Running on fumes.
You can call it what you want. It's those times when you just really don't feel like being a parent anymore. There used to be days when I didn't feel much like being married either, so I figured this wasn't unprecedented or that somehow I'd failed. I assumed it just meant something was out of balance. This time around I don't think it even had anything to do with the kids, I think it was just me being stressed out and/or exhausted and/or needing more 'Daddy alone time' than was available. Regardless, what made this weekend a little more interesting was that it was obvious Chris was going through the same thing. We were both drained... treading water... on fumes... whatever.
So we, very intentionally, tag-teamed for nearly 72 hours straight. One parent would come in, the other would go out (sometimes literally, sometimes just mentally) and try to recuperate a bit before the next shift. We weren't rude or obnoxious about it, but we certainly weren't subtle either. The kids began to realize it about midway through this little relay-race and started requesting 'everybody family together' activities. But mommy and daddy were buddy breathing, so getting all four of us together wasn't really an option.
Buddy breathing is a scuba emergency technique where two people share one tank. When one person is breathing, the other is holding their breath, and it only works if both people stay calm.
So we did. We acknowledged the situation and found solutions. Chris carved out time for me which I spent mostly sleeping. (A man's gotta do, what a man's gotta do...) And she got some reading done and some much needed and deserved quiet house time. The kids probably feel like they got short changed a bit, but it was much better than any number of alternatives.
By the end of the weekend we were all able to get together and head back into our normal routine of corrupting our children's value system. And really, what better way to bond with your children AND introduce them to the finer points of American culture than plopping them in front of classic Knight Rider episodes?
It wasn't pretty but we survived unscathed and ready to face the new week. Sometimes breaking even is actually getting ahead.