We Have Each Other: What's More Important - Couple Time or Friends Time?

 

 
Life has been busy! Since last posting, I have resumed income work, am still enrolled in school and am experiencing all the mixed feelings and other tribulations of having a toddler in day care (partial translation: we are all sick a lot). Things are intense, but rewarding. My husband and I often reflect on how pleased and relieved we are that we do work (of both the income generating and the academic varieties) we enjoy and that is meaningful to us, making the personal benefits generally outweigh the stresses that come with having hectic schedules.
 
Lately, I have encountered so many different things I could vent about or ponder here. For example, I have certainly gained some interesting insights by having recently experienced both full-time parenthood and full-time doingotherworkaswellhood… but today these will have to be saved for another time, because they guarantee a very long post. Plus, another recent experience has been on my mind.
 
A few weeks ago, we had one of the craziest weeks ever. I can’t even remember now what made it so chaotic. (Which is a good reason to keep the Drama of the Moment in perspective - for it is usually just that.) It may have been the week we had something like two to three trying health issues at home, six related appointments with professionals, and an extra megaproject for school on top of the usual weekly load. Anyway, I remember so wanting to decompress from the week, but instead staying up until midnight on Friday after work to finish the school project, while feeling heaps of guilt and dread for having so thoroughly neglected the house for several weeks, particularly because at some point we had been so ambitious as to invite friends to dinner for twenty-four hours later. More than once, I considered canceling, disbelieving I could possibly pull off a presentable house and behave like a pleasant person after such a week. However, part of me realized that an evening with friends was probably exactly the stress relief we needed.
 

So, Saturday morning, I opened the windows, turned up some favorite music, and focused entirely on enjoying the process of beautifying the house for our entertaining pleasure that evening. Finally won over at this point in my life by my wise husband’s keep-it-simple philosophy, I rejected my natural masochistic urges to prepare a six-course dinner, instead throwing ingredients into the crock-pot for all day simmering and the delicious, home permeating aroma of a one-bowl meal, while Randy went to the store and bought some good bread and wine to accompany it; crackers, cheese, hummus and olives for an appetizer; and a frozen pie and ice cream for an a la mode dessert. Therefore, after filling the crock-pot at 10am, my dinner preparations were complete. Now I was free to clean the house at a nearly leisurely pace, relax in the shower, and look forward to our evening, which turned out wonderfully.
 
We all choose our work for different reasons. Of course, income is a factor. Hopefully it isn’t the only one. Personally, I have some lofty ideas about the sorts of social change I’d like to help bring about. But as passionate about, committed to, inspired or overwhelmed by our work as we might be, hopefully it doesn’t comprise much more than thirty percent of our lives. Another thirty percent or so must be spent sleeping, and the other third, hopefully, is reserved for a personal life. Having such a good time with our friends those few Saturday evenings ago was a reminder of the importance of keeping the purpose of our work and daily struggles in mind. Why do we go to work every day? Why do we need an income? Not just so that we won’t get fired, or will merely have a roof over our heads. Hopefully, amongst other things, we work to have the means with which to establish the home that should be our personal haven from the world, where we can spend time with and enjoy family and friends. We all know struggle and stress and disappointment and doubt and exhaustion and frustration... These are inevitable elements of the human experience. But we can discover, enjoy, support and nurture one another along the way. I am so glad Randy and I didn’t miss the opportunity to see our friends simply because we'd had a challenging week; it helped me recharge for another few. Whatever else we have in life, the most important thing we have is each other.  
 
- Sarah

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