I’m writing this at 35,000 feet and more than 2,000 miles from home. It seems like this is the only way I have time to write any more. Which, of course, is a notion that most sensible people reject pretty quickly. I’m first in line for the idea that people find time for the things most important to them.
Nothing is more boring than reading about (or writing about) not writing. I just say all of that as a way to set up the thoughts I’m trying to work out, which is to figure what I’m doing so differently in the past year that my “discretionary” time totally vanished.
Every work day looks more or less the same. I get up pretty early, get ready for work, and take the boys to school. I come home shortly before dinnertime. I play with the guys. We eat dinner. Then we realize we’re already behind on the bedtime routines. The boys go to bed too late too often, and it’s because I’m trying to cram in too many things with them in those precious evening hours. When they go down, I go down. I know I could make myself get up. But right now I’m getting enough sleep and I desperately want to protect that. I can’t go to work groggy and off my game. Which is why Damon always takes the lead when Elliot wakes up at night. I wish it was me, though. Sometimes I hear him wailing, “Mommy!” in the middle of the night and I go up, because who woulnd’t? But that’s not how it usually goes.
Cutting back on time with Alden and Elliot can’t be the answer. I already don’t get enough time with them. And who could deny these faces?!
But really, imaginary working-outside-the-home moms of the world who are reading this, what sweet ninja time management moves am I missing? I used to write. I used to read books. I used to see TV shows. I swear I can’t put my finger on what has changed so much. Something clearly has, though. Sheryl Sandberg? Anne Marie Slaughter? Anyone?
I definitely dither around on my phone, but that’s always filling in minutes here and there. It’s not like I’m spending whole free hours checking Facebook. The phone may be part of it, but probably not enough to make a big difference even if I went cold turkey.
Weekends are better. I could obviously make gains there. We spend a lot of time outside, swinging in the hammock, going out for pizza, walking. Even with all that, though, I could probably still carve more out for myself if I got a little more structured and a little more willing to say ‘no’ to some things I really don’t want to do. I’m actually pretty good at saying ‘no.’ I just need to remind myself to do that. Is finding a few hours two days of the week really the best I can hope for, though?