My husband* announced this week that he was planning on going to see his friend in another town 3 hours away for the weekend sometime this month. I'm not usually the controlling type when it comes to his free time but as the mother of two and a doula, I had a freak-out moment because this month I'm on call for a birth.
Ah, yes, the old dilemma...maybe it's a missed date night, a weekend away, an important function at your child's school or just a night of being alone with a bath that you sacrifice when being on-call. Certainly, finding ways to bank the relationship kudo point with the DP (dear partner) when it comes to juggling the lifes demands and wishes -- after all he didn't sign-up to be a doula--is one of my new year's resolutions.
So here's my top ten list for banking kudos for those important people who go on-call when you do.
#10. Money. In a down ecomommy (yes that's spelled right), this will work with almost anyone, including my five-year old (for his new discovery of Pokemon) and DH (for his online gaming guilt-free)
#9. Bonuses. You can have an extra one (cookies, nights out, etc)....when I'm not on-call
#8. Lavish thank you notes (you are my hero!)
#7. Be a "midwife" for a night. I have a friend who says doulas work from the waist up and midwives work from the waist down. Tell your DP that if (s)he's being your doula, well then you can be his/her midwife...(well, you get the innuendo, I think I can stop there...)
#6. Dinner! Slide in your "I'm sorry honey, but I'm on-call, so I need your support in watching the kids and I'm so grateful to you for delaying your guy-weekend" while you slide over the mashed potatoes with truffle oil. Or in my husband's case (in our dairy-free household) the home-made macaroni and cheese works too..
#5. Tickets to the "Man Park". Yes, if your DP is a man, then this ticket to Germany's Disneyland For Dudes will rock his world. Playing with backhoes, atv's and loud machinery. A great article in Wired Magazine will give you all the details!
#4. Ticket's to any of Portland's equivalent venues...The Avalon Theater for music or Regal Cinemas or even a GC to Powells' for a night out with his cell-phone can make an on-call month just as enjoyable when given an kid-free opportunity of escape.
#3. Surpise him with getting a back-up for them once in awhile. ie. I called your mother to come stay with us while I'm on-call and you are at your boys weekend. I'm sure she'll just love to see the kids! When he says "Cool!"....
#2. Suggest that next time you go away (most likely to a birth ie to work!) you can have your mother come stay with him and the kids while you are away so he'll have the support too. He might just change his plans all on his own.**
#1 To those really stubbon partners...OFFER DP a FREE TO GOOD HOME Deal. DP will most surely get the drift.
(When all else fails you can leave this little ad that was running around online by the bedside with the note...Gee honey, my doula work is not just a "pet project"...
*This was written expressly with the men in our lives in mind, so please excuse any gender specific comments for they were intended.
**Grandmother-Disclaimer. We love-love-love our mothers and love their (uh...)conditional support of our doula-family. Thanking them in advance for our allowance of humor when it come's to the old "in-law's" joke.