The first step was to do some timetracking, in which I would track how I spent all of my time for a week. I spent almost 5 years working as a consultant/contractor, so I am used to the idea of "charging my time" at work, and have even done similar timetracking exercises at my current job. I've never done something like this in my non-work hours, though. I dutifully tracked my time in 15 minute increments for a week (actually a week and a day- my baby got sick in the middle of this, and having a work day in which I sat on the sofa holding a whiny baby and watching bad daytime TV in the mix would definitely skew my results, so I swapped that day for a different work day.)
So, here are the results:
|Playing/reading with kids||8.75||1.25||0||4|
|Time with Hubby||2||0.29||0||0.5|
|Time w/friends and family||5||0.71||0||3.25|
If you're really that curious about the minutiae of my life, you can see the full data set, too.
Since both Petunia and I were sick for a few days, there is more sleep and less work than most weeks probably have, but not by much. I think I probably average a 40 hour work week. Also, I counted any time I spent in bed with my eyes closed and no baby nursing as "sleep"- actual time asleep was probably a bit less than that. The commuting time is high, because several days I had to do both day care drop off and pick up (while Hubby was home with the sick baby), and also, traffic was bizarrely bad that week. There is also probably a little more child care and a little less playing with the kids than some weeks have, but not hugely so. Some blocks of time were hard to categorize, and some categories overlap (for instance, we have family dinner every night, which I marked as "eating", even though I was also spending time with both Hubby and the girls). Still, the data show the trends, and that is all I need it to do.
I learned several things:
- I spend more time with my kids than I thought I did. I am not a particularly guilt-ridden working mother, but even so, it was nice to see that. The kids really are alright. Or at least they aren't neglected.
- I don't spend much time on hobbies. Showing Hubby the low number that I tallied for internet/blogging repaid the effort of this exercise on its own- I don't spend nearly as much time on the internet as he thinks I do. I think that demonstrates how you notice the things that are bothering you, and also demonstrates that he and I need to work out an agreement about time for hobbies for both of us. I was sad to see that I didn't manage to find anytime to read during those particular 168 hours, but I am a member of a monthly book club, so maybe that averages out over a longer time period.
- I need to exercise more. But I guess I already knew that. My only exercise is my weekly yoga class and our "nap walks" on the weekends. In my defense, a nap walk involves me pushing ~50 lbs of kid around the hills of my neighborhood for about an hour. It is definitely exercise.
- I was happy with the amount of time Hubby and I spend together, particularly since the "time with friends/family" category was mostly done as a couple (OK, actually as a family). Also, none of my TV hours were solo- I watched an Inspector Lewis with Hubby and two kids' programs.
- The real eye-opened was the amount of time I spend on chores: it averages out to a total of 2 hours per day. A big chunk of that is on the weekend, but I still think it is too much. I'm not sure how I'm going to cut that down, though, since the biggest category of chores is the "organizational chores", and those typically fall to me in our division of labor. I'm trying to convince Hubby to do his own timetracking exercise so that we can look at this as a team, but I don't think he's going to do it. Clearly, I have some optimization to do in this area- you'll probably get a post or too about chores in the future!
- The second big surprise was how fragmented my time is. If you look at the raw data in my logs, I have a lot of 15 minute tasks. I jump around from child care to eating to personal care to blogging. I need to find a way to get a larger chunk of time for my hobbies if I'm going to do anything meaningful in that area. I don't have any bright ideas about how to do that yet, either.