I was lucky to have my spouse come home a day early from her business trip. I have commented before on how large a change it is to manage travel schedules. However, I noticed that when I realized my wife would be home early, I stopped trying to be Superparent. I just put my activity level on pause and waited for her to come home.
The result of course was piled up dishes and bottles, a dirty house, clothes not put away and an over tired 3 year old hanging out with me on the couch at 10:00 PM. All of the daily tasks were easy to get a jump start on in the morning, but I was surprised by lack of motivation the previous evening. I often find myself doing the minimum to get by. Last night that meant re-heating leftovers, going to the park and taking baths. When I know everything is on my shoulders, I find myself moving at a steadier pace to get everything done and stay on schedule.
I haven’t thought about whether this is fair or not. My wife and I have a very ad hoc way of dealing with family responsibilities. We swap off dishes, baths, bedtime and errands haphazardly depending on who has more time. My wife cooks more often and I find myself cleaning more often. She shops for clothes and household goods and I shop more often for groceries. I usually drop off and pick up at day care, but she watches the kids by herself when I am off with sports or poker.
As a family we have a very good routine and either of us can step up to be Superparent for a couple of days. It was amazing how fast I went from Superparent to just keeping an eye on the girls for a couple more hours.