I am feeling a bit behind. I did a lot this week, but life is often governed by the match or mismatch between expectations and reality. I think my ambitions for the week did not take into account that I was gone for a conference on Monday, or that I had lots of kid stuff on Thursday (two well child visits — everyone is well! — plus a “special persons” classroom tea. The special person did not have to be mom, which I really, really appreciated, even though it worked to come.). Likewise, I wanted to be well-prepared for the massive number of Best of Both Worlds episodes Sarah and I recorded this week (5!) but that took time too.
For BOBW listeners: after a lot of feedback, we have decided to try doing ads. While creating premium content is appealing (e.g. Patreon), we also recognize that this would take even more time, and we are probably not going to be able to prioritize doing that. Each episode takes only 45 minutes or so, but we prep for our guests and to structure our own conversations. We get a lot of questions and guest suggestions that need to be fielded and vetted. So stay tuned for more on how this all rolls out. We are very excited about the upcoming episodes. Our guests this week were universally fantastic, and I can’t wait to share those stories.
One more thing on a semi-BOBW related topic: A number of people have sent me the op-ed from the New York Times on “what good dads get away with,”. That was published to drum up interest in a new book called All the Rage, which looks at inequities in how male and female parents spend their time. My first reaction: I appreciated the response that ran at The Federalist called “Dear Wives: Publicly Criticizing Your Husband Makes Your Look Terrible.” I also know there is the simple reality that complaints go viral; practical solutions do not. I would say that yes, mothers tend to spend more time on housework and childcare than fathers. Fathers also work more hours for pay, and while society does tend to reward this more than the non-market labor of childcare and housework, it isn’t always more fun. I read another statistic this week that married mothers do more housework than single moms, which seems baffling, but if married moms are more likely to tell themselves the story that they are supposed to gender-represent, well, is this about what needs to be done, or is it something else? I’d also say that if anybody reading this blog feels the split is not equal in her (or his!) household, presumably you didn’t choose to marry and stay married to an @#@-hole, and you can have a civil discussion about this and talk it through. For instance, my husband and I recently had a discussion about our laundry. I felt that this was slowly drifting into my sphere (i.e. I was the one noticing it had piled up and getting it done on weekends) and I was not happy about this. So I told my husband this. He said he would do it. Now at some point in the weekend my clean clothes appear on my side of the bed. Another key thing: I do not decree it be done on, say, Saturday morning. If it happens later, so be it. I am not going to run out of clothes. So far I haven’t felt the need to write an op-ed for the New York Times about this.
Now to the time logs! Last week I spent some time looking at the previous year’s time logs. I started tracking time in April 2015 to see where my time went. But at this point, the logs function as much as a journal as anything else. So many memories came back while looking at those logs. I thought I would remember these things automatically…but I didn’t. I was just looking at an entry about my daughter’s kindergarten play, which featured her belting out a really funny song about Cinderella. I remember she was wearing one of my old dresses and she was not nervous at all. A total pro. She was great. I have not consciously thought about this in a while. But I see it on the time log, and see it was the same week I went to Toronto and SLC and suddenly I even remember my connection in Detroit that went miraculously well (my flight home got delayed in SLC and I remember the ridiculous traffic on the way to my house now.…) A time log places these memories in context, which makes them more complete.
In any case, I highly recommend time-tracking for this reason, among others. Does it matter that I finished reading Ulysses the same week that I recorded the audio book for Off the Clock and sang the Missa Gaia with my church choir? No…but looking at the log I remember these things and start to remember them together, and so that week does not disappear into a memory sinkhole. All time passes, but the documented life feels richer and more full.
In other news: I am a guest on the Sorta Awesome podcast this week. Please check it out!