My week: The highs, the lows

photo-139I logged my time again last week again. I could make an argument that it wasn’t typical in the sense that I didn’t work Monday (our nanny was on vacation). But long-time readers will not be surprised to learn that, despite the day “off,” I still worked…wait for it…49.5 hours.

In other words, despite the week being atypical, my work total fell within 1 hour of the other 3 weeks I logged over the past 6 months. It’s uncanny. Because I didn’t work Monday, I wound up working a full 7 hours on Sunday. I also did some work most nights. While I’d prefer to work Monday through Friday during normal work hours, I can’t always make my 49 hours happen during those slots. So I do what I can.

It was a good week. With the weather warming up (before our St. Patrick’s Day snowfall today), I squeezed in a few 30 minute runs outside. I’m getting good at identifying an open half hour, changing clothes during a 5-minute break at some other point, and then racing out the door as soon as I’m off the phone or turn something in. I want to do this more often, and go for longer, once the weather is nicer, but I’m trying not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

I slept a little more than usual: 54.5 hours. This included a half hour nap on Monday while my 4-year-old slept (he hadn’t gotten enough sleep the night before with the whole Daylight Savings thing) and my 2-year-old watched Peter Rabbit. I don’t like the Peter Rabbit show, but boy am I happy it exists.

I logged some quality time with each of the kids:

– My 6-year-old had his parent-teacher conference, and he participated in this one. I learned that he is a joy to have in class, which I was glad to have confirmed! The 6-year-old had 2 playdates, and I’m enjoying getting to know his friends’ parents and had some time in the car with him during playdate shuttling.

– My 4-year-old was upset that my shuttling the 6-year-olds to playdates meant I missed lunch on Friday (it was a half day at school), so we had lunch together a little later, and read together. He also helped me bake banana bread on Tuesday night.

– I naturally spent a lot of time with the 2-year-old as I had her all day Monday and Sunday. I took her for her first hair cut on Monday (she was such a big girl!) and I took her to Gymboree art class. She and I and her big brother played outside on Monday afternoon for quite a while. We went swimming together on Sunday.

My parents and my little brother came to visit over the weekend, and we did some fun family activities. We all went to the Sixers game on Friday night. We got cheap tickets through the YMCA basketball league my sons play in, but if they’re supposed to learn how to play basketball by watching the Sixers, possibly the Y should rethink this. We watched them extend the league’s longest losing streak!

My parents left on Saturday, but my brother stayed, and it was nice to have a 3rd adult around to help keep track of 3 kids at the Please Touch Museum’s Storybook ball. We didn’t lose anyone. He also helped my husband with the two boys went they went skiing Sunday.

There is room for improvement, of course. I’d like to exercise more. I’d like to spend more one-on-one time with my 4-year-old. I got extremely frustrated on Monday night when I wound up taking all 3 kids to Cub Scouts. My daughter was getting tired (she hadn’t napped) and commenced throwing things. While part of my frustration was that my husband wasn’t around to do his half of the 3-kid logistics, I should have anticipated this, and either hired a sitter to take the younger two, or asked another parent to take my 6-year-old to the meeting.

My husband and I didn’t spend much solo time together but we have a date night planned for next week.

I’ve been tallying my numbers, and I will likely use this particular log in the Mosaic database. I’d been worried it might be “atypical” but as it turned out, it really wasn’t. In case anyone’s curious, I did 4.0 hours of housework. I exercised for 3.0 hours, read for 7.5 (though some of that overlaps with work), and watched 0.5 hours of TV.

EARLY WAKE UP CHALLENGE: Day 1 went well. I showered last night and got up at 6 a.m. I got in a solid 90 minutes of work before anyone got up. I plowed through several time logs, and I feel like I’m making progress. 13 down, 88 to go! Plus the other 40 that will come in soon…



12 Responses to My week: The highs, the lows


  1. Anjanette says:

    Very interesting, Laura! I know from reading your blog that we tend to overestimate time spent on housework, but 4 hours sounds very low for a whole week. I am wondering if it’s a combo of sharing chores and outsourcing on your part, if you’re just super-efficient– even with a cleaning service once per week I *think* I do double that. I will have to log my own time and check I guess!

    I’ve never done a whole week of logging my time, mostly because I get stymied by keeping track of multitasking activity periods and all that “contaminated” time (I have 4 kids and I homeschool 2 of them). I suppose seeing all that in black and white is revelatory in itself as far as learning how to use time better and think a few moves ahead though. Anyway, thanks for sharing!

    • Laura says:

      @Anjanette – thanks for your comment! I probably am on the low side, though as I’m looking at the Mosaic logs, I have a few 4.5, 5, and 6 hour weeks from people. It’s a few things: outsourcing (our housekeeper comes for 4 hours twice a week, and she is massively more efficient than I would be), sharing chores (husband does some of it), and having fairly relaxed standards. It does not bug me that the play room is messy right now, and there are puzzles on the living room floor, whereas I know that some people feel they can’t sleep in a messy house.

      And yes, multi-tasking does make it hard to label time, but some people just put “kid time.” Or they put categories within it: kid time (physical care), kid time (school work), etc. Or it becomes a nudge to try to focus on one thing for 30 minutes (or even 15 minutes) at a time!

      • Anjanette says:

        Thanks for elaborating– for better or for worse, my standards are pretty low, so I am always interested to see if I could be doing less somehow! More hired housecleaning isn’t in the cards for me at this point, but I definitely need to train my husband and my kids to do more.

      • H says:

        Laura-what does your housekeeper do when they come? Ours comes once every other week and I am trying to decide if we up it or not. I’m always looking for other things to outsource, but when I consider increasing the frequency, I think “oh, we don’t need it that much”.

        • Laura says:

          @H – laundry (clothes and linens), picks things up, and cleans, mops, vacuums. The twice a week frequency means we almost never do laundry except when she’s gone or we have a disaster of some variety. Also, she knows us and knows our house and where things go so we don’t need to pick up before she comes. As I look at logs, a lot of people have entries for cleaning before their cleaning service comes. We don’t need to do that.

  2. Calee says:

    I love how getting up at 6 was 90 minutes before your kids. I have to be up at 4 to make that happen. And there is nothing fun about 4 am.

    • Laura says:

      @Calee- no there is nothing fun about 4 a.m. Just so you know it’s not all peaches and light over here, my kids were up until 10 p.m. last night. That’s why they sleep until 7:30. If they went to bed at 8 like normal children, they’d probably be up at 5:30. Tonight it was 9 p.m., but still.

  3. Alison says:

    I really admire you getting up at 6 for yourself! I just blogged today about how I am grateful (mostly) that I have an early riser because he has turned me into a morning person. I never succeeded before the child alarm.

    • Laura says:

      @Alison – the kids turned me into an early riser too. Now even when I’m away from them I have trouble staying up late and sleeping in. I think I heard the phrase once that parents stop being able to sleep just as their kids start being able to. It’s not entirely true for me (I sleep fine) — but the hours have definitely shifted.

  4. Ana says:

    I was struck by the low “housework” hours, too. Does that include cooking (and cleaning up after cooking)? Even if you only spend 30 minutes a day cooking, that’s nearly 4 hours right there. I probably don’t spend more than 3 hours doing “cleaning” but probably 5-6/week is spent cooking (most of it done on Sunday)

    • Laura says:

      @Ana – I guess I just don’t cook much! The kids eat a lot of easy stuff. Bagel bites, chicken nuggets, pasta. Then fruit and veggies for each meal, but simple stuff: microwaved frozen corn or peas. Baby carrots, bananas, strawberries. I buy a lot of semi-prepared foods for myself. Doing the dishes takes a lot less time than I think it does. Since the food is simple, so is the clean-up. I timed emptying the dishwasher and it takes like 5-7 minutes.

  5. Jennifer says:

    Laura – do you still want more time logs even if we’ve sent some before?