This is something that is debated the world over, argued over in homes, discussed in playgroups, thought about wistfully in hot, stuffy offices, seethed over resentfully on fraught rainy days. I actually believe that there is no answer. It varies from day to day, mood to mood, job to job. If you compare a day working on a beach bar to taking two children with you for a much needed haircut, well, no contest, but equally pitting a perfect day of sunshine and ice-cream against a day of deadline angst in a highly pressured environment is a no brainer too.
I can only tell you about my day as I experienced it, on the surface, an idyllic summer day; hot sun, friends, a new place to explore. In reality though, it wasn’t really relaxing. There were the usual car wars on the way there, a gorgeous canal, (read: massive chance of death), and although we settled down for a picnic, with 5 children between us there was lots of wandering off, an accident of the soggy pants variety, a teeny baby needing cuddles, (seriously, that is definitely not a hardship where I’m concerned!), then a move to the water park. This resulted in lots of faff getting everyone changed and trying to coat all their wriggly bodies in suncream, then the usual in, out, in, out (luckily no shaking it all about, all the boys kept their shorts on for once!), of the entrance gate, back and forth for more food, to ask to go to the sandpit, to ask for towels, too cold, too hot, more cold, more food, more changing, then ice-creams, and then the post ice-cream crazy time behaviour that almost resulted in losing a couple to the murky depths of the canal.
A lovely play in the sandpit followed, with an amazing sand and water castle/tower with a pump at the top and loads of different channels and pipes to pour the water down, which was fab but again a constant of one child after the other getting stuck at the top, or the bottom, or somewhere in the middle! Dropped buckets, stolen spades, wishes to try things on the other side of the park all topped off with a complete melt down at leaving time and a then a fractious journey home with lots of tears and serious moans about the radio being on, or off, or too loud, too quiet, no trumpets in the song etc etc.
So in conclusion, I did have a cup of tea, (cold as per usual by the time I got to drink it), I did sit in the sun and chat to my friend but only in blocks of roughly 2 minutes and I am now exhausted but would I change it? I don’t think so, my children had a brilliant day, I got to watch them laugh and play and interact with their friends, I get to soak up almost every precious minute of the ever shorter time of their lives before I spend more time watching them disappear through those big school gates then actually with them in the week.
So although he had peace and a chance to drink hot tea, I know that that is what my husband misses most whilst working, is just having the opportunity to watch these little beings we created taking wonder in a ladybird, a funny shaped leaf, a really big bird poo, (unfortunately anything bodily function related causes great fascination at the moment!), and he’s a little bit jealous that I get to cuddle them and kiss grazed knees, feel their sticky little hand gripping mine with total trust in me as they clamber over the obstacle course.
I suppose for me, the biggest bonus of all is that he has missed them so much in the day, so we get home, he is fresh, not worn down and snappy like me, and he gladly relinquishes charge from me, he is thrilled to see them, and they him, he gives them a new energy and happily baths them and reads them a story without rattling through each page, not taking questions or observations as I would have.
He does get the worst of them though, the overtired, end of day tears and tantrums, especially bad if they’ve had a busy fun filled day as we have today.
So who has it best? It really can only be judged on a day by day basis in my opinion. Today I’d say me but actually I think we will both be looking forward to that moment of still when we can both sit down and enjoy the peace and calm of each other’s company, the ability to finish a conversation with a hot cup of tea……providing I don’t doze off embarrassingly early that is!