by Devora Krasnianski, founder of Adai Ad Institute
What to do on Benny’s day off?
Benny has long days. He awakes at 6:30 to fit in some exercise and then davens before his long commute to work. At work, he is swamped, with no time for a proper lunch. He is often on his feet or hopping from meeting to job site to next meeting. It is stressful. He usually comes home around 6:30 and spends some time with the kids and participates in bedtime before he goes out for maariv.
Shira works part time. Her day starts at 6:30 too, when the youngest child wakes up. And then it is dressing the kids, making lunches, serving breakfast, checking backpacks, bus stops, carpooling and dropping off the baby at the babysitter. She works until 2. Then, she picks up the baby, does errands, and comes home to make dinner, feed the kids, homework and bedtime.
Benny will be having a day off next Monday (let’s say it’s a legal holiday).
Benny: I finally have a day off. That means I can wake up a bit later to join a later minyan and then have a day to relax. I‘ll be able to catch up on some emails, learn a little, meet up with some friends for lunch, and then relax some more.
Shira: Benny finally has a day off. That means that he can finally be around one morning to help me with the morning rush, so my day is not as frazzled as it usually is. If he goes to the supermarket and picks up the baby from the babysitter, then I can finally have 90 minutes to relax today and just do whatever it is I want.
A perspective: 48 hours in a couple’s day.
2 people x 24 hours = 48 hours in a couple’s day to accomplish everything to run a family and keep healthy and sane.
For him: 8 hours – bedtime & sleep. 1 ½ hour – morning routine & davening. 9 hours – work. 1 ½ hours – commute (45 minutes each way). 1 hour – decompressing after work & maariv. 1 hour – family and household chores. That’s 22 hours of the day. That leaves 2 hours for wiggle room and random tasks like paying bills, exercise, catching up on emails.
For her: 8 hours – bedtime & sleep. ½ hour – her own morning routine. 1 hour – frantic morning rush. 5 hours – work. 1 hour – commute. ¾ hour – drop off & pick up baby from babysitter. 2 hours – housework and errands. 4 hours – evening rush (dinner, homework, family time, bedtime). That leaves less than 2 hours for wiggle room and random tasks like catching up with family and friends, exercise, fixing the inevitable mishap.
With such busy schedules, they are both exhausted. Of course, both look forward to those hours of Benny’s day off.
A possible discussion:
Shira: “I’m so happy – for both of us – that you have this day off. You so need the rest. I am hoping that some of those hours can be used to make my day a little easier too. What might be a reasonable schedule for that day so we can both have much deserved rest?”
Another possible discussion:
Benny: “I’m so happy – for both of us – that I have this day off. I want to start my day a little later and sleep in a little. After that I want to give you a few hours for yourself. What can I take off your daily load to make your day a bit easier?”
Both Benny and Shira get some time to recharge on that day. Perhaps, even more important, they approached the day off from a mindset of partnership, which deepened their relationship.