Day 92: Busy is relative. We adapt to the norm.

Dressing up as Mary Poppins. How could I miss this?

Busy is relative. Some people work 2 jobs, take care of their kids, and go to night school. When people are unemployed, retired, or just taking a break, they find ways to fill their days. I asked my retired uncle on Christmas day to describe a typical day in the life. It involved reading the newspaper, doing chores, making meals, grocery shopping, eating meals. He admits to being a bit bored, but I bet he feels to busy to volunteer or take on a second career (I didn’t press him on that). At this point in my journey, I don’t have any idea how I used to work 40 hours a week while finding time to sleep, eat square meals and not live in total squalor. I even used to fit in an occasional visit to the gym. I believe what got sacrificed was Melody.

Out of my previous 40 hour work week, I am on full mom duty from 7 – 9 am and then again from 1 – 5 pm. That’s 30 hours in a 5 day week. For that time I save $700 a month in childcare costs, equalling a meager “paycheck” of about $175 a week. Yet, I am not doing this for the money am I? This is one thing I have confirmed on this 100 days: Melody is better off and so am I. We will never get this time back and it’s priceless.

The hours I could do paid work is when Melody is in preschool: 20 hours a week. For the last 88 days I have been using my 20 “free” hours to exercise, shop, cook, clean and do household projects – what I used to do on weekends before Melody was born, and would try to squeeze in after she came. (Honestly! I don’t remember how I used to manage it) So as I stare down the end of my moratorium on paid work, I wonder, “How will I fit work into this life?”

Tom and I did some brainstorming the other night. We know I am unwilling to give up my 2 yoga classes a week (the other thing I learned from this 100 days). What I can give up is the household projects and grocery shopping on weekdays saving those chores for late nights and weekends like working folks do. I can use my Monday and Friday morning kid-free windows to work on a project (+8 hours). Then after dinner on Tuesday and Thursday nights, I can go into our home office and work from 6-10pm (+8 hours). To get to 20 hours I have to work another 4 hours on the weekend – there goes the household projects.

This math has been leaving me to question how hard I should really be seeking out paid work. I am torn. I want to be a part of the world that contributes to the gdp. I want to spend time making cool stuff with smart people. Yet, I don’t want to lose the equilibrium I have achieved.

So if busy is relative, I suppose I can slowly creep the slider up, and perhaps I won’t even feel it. I don’t have to flip a switch like I did when I left my job. I can dip my toe in and then take a breather. Then go in up to my ankles and so on. Sooner or later I will be swimming laps.

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3 thoughts on “Day 92: Busy is relative. We adapt to the norm.

  1. I very much enjoyed this post! I love to read about the negotiation, the determination, the honesty in how hard it is to parent – this is real life. “Busy is relative” is so very true. Keep posting!

  2. […] I may be starting a part-time contract on Monday – the first possible day I can take paid work. The schedule I described on Day 92 was read by someone who wanted to put it into practice. I will have a lot less time for little […]

  3. […] the links posted on Facebook and decided that his company could fulfill my requirements and the time I had available. I am excited about the mix of creativity, innovation, and technology at PPW, and I look forward to […]

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