I began tracking my time continuously in April 2015.
At the time, my youngest child was 3 months old. That first day featured something like 5 nursing sessions with another feeding coming from a pumped bottle.
Needless to say, my time looks different now. While I did get a 6 month reprieve from diapers in late 2014, I was pregnant at the time. I have had a little kid at home for 11 or so years. Now my “baby” is four. He goes to preschool, is potty trained, can play by himself (or be reliably distracted with cartoons) and — a real treat — no longer fights bedtime. On the nights I put him to bed, we read a story, he gets in his bed, I kiss him goodnight, I walk out the door and he stays there. Looking over my time logs of evening battles from even a year ago, I see how exciting a development this is.
Of course, time is always filled with something. I now spend a fair amount of time at big kid activities. For instance, last night I drove the 9-year-old to a Little League game at 5:25 p.m., and we got home at 8:10 p.m. (they won! My son technically got the “winning run” — but he was walked in. The bases got loaded on walks; this is a challenge of kid-pitch baseball when the kids are 9 and 10 years old…there are a ton of walks). On Monday, I drove to and from swim practice three times. The round trip takes 18 minutes, and I waited a few minutes on one pick up, so that accounts for an hour of my life right there.
But as time opens up, some of it is filled with real leisure. I read more books now. (I’m reading K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches — good for some Little League sideline reading.) I joined my choir in fall of 2017, and now during the school year rehearsals consume 3-4 hours weekly beyond what I would have been spending at church anyway.
The biggest change of leaving the little kid years has been psychological.
I love babies, and I love holding my friends’ babies, but little kids are so exhausting. In an upcoming episode of Best of Both Worlds we talk about weekends and toddlers. Anytime I see someone write or talk about how amazing weekends are, and how relaxing, I know this person does not have toddlers (or, if this person does have little kids…I suspect he has not paused to wonder why his partner does not find weekends nearly as relaxing.)
For the first time in 11+ years, I can now relax on weekends at my house while the kids are there. Even without hashing out with my husband who is covering what. It feels very different! Of course, big kids come with their own issues and angst. I know we are in that golden zone where the kids are big enough to take care of most of their own physical needs, but are not yet old enough to crash my car. Nonetheless, being able to sit with my coffee in the morning and read without too many interruptions is quite lovely. The kids can even have real conversations. This makes driving them around mildly more entertaining, which is good, given how much time I spend driving.
What changes did you make in how you spent your time after leaving the little kid years?
In other news: I spent a lot of time watching sports yesterday, since I watched the 76ers win their series against the Brooklyn Nets. The game ended in such a Philly way — even though the Sixers were up 27 with less than 2 minutes to go, they had to have a brawl resulting in four players (over the two teams) getting ejected. Sheesh.
FranklinCovey featured me in this week’s On Leadership video. You can check it out here.
Photo: Flashback. He’s much bigger now!