Tuesday, November 21, 2017

What do you do all day?

That's a good question.

When I resigned from my job, I thought I was going to have all this free time.  I could clean.  I could organize closets and drawers that have been neglected for years.  I could read.  I could nap.  I could run.  I could sew.  And I would still have free time.

This has not happened.

I thought I would be adding 50+ hours a week to my life by not working.  I was physically at work for at least 40 hours a week and I spent at least 10 hours a week commuting.

Unfortunately, that thought process is flawed.

I did take away 50+ hours of commuting and working, but a lot of that has been replaced with things I didn't have time for when I was employed.  Instead of getting up at 6:00 in the morning, I roll out of bed (almost always unwillingly because I am not a morning person) at 7:00.  That's 5 more hours of sleep a week.  I spend over an hour each morning helping the girls get ready for school and then driving them to school.  That's about 7 hours a week.  Once I pick the kids up from school, there isn't time for much aside from homework, snacks, dance and dinner (all things I mostly missed out on before) until they go to bed.  I can sometimes fit in a load of laundry.

This leaves the time the girls are in school as "free" time.  And if you stay at home, you know it's not all free.  It's a bit scary how quickly that time disappears too.  The girls are in school for six hours a day but I have approximately 5.5 hours at home because I drive them to and from school.  I leave much earlier than I need to for pickup in order to find a decent parking spot.

What do I do with those 5.5 hours?

I eat breakfast and lunch at home.  The time to prepare, eat and clean up both meals is about an hour.  This includes whatever cleaning up remains from the girls' breakfast and lunch/snack preparation.

So now I'm down to 4.5 hours.

When I exercise, there goes an hour an a half.  Add another 30 minutes to shower and dry my hair and there goes 2 hours.

So now I have 2.5 hours.

Some days I prepare dinner or a portion of dinner while the girls are in school.  This could take up 30 minutes, or it can eat up an hour.

There are also appointments, errands, and school meetings/volunteering.

I'm finding that blogging uninterrupted during the day seems to work better for me.  I used to blog at night when I was winding down from the day but now there are too many distractions.  I joke that from 8:00 to 9:00 there's a revolving door of children as they settle for the night.  Rich often turns on the TV and we try to have adult conversations here and there.  Blogging during the day feels more productive to me.

I fully admit that I am not the most productive person while the girls are in school.  Thank goodness I hardly ever watch TV.  Can you imagine if I was addicted to Netflix?  I'd never get anything done!  I'm never bored though.  If I was, maybe my closets would be cleaned out.

So you see where I'm going with all this.  Being at home doesn't equate to 40+ hours a week of "free" time.  That being said, you cannot compare this to the job I held.  These are two completely different animals.  I don't have to answer to anyone but my family.  I'm not torn in two directions.  I no longer hold two diverse roles.  It's a less stressful life.  

What do you do all day?


Katie said...

I homeschool (I have triplet daughters and a son). All the planning, researching, preparing, teaching, etc. that goes with that. And I teach a class in our weekly co-op group that requires preparation hours. I cook our meals, help my daughters practice their instruments (beginner violin is very dependent on parental involvement), take care of our home and our bills and our two cars, act as chauffeur to ballet and piano and violin lessons, and so on.

You’re right; you’d think not having an outside job would automatically make plenty of free time, but it doesn’t. I don’t mind, though. I really love our life.

Marcia (123 blog) said...

I had a 4-month sabbatical about three years ago. My husband dropped the kids at pre-school but I'd collect them at 1.30.

So I had just short of 6 hours a day.

I like to get things done so I had some things I wanted to tick off a list during those times every day besides eating and breakfasting.

I blogged, wrote a 20-part e-course on time management, took and edited photos, Konmari'd my house, and met friends for tea on some days.

My afternoons were for the children and house things. So I never did meals in the morning because I saw that as a big block of time to get deep work done that I couldn't surrounded by 4 - 5 year olds.

I did this then, but I still do so now - I make a list of just 3 things to get done. Some days that was to go to an optometrist appointment, sort out kids' clothes and write a blog. But I always felt mildly accomplished even if I just wrapped a birthday present :)

Enjoy this time, Sarah. I always think so fondly of my time back then.

lesley said...

Things have changed in the past 2 years. Like you, I pulled out of the work force(I'm an RN). After working that very stressful job for 25 years and raising 3 children as a single parent, they are grown now and I am home now with my youngest who is severely disabled with BPAN. She is 21. I do not miss the stress at all. I am a homebody, so this suits me. This last year I was able to finally lose the 40 pounds I was carrying. So that's good. Now trying to keep it off(not easy).
All day long, what do I do? Well, I do everything twice, haha. Once for me and once for my girl. I get up, I get her up. I get dressed, I dress her. I eat, I feed her. I brush my teeth, I brush hers. You get the idea. This takes up the whole day, this living twice thing. I can barely cram it all in, lol. Also, its physical work to lift, roll and adjust her all day long, so I have to pace myself. The bathing routine requires a half-time break. So, I'm busy and do not get bored. I'm thankful for the internet as a way to connect with people, otherwise I would be too isolated. We do get out here and there as she enjoys the mall and restuarants and afternoon excursions, also I have errands to do. But that's a lot of work too as it requires multiple lifts in and out of the wheelchair. So i stagger those days too. I think that after the rat race of nursing and all the stress it brought to me, this life is a relief. I don't know what the future holds but I am actually happy for the first time in many many years.
People would look at my life and think various things, as they might look at yours or anybody's. We have to do what works for us and our family. Even us 'stay at home moms' are very very busy. It's amazing how fast our days are filled.

Bree at Clarity Defined said...

I loved this post. I've never asked "what do you do all day?" to someone because as a former nanny, I recognize how quickly how those "free" hours go. Shoot, even as someone currently holding a full-time job (and a very part-time job too), I feel that disappearing time each weekend.

Aimee said...

My three kids are at school but instead I do home-based childcare and look after babies and preschoolers between 8am & 5.30pm. I'm not sure what my husband thinks I do all day with them, I think he assumes it's like having our bigger kids at home and they occupy themselves so I could be cleaning and doing paperwork-y things. Hahaha yeah right I think he's forgotten what it's like to have littlies under your feet all day. I love my job and I also study from home (equivalent to full-time hours) towards becoming an early childhood teacher. After school and during the school holidays I can have as many as 7 kids in the house, so yeah there's not a lot of housework-ing happening unless I can convince my big kids to help out. We both love that I can be available for our kids all the time and we don't have to pay mega-bucks for holiday programs and after school care any more.

Tina said...

I'm loving revisiting your blog - I used to be an avid follower years ago when I had two daughters. But then a 3rd daugther came, and my life got so crazy.. and then a 4th came! I'm having a great time playing catch-up. ;)

I run a home daycare, and my oldest 3 girls are in school. So I totally relate to time and how it pretty much just disappears during the day. I spent the vast majority of my days catering to everybody else and their needs and schedules.