety as a parent since I started following her and implementing her approach in my parenting – def worth checking out her site and her FB/IG!

Post # 12
207 posts
Helper bee

View original reply
@bear123:  Yes, definitely healthy! All week, my husband and I alternate who gets up with our 22 month old and who puts him to bed. He’s at daycare during the week. Sat & Sun, we split the days, e.g., DH does wakeup to Naptime, and I do afternoon and bedtime. Our son is very high energy, so the schedule gives each of us not only a break from having to manage that energy, but also a chance to have our own time to pursue our interests (e.g., house projects for my husband, working out and reading for me). I’m pregnant with our second, though, so I’m not sure how things will shake out once there’s a second kid to manage!

Post # 13
2771 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2019

We are only 6 weeks in with our first, but YES to scheduling! There’s such a weird stigma against scheduling things, and I think that’s detrimental. You see the same thing with non-kid things, like dates/sex/who cooks dinner which nights/etc. Scheduling, IMO, allows you to relax and know that the things that are important to you are going to happen, be it making sure you have some intimacy during a busy season of life or making sure that you have two nights a week to yourself and two nights a week of quality family time that happens, no matter what. 

Anyhow, I’m on mat leave and my husband is back at work (and unfortunately it’s been brutal for him to catch back up after 5 weeks off), so our splitting looks like this: I’m obviously on baby duty from 7:30-4:15, when he’s gone. When he’s home, he does all the diapers. On weekends, he does a few pumped bottles a day so that I can make a coffee and go pump in peace while watching TikTok/internetting/youtubing without a tiny human affixed to me. From 4:30-9, he tends to be the primary parent for rocking/holding/soothing (our baby is a hellion at night), and most nights I’ll take a long bath with a glass of wine while he wrangles our screaming/colicky baby. At night we co-sleep, so we both sleep really well, and he sets an alarm for ~1:30-2 to change his diaper. He gets up at 4:45 and will get the baby up if he’s ready to go (baby, like dad, is a morning person) for the day, and they hang out for awhile (either until baby needs to eat, or until DH needs to go for a run). DH’s downtime is running (he is training for a half), and he squeezes in some short walks at work. 

Anyhow, I know we’ll have to figure it all out again once I’m at work. It’s hard to split things super evenly when one of you is home and nursing (bottles don’t really help since I’d have to get up and pump), but it’s been a good balance so far! 

Post # 15
1487 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

Part of this comes down to personality. DH and I don’t advance-schedule but we definitely divide and conquer.

I’m the personality type where I struggle not hanging with our LO if I’m home and not actively engaged in something else (e.g. work) while DH is the personality type where he can read a book / start a work out / toodle around doign his own thing with ease.

I therefore get my “me” time through out of the house commitments (e.g. going to the barn to see my horse, meeting friends, etc) and will confirm with him that he can be on kiddo-duty for those times. That’s probably ~2 nights a week. Then ~2 nights a week I’m on point for kiddo so DH can have some protected ‘me’ time. The balance of the nights we play by ear and will check-in with each other on how we’re each feeling based on sleep, job stresses, etc. Then we’ll divide and conquer. There’s no ‘keeping track’ but if one of us starts to feel like they need to be cut a break we ask for that break: “I’m super beat and grumpy – do you mind doing bed time tonight?”

Mornings are a bit more ‘wild west’ around here and we haven’t cracked how to more equitably manage them…but it’s a learning curve!

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