good idea!

A Dad Explains How He And His Wife Give Each Other ‘Family PTO’

Just like at work, everyone needs regular breaks from parenting.

Originally Published: 
A man is going viral for sharing his "parents time off" plan.
@mattragland / Twitter / Getty / The Good Brigade

Most of us who have had a regular job know about PTO or paid time off. It makes sense for anyone who understands that hard work deserves rest and relaxation. Now, one family is extending the idea of PTO to their family, and they’re coining it “Parent’s Time Off.”

Dad of three and productivity expert Matt Ragland is taking some of what he’s learned as a business person and is applying it to his busy family life. It’s a system that allows both he and his wife to rest even with three boys bouncing off the walls.

“My wife and I are working on a family PTO (parent’s time off) plan,” he wrote on Twitter. “Here’s what we are starting with: 1 night per week, Half day weekend per month, One full weekend day per quarter.”

Each parent gets time alone, while the other one solo parents during their time away.

“Parenting little kids is one of the most meaningful parts of life, but the gift of time is one of the best ways to support your spouse,” he continued, to explain why they thought up this system. “We use these times to meet friends, sleep in, go camping, play golf (me), long runs (her), read and journal, or just chill. It’s hard to run life’s race on an empty tank, and these times are great ways to refuel and recharge.”

Down in the comments, he added that they also make sure to carve out time together, without kids, by using an occasional babysitter or help from grandparents.

Lots of people responded with all the things they like about this system.

“Love this,” one fellow dad wrote. “I think as parents, we often sacrifice our happiness, our time, and our priorities for our kids. And rightfully so. But sometimes it's important to refuel the tank so we can be even better parents (and partners) when it's that time.”

“It’s the best,” another dad wrote. “We do 1-2 weekends a year and the anticipation gives us 10x the energy in everyday life.”

“Excellent sentiment here,” another said. “People need to realize that having little moments like these MAKE you better parents. It really matters.”

A fellow dad entrepreneur, André Oliveira, added his family’s related plan, which they call a “personal day off” — although this version involves spending time alone as a couple, not alone alone.

“It's basically taking a day or an afternoon off every month or so, just to be together, alone, as a couple,” he explains.

A couple of people were more critical of the PTO plan.

“Good luck. Sometimes life and children are not quite that organized,” a mom commented. “Be flexible.”

Another person added how hard this would be to pull off with multiple kids in activities.

“Seeing this a lot and gl with this raised three boys and with just two in football while I was coaching that alone was six days a week for months,” one dad shared. “No way this would have been feasible unless our kids did nothing extra hope u figure out whatever u need to be happy I was happy.”

Either way, though, it’s super refreshing to see parents realizing that they can parent better if they can get rest every once in a while — just like every other job on earth. And it’s also refreshing to see a working dad make a plan with his mostly stay-at-home wife that allows both of them to get their fair share of time off. Family PTO for all!

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