A ‘man cave’ is often described as a place of retreat for men; a sanctuary of privacy and quiet away from the noise and chaos of the rest of the home. The term is also commonly referred to as ‘manspace’, ‘mantuary’ and ‘manland’.
Having lived for years in a small apartment right in the heart of the city with 3 children and a dog, my husband has not had the privilege of having a physical man cave to call his own. I am certain that he is not the only one. However, not having an actual man cave has not prevented my husband from getting a healthy dose of cave-time.
Instead, he has made up for the lack of physical space by enjoying:
1. His throne room
It’s become an acceptable routine for my husband to enjoy a spot of alone time in the bathroom as soon as he gets home from work. This precious time is used to catch up on current affairs or the latest sports news, and helps him to recharge so that he comes out ready to be present with the family.
We have seen a definite correlation between my husband’s state of relaxation and time spent in his ‘cave’ (the bathroom, in this case). Even our children understand daddy’s need to be alone and know that when they give him a little space to unwind after work, they will receive his full attention after.
We have seen a definite correlation between my husband’s state of relaxation and time spent in his ‘cave’
2. Time with fellow dad friends
My husband is lucky to have found a good group of friends – most of them fellow dads – who enjoy time together over their common interest in craft beer, amongst other things! Their common interests have helped them build a foundation of friendship where they find support in each other through the struggles, challenges and triumphs of life.
This camaraderie between the men has spilled over to us wives who have also become friends. So now, apart from the guys having their regular hangouts, we also get together as families on occasion.
3. Engaging in hobbies
I have friends who spend their time collecting miniature replicas of cars. Others seek out rare toy figurines. Yet others spend their time building intricate dioramas. My husband enjoys discovering new music, playing sport, skateboarding and creating art. Engaging in these hobbies is therapeutic for him. It calms him down and renews his body, mind and soul.
My husband has even introduced our children to some of his hobbies and once in a while, they will enjoy their father-son or father-daughter time by skateboarding together. They have also befriended other fathers who go skateboarding with their children and recently had a casual skate outing encompassing just dads and their kids!
Engaging in his hobbies is therapeutic for him. It calms him down and renews his body, mind and soul.
While it sounds like my husband spends a good amount of time in his cave, I must say that cave-time in our family is not exclusive to my caveman. Just as I give him room to make time for himself, he too gives me time alone to recharge and reset. He frequently takes the children on outdoor adventures so that I can enjoy a spot of pampering over a manicure, a facial or quiet time with a good book and sometimes even an uninterrupted afternoon nap! My husband has even taken leave from work to look after the children (and the dog) so that I could enjoy a girlie trip away with my best friends.
Cave-time in our family is not exclusive to my caveman. Just as I give him room to make time for himself, he too gives me time alone to recharge and reset.
All of us need regular time for self-care to recharge and reset our minds, bodies and emotions from the busyness of our daily lives. If making time for cave-time helps my husband and I be better marriage partners and in turn, better parents to our children, then I’m all in!
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Do you have difficulty understanding and meeting your spouse’s needs? Connect2 is a marriage preparation programme for newlyweds to address common marital issues and challenges. Find out more at www.family.org.sg/c2
Sue-Ann Lee is a mother of three spirited and hilarious children who have nicknamed themselves, Rainbow Skye, Chubbs Salami and Fatt Spaghetti. Writing about her parenting experiences brings her great joy as it allows her to relive the many precious lessons learnt along the way.