Is Time On Your Side?
Recently, we have been feeling a bit of a lag around here. Work isn’t getting done; our to-do list has new tasks added regularly but very few are getting crossed off. What gives?
Hours in a Day
Both the BHE and I were getting upset over the lack of progress around our house. We have a 115-year-old neo-Victorian that still needs a lot of work, even after the last five years of serious renovating and remodeling. Now that we have our second child on the way, our list is not only growing but our time to complete projects is shrinking.
There are only so many hours in a day that can be used to remodel, though. Both of us were getting worked up, and I found myself becoming a nagging, resentful wife. I couldn’t understand why projects weren’t getting done, why they weren’t even being started! That’s when it occurred to me that maybe I needed to set the BHE straight on what he is doing with all his time… and accepted a swift kick in my own ass when I realized he just doesn’t have any.
Break It Down
If you find yourself in the same situation,
wondering where all of your time is going and why your tasks aren’t being completed,
I suggest you do what I did:
break down each day or each week into the hours spent
to ascertain what hours are “free” to work towards your goals.
I chose to break down the BHE’s week as it is now, mid-summer. His work hours and the demands on his time do differ by the season. This is the busiest time of year for him at work (selling and delivering roofing materials and such) plus the yards* need more attention, among other things. Let’s start there**.
Hours in a week: 24 hrs/day x 7 days/wk= 168
Work/Job: He works 7-4:30 M-F plus at least two Saturdays a month from 7-12. We live roughly 40 minutes from where he works, give or take traffic and weather. Let’s not forget the time it takes him to get ready for work each day! Ok, that brings us to him “working” 12 hours a day, five days a week and 6-7 hours every other Saturday. Boom: (12×5)+6.5= 66.5
Sleep: Sleep is necessary for your body and mind to rest and rejuvenate. I’m talking about actual sleep-sleep, not when you go to bed to when you get up. Personally, I lay in bed for a solid 40 or so minutes before my mind and body relax enough to sleep. That 40 minutes is rest, not sleep. Get it? Ok, so saying the BHE sleeps 11-5 or 5:30 the days he works and gets an extra hour on Sundays… (6.25×6)+7.25= 44.75
Rest & Relaxation: This shouldn’t be discounted, even if you think it falls under the “free time” category. To me, R&R isn’t free any more than sleep time is: it is also necessary for your mind and body to function properly. You should consider what it takes for you when you get home to get out of work mode and into home life mode. For instance, the BHE can arrive home anytime between 5:15 and 6 but may still need 15 to 30 to bring stuff in from his car, love on me and Angel Baby, go to the bathroom, change out of his work clothes, have a frosty beverage, etc. Then we will sit at the dining room table to have dinner***. Let’s consider things like bathing as well as watching an episode of our latest downloaded television programs in R&R. I’m estimating this takes up anywhere from 2-4 hours of each of his days, depending on the type of day he has had. If the BHE has a stressful day at work, it may take an extra 30 minutes for him to wind down once he gets home. If it was a slow Saturday and he gets home right at 1, he may be ready to just keep going (right after doling out hugs and kisses, of course). Ok, the math: I’m going with an average of 2 hours each day… 7×2= 14
Church/Mass: For us, we wake on Sunday mornings and have our Pancake Breakfast. We get dressed for church (20), drive the 12 miles there (17-20), have an hour Mass (60), chat with other parishioners (5-10), and drive straight home (17-20). 2
Yards: Like I mentioned, we have two properties he does the yardwork for. Depending on the weather, that is a good 2-3 hours each week when you factor in the time gassing up the equipment; picking up sticks, trash, etc from the yards; moving the picnic table and downspouts; using the rider; using the push mower; using the trimmer/weed whip; taking the leaf blower to all the sidewalks; putting it all away; cleaning up after he’s done. Seriously, the people who say it takes them 30 minutes to mow their yards, I want to ask them if they consider all the preparation and clean up as well. 3
Trash: We live close enough to his father’s property where there is a large hole in which we burn our trash. If I factor in the time it takes to gather the trash from the house, load it into our flatbed, drive the old-ass thing to and from his dad’s, unload it, AND figure in some social time (it isn’t like he’s just going to show up, dump our garbage, and drive off), we’re looking at a solid hour-and-a-half minimum to “take out the trash.”**** Boom: 1.5
Errands: For the most part, I handle the shopping for our family. Three to five times per month I drive the 40+ minutes to the nearest “city” to buy groceries and other necessities, generally taking a whole day to hit a handful of stores to stock up for the week or more until the next excursion. As he works just down the street one way from our preferred grocery and the other way from Target, he can make quick trips for things we may have run out of or have cravings for (eggs, cider, etc). He also handles the purchasing of heavy items like cat litter and dog food. I’m saying that this should add no more than an hour to his day in town before he comes home on the few days a month he has to do these trips. But let’s not forget he needs a haircut every 9 weeks or so and we may need him to pick up something from a hardware or home improvement store. 3
Eighty Percent Off
Wow! Seriously. Are you looking at this with me? Did you write down what amount of time you spend each week on these or similar aspects of your life? Good God. Maybe I’ve been too hard on the boy…
66.5+44.75+14+2+3+1.5+3= 134.75 hours per week
Over 80% of the hours in a week are used just on a few aspects of his life: work, eating and sleeping, running errands, mowing the yards and taking out the trash, spending some time with his wife and daughter, and going to Mass. That leaves the BHE a mere 20% of the time allotted to all of us to spend any time on projects around the house, helping his family (or mine), going out to dinner with my dad or his sister, or having a social life at all.
Saying he really only uses 134.75 hours for the aforementioned aspects (and doesn’t need a minute more), that leaves 33.25 hours in a week to put into other things. Some may say that’s like having a part-time job. In fact, I know people that work one full-time and one part-time job (or a hobby that could generate income); that’s where they find that extra time. Bravo! I will not talk down in regards to others’ work and accomplishments? I hate comparing our lives to anyone else’s, but it is hard not to. It is hard not to say…
Do they have a pregnant wife, a toddler, a 115-year-old house in need of constant work and upkeep, a needy mother right next door, an elderly father in just as aged of a home less than 10 miles away, and this driving need to help as many people as possible? Seriously, folks, the BHE has his hands full: 33 hours is not that much! Just 33 hours to divide between our home, his dad’s house, the extra property we own where his mother lives, the friends that call on him for help with their plumbing or roofs or just needing to borrow his truck and trailer, and anything extra he may need or want to spend his time on. I haven’t even mentioned getting in quality time with Angel Baby and me, his family, my family, et cetera.
SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE!
What I Learned
I’m an asshole*****.
Here I am, giving the BHE hell for not getting this or that done, for spending his time with this person or that one, for not using “all his free time” to work on what I think he needs to work on. There he is, with only an hour or two a night and less than a full day each weekend, doing all these other things just to keep us moving forward. I am really glad I sat and thought about this.
Sadly, the impetus was me wanting “proof” to shove in his face and say, “LOOK! You could be doing this and this but noooo, you’re just doing that.” Happily, we can both look at what I scribbled down and see where changes can be made and, more importantly, why it is we should both take it easier on him for the work not being done. The next time he starts verbally berating himself for not finishing the shed’s roof or not starting the wiring in the third bedroom, we can both look at this blog post and go, “THAT is why.”
Take a Break
Take a Breather
Take it Easier on Yourself
Time isn’t always on your side.
*We own two properties which he mows, trims, etc.
**Please forgive what looks like higher math; it isn’t.
***Yes, every night, folks; unless we eat out (which is rare), we eat either at our dining room table or the one on the back deck. We don’t eat in front of the tv or standing in the kitchen or anything else. Sitting to eat a meal in a designated place is very important.
****Well, shit! Considering what he is paid per hour at work, it might actually be cheaper for us to pay for trash removal. An added bonus of this exercise: seeing where change may be necessary.
Disclaimer: Time is what you make of it. I know, if you really want to achieve something, you will find the time to do so. Look at me: I have a masters! I have a blog! I throw awesome parties! I find the time when I need to. The point of this little exercise was to see what kind of time there is AFTER all the necessary shit is taken care of. Can the BHE spend less time on the yard (even though it may not look as nice)? Sure. Can we pay for trash removal? Yes. Does he HAVE to have a social life? Well, actually, yes. Just like he has to have R&R time. Mental stability and all that jazz. I guess my point, dear reader, is to evaluate your life and not be so hard on yourself. That’s the point I needed to make to me and the BHE.