I do it all the time. I set myself up for disappointment. Weekends are the worst in my family. The girls are home from school, children’s activities, family events or nothing at all is on the calendar. Here is how I set myself up.

J works long hours all week, with the average day being gone for nine hours. He comes each evening tired, dirty and exhausted. On the weekends I look forward to him being home. I tell myself that he can play with the girls and keep them entertained. He can take them to the park, he can teach A how to ride her bike without training wheels, he can help D with her karate and running for cross country. He can try to teach Q how to kick a soccer ball and change her diapers and do a day of potty training.

While he is doing all of that, I will be able to clean the kitchen and bathroom uninterrupted. I will be able to rest while watching TV or reading a book. I will have time to clean my own bedroom. This last one is important to me because we have not unpacked anything in our room since we moved in a month ago. And the girls keep adding to the stacks of boxes in my room, with no explanation as to why. I envision my weekends as a time when he will take all three of the girls out of the house and allow me a few hours of peace and quiet. Time where I can focus on my own pursuits and interests.

The reality of each weekend means he spends just as much time away from home or more than he does during the week. And when he is home, he is playing on his cell phone or falling asleep on the couch. Someone in his family always needs him to come over and help with something and of course, he cannot bring the girls with him. Or a friend needs help fixing their car and it is too dangerous to work on a car with young children running around. Or he is tired from a week that required 50 hours on the clock, so he needs to go out and have a social life, just to get away from responsibility because he feels cooped up at home.

I see less of him and the girls have less of his attention on the weekends than during the week. It is exhausting. While he is at work all week, I am at home cooking, cleaning and dealing with children. While he goes out most Friday nights, I am at home dealing with children, cleaning, balancing the checkbook, paying bills-Friday is payday. While he is away helping friends and family, I am at home with children, laundry, activities and general chaos. J fails to see how wore out I am becoming. Each attempt at a conversation with him on this topic, results in a fight. He yells at me and demands answers to questions like “what am I supposed to do with them?”. He does not make weekend plans that involve his children. The only weekend plans he makes are those that leave us at home.

During the last week, I have had a meltdown at least once each day. Sitting in my car or on the couch, crying my eyes out, screaming and yelling. I need a break! I need peace and quiet!! Today I told him that I just need ten minutes alone. No one talking to me, touching me, hanging on me, asking me questions. Within three minutes I was dealing with two of the girls, breaking up an argument about toys and reminding A to take her meds. He completely ignored this and just allowed me to handle it all. The more I try to discuss this problem with him, the more he shuts down and the more he leaves on the weekends.

Dinner is in the oven, most of todays dishes are, the kitchen floor has been swept, and the recycling and garbage have been taken out. I have no desire to eat dinner. I am not sure if I want to curl up in bed and hide from my family or if I want to sit on the couch and get drunk. Our calendar for tomorrow has a family event on it, I need to go shopping tonight because we are out of a few bathroom necessities. My hands will not stop shaking and my chest hurts so bad, breathing is difficult. The girls are loud and bouncing off the walls. They want to run and play. They want daddy to roughhouse with them. And he has plans for an adult social life tonight. If I am lucky, he will be home for three hours tonight. Otherwise, I am on my own. Lately I feel like a single parent with an annoying roommate.

Each weekend, I look forward to him being home and helping me. Reducing the stress I am under. Giving me a break from our children. And each weekend my expectations are never met.