Or is ‘ME’ time really short for ‘MEN’ time?
We have all heard the idioms:
– Fix your oxygen mask first, before helping others.
– You can’t pour from an empty glass.
– You need to have ‘me’ time in order to be your best self.
This is all true, however, a lot of men I talk with tend to be quite generous with the ‘me’ time they give themselves.
Perhaps overgenerous. And I wonder about their female partners, who are usually looking after the kids whilst this me time is enjoyed.
Some play sports or go bike riding. Some have regular nights out. Some frequent the gym. Some like to work on their cars, or in the garden. The list goes on.
None of this is bad.
Recently I was talking with a good friend who rides regularly. He has a young family – same as me – and I was lamenting about how I would love to join him for a ride or a run, but I was finding it so difficult to fit the time in.
He responded with something along the lines of “You just need to make the time. It makes you a better dad, husband etc.” And then he used the oxygen mask analogy.
The reality is though when he is out for a ride (often 2-3 hours each time), his wife is home with 3 young kids.
There is no equivalent ‘her’ time – at least not as visible or structured.
She has often joked that she should tally up the ride time and cash it in for a couple of months in Fiji. Whilst she jokes, I sense she may still really want to cash in a bit (or a lot) of the time she has earned.
And this is a common occurrence amongst the fathers within my network. Regular – perhaps excessive – ‘me’ time at the expense of their partners getting some time for themselves.
The large majority of these men are employed full-time, whilst their partners may work part-time hours, and almost all of these men out-earn their partners.
By contrast, I hear from women that their ‘me’ time often includes doing the grocery shopping alone – 30mins of child-free time at the shops is cherished.
Compare that to the ride every Saturday morning that goes for 2-3hours. Or the round of golf every Sunday. Or the regular Friday night out with mates.
Does bringing in more money, give the entitlement to more ‘me’-time?
Yes, fix your oxygen mask first, but make sure you aren’t taking all the oxygen.
True, you can’t pour from an empty glass, but that doesn’t mean your glass needs to overflow, whilst your partner is running on empty.
Being your best, whilst your partner is struggling, isn’t really you at your best.
Equality starts at home.
Whatever ‘me’ time you are taking, make sure that it is equal to the ‘me’ time that your partner is getting.
With research consistently showing that mothers take on the lion’s share of caring and household duties, it is worth taking a deeper look at where both of you are spending your time each week.
Maybe it’s time to do an audit.