The kids are all taking swim lessons right now. Since we have a backyard pool, it’s more efficient to hire an instructor to come here and teach all three in a row. When we do this during the evening, this 90 minute extravaganza generally takes the form of me putting kid #1 in a swimsuit and sending him/her down while the other two watch TV. After 25 minutes, I start getting kid #2 in his/her swimsuit, and so on.
So I can’t just chill for 90 minutes. I like to stay out on the porch, both to experience the evening air, and to intervene if any excessive naughtiness happens (only once or twice; the swim teacher is very good at distracting the children. Sometimes the naughtiness happens inside by the TV, but I can hear that from the porch too). This time winds up being a textbook case of contaminated leisure. I’m on call. It’s chopped up. It is, in Brigid Schulte’s phrase, time confetti. I imagine that the easiest things to fill the time with would be pointless web surfing or puttering around the yard or kitchen.
But I’ve also realized I can choose not to do those things. I can relax in small bits of time. Contaminated leisure is a good occasion for flipping through a magazine — Runner’s World, for instance. I started Haruki Murakami’s Sputnik Sweetheart during that porch time last night and made it through about 70 pages. Apparently Murakami can be read in contaminated bursts. That’s probably the kind of novel I like best. Engrossing, yet not so emotionally wrenching or suspenseful that I can’t put it down. Those I have to save for post-kid bed time. The key is being mindful that leisure could be happening, and choosing to use the time for something that fits well with it. This is why I’ve recently been going crazy at DiscountMags.com. There’s lots of cool stuff out there that can be read in 15 minute chunks.
What do you do during your bits of leisure confetti?
In other news: The Frugal Girl had a fascinating reader question from a young man who considers frugality his major passion in life, and is worried his current girlfriend, though not horribly spendy, is insufficiently committed to the early-retirement-extreme cause. Kristen’s answer, and the comments that follow, are as fun as the original post.
I have a piece up at Women & Co on “How to Navigate Networking With Confidence.”
The YMCA is doing a blog tour telling people about summer kid food programs. I do not do sponsored posts but I’m happy to put a PSA up. If you know a family that’s feeling strapped in the grocery department this summer, there are 1000+ YMCAs offering summer food programs for kids who’d normally be eating school breakfast and lunch during the year. Food pantries also tend to need kid-friendly food during school holidays. Or cash. That always works.