Long time readers know I have been recording my time continuously for the last 5 months. It’s been fascinating (for me at least) to see the rhythm of my weeks. Some weeks are definitely more intense than others, and last week was one of those weeks. A lot can fit in 168 hours.
The week started Monday morning in our rental house in Florida, with the day mostly spent at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Between the Toy Story and Star Tours rides, and the various shows (Disney Jr,, Frozen Sing-Along, Indiana Jones stunts), that was a full day, with a trip to the house pool, a dinner out, and then fireworks at Magic Kingdom after. Tuesday we did Epcot (Soarin’!) and flew home to Philly. My husband helped me get the bags, and load the kids in the van, and then he stayed at the airport to fly to Europe. In the “plan ahead for tense moments” category, I’d hired a sitter to meet me at the house to help with holding the baby and entertaining the kids while I unpacked. This made what could have been a nightmare meltdown-fest much more reasonable.
Wednesday was my daughter’s first day of preschool (finally). She was happy as a clam and pretty much jumped out of the mini-van. No separation problems there. I drove to downtown Philly to record a public radio interview. I had lunch with my kids, then drove to Bristol, CT. I had a surprisingly reasonable dinner at the hotel, worked, and then enjoyed a night in which no one woke me up. It was awesome.
Thursday morning I went to ESPN, where Cari Champion interviewed me. I signed books, and drove back to PA. I made it to the elementary school open house, though I was so discombobulated by all this that I managed to forget it was trash and recycling night. Whoops. Guess the stuff will be in our garage for another week.
Friday I had the kids. I got the boys on the bus, took my daughter to school, then worked for 2 hours while the baby took a blessedly loooong nap. He and I went grocery shopping after, then picked my daughter up. We had lunch and I took her to her first dance class at the YMCA. It was so cute! She loved it, and has reasonable balance for a 3-year-old. We came home, and the baby took another reasonable nap, so I did about 90 minutes of work while she had quiet time. I had a sitter come at 4, and I waited for my 8-year-old at the bus stop, then went to pick up the 5-year-old at his first Lego Club, which he also thought was fantastic. My kids are in a lot of activities these fall, but they’re liking all of them, so that’s a plus.
With the sitter there, I went for a trail run, then traded off with her doing dinner and baths and a bit more work. My husband came home around 9 pm from his European trip. I worked some more — all in all getting in 6 hours on Friday, which isn’t bad for a day where I generally don’t plan to get anything done.
Saturday was not my favorite part of the week. My husband wound up driving one kid at a time to various sports while I stayed with the baby and the others, but the baby is just generally exhausting right now. The house isn’t baby-proofed (and will never stay that way even if we try) so I have to watch him constantly. I did get away with the 3 big kids to the nursery school ice cream social. They played on the playground while I chatted with other parents. We all went in the pool after, enjoying one of the last warm days. My husband and I attempted to have an in-home “date night dinner” after the kids went to bed, but they wouldn’t stay down, and the baby wouldn’t go down, so we were trying to let him cry it out. It was the least relaxing date night dinner ever.
Fortunately, the baby slept through the night — a rare occurrence these days, but a lovely one when it happens. I set my alarm for 6:20 and woke up with the alarm. Since the baby wasn’t up, I pumped, then met Lynda to run 8 miles. It was a beautiful morning for it — not too warm, with the leaves along the trail mottling a bit on the edges. I hadn’t run long in a while and I definitely feel it! I came home, showered, and got 3 of the kids to church while my husband took our daughter to soccer. We figured out the two upcoming birthday parties after, then ran some errands (cleat shopping) and went apple picking at a nearby orchard. We are now the proud owners of $60 worth of apples. We made a pie, and grilled, and I got the kids into their rooms at 8. They didn’t stay there, but I still managed to get about 90 minutes of work in.
Looking back on it, it seems like a pretty full week, from Disney fireworks to apple picking. I did some things to maximize time, like listening to the classical choral CDs in the car on my long drive. I’m glad I made strategic uses of extra sitting during the week to save my sanity. I’m still trying to figure out how to relax a bit more on weekends, but when the baby’s awake, that may be impossible for a while. Someday he’ll stop sticking everything in his mouth…
Photos: Photos by Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images
10 thoughts on “A week at a glance”
Now that week sounds pretty awesome (I remember the last one feeling stressful just to read!). I definitely agree that the thoughtful and strategic use of babysitting can make an enormous difference (the idea to have one during the unpacking/coming home scene – BRILLIANT).
@SHU -I know this one from hard experience! But yes, it made Tuesday night infinitely better than it would have been. I might not have even been able to carry in suitcases until after the baby went to bed! I’ve been asking my 8-year-old to watch the baby for up to 5 minutes (while I go to the bathroom or whatever) and he’s reasonable at it, but sometimes fickle. I’m not 100% sure he won’t decide to play a game on his Kindle instead.
Pretty intense week! I like how you strategically use sitters for support.
@Anne- all about the sitters! Intense week, but a good one. This is much more low-key. The weekend in particular will be slow as our city is shutting down for the Pope’s visit.
Out of curiosity, would a baby-proof room (to keep the baby in, not designed for keeping babies out, though that could also be useful 🙂 !) be a possibility? And if so, worthwhile?
@Alexicographer – that might be a good idea, or a fenced in area in another room. We have a few rooms (like the baby’s room) where basically everything is up so it’s a bit more relaxing, but it’s hard to spend all day hanging out there!
Right, well, I know it’s always a tradeoff between identifying, preparing, maintaining the space and the value of having it available. I know my mom has commented many times that her sister was “against” pack-n-plays (or whatever they were called back then) but that unlike my mother’s, my aunt’s home had a room that basically opened onto the kitchen and only onto the kitchen that became my cousins’ safe/playroom when they were little (my mom plonked us in a pack-n-play when she needed to work in the kitchen).
So, you know, where feasible a space that both allows for adult activities (whatever sort are needed) and little kid activities is a good thing.
Do you have any tips for keeping up with the time recording? I never seem to get a whole week recorded!
@Lily- for me, it’s mostly habit at this point but I think a key is not being too perfectionist or detailed. I don’t try to put too fine a point on it sometimes, and that makes it easier to write down what’s happening during a very amorphous time (like weekend mornings).
Like anything, I think you have to want to do it. If you aren’t that excited about it then it’s hard to keep up with. An accountability partner or reward could potentially help.
Thanks! If I’m doing well and using my time consciously, then I remember to record and it’s not hard. It’s those times when I get distracted, interrupted, vague out or I’m running lots of errands and the whole day is a busy blur that I forget…and then usually forget for the next couple of days. The same thing happens if I try to do a food diary – I only end up with the good days cos my bad days are something like ‘at a bunch of stuff I shouldn’t have at a pot luck’…. So attempting to record is valuable anyway!