I took some time today to kick back and watch some Dr.Phil. Today’s show was in response to a study by Dr. Robinson showing women have 30-40 hours of leisure time a week. I don’t agree with all the examples of the study. This study caused an up-rage among women in anger claiming they don’t have that much leisure time. I completely disagree and feel many women have plenty of leisure time. We live in this society where the busy you are, the more valuable you are. I need to share some bold honestly. It is time to change our views. Being a mom is not a job, it is a blessing- something many of us really wanted, planned and chose to become. Dare I say, some of us enjoy being a mom. I decided to evaluate my life to see how true my thoughts were.
My day starts off waking up naturally, which is between 6 & 8.
I get up and workout on the treadmills for 60 minutes. This is for me. I enjoy working out. It clears my thoughts, and is an investment in my health.
While I workout, the kids work through their chores.
By 9 I start making breakfast, while the oldest throws a load of laundry in the machine. At some point one or more children will pop up on the counter or pull up a chair to talk to me about their personal Bible study, ask questions or just share what God is doing in their lives. It is neat when the two olders pop up together as I get to see them offer encouragement or guidance in areas of struggle. I really enjoy this time. I am not much of a morning person, but since I get to enjoy my coffee and listen it works out perfectly.
Around 10, after breakfast, teeth and everyone cleaning up the kitchen, we begin school. I crank up the radio for a quick 5 minute dance fest to get the wiggles out. After we all have our seats, I bounce between the kids as they need assistance, but for the most part they are very independent. While they work through assignments, I read a book, write on my blog, check emails, text a friend, crochet, do art or work on Bible study. I am ready to help the kids at the drop of the hat, but I am FREE to do what I want during this time.
12:30- 1 We take a break for lunch. Almost daily we enjoy great discussion on what they are studying. Others we just be silly with lots of giggles. Some days we are a bit quieter and read. This is free time!! Am I alone? No. I’m enjoying time with my children. I am not scrubbing toilets or doing laundry.
After lunch, we quickly straighten up the lunch mess and head back into school. I continue the activity I was doing before lunch, unless a child needs assistance. On rare occasions, we will lay down for a quick nap/ quiet reading time for an hour if we had a late night, or feel under the weather. When we do this, we sacrifice our evening to finish school. Again, this is rare. During school, my number one focus is to be present for the kids. I will drop what I am doing immediately to help them. I refuse to sit there and twiddle my thumbs or disappear to clean during school. That may work for some families, but not for ours.
Early evening we spend either as a family watching TV, playing board games or doing something of individual interest. We have moments of fun and moments of solitude.
Dinner is a family activity. We have music, and everyone has a job. Our house may be crazy, but it is full of laughter and quality time. Everyone eats, so everyone contributes. Cooking with the kids has become so relaxing. Nothing melts a stressful day like dancing, being goofy, cooking good food, and trying new concoctions. We all work on prep, and clean up after our shared meal.
Bedtime for the kids is 9 pm. We do a 30 minute quick clean around the house prior. I have a checklist that we work through each week during this time to keep the house looking good. Again, this is done with a light spirit, fun music and as a family. No complaints.
My husband works a lot of hours. We usually give each other a half hour undivided attention and then go separate ways. He is an extrovert while I am an introvert. Both of us cherish our time alone separate to shut our brains off as much as we enjoy our alone time together. Its a balance.
My husband probably has less leisure time that I do. His schedule is dictated by long hours, many meetings and the higher powers that be. I get to dictate my schedule. I chose when I am going to “work,” what I am doing, and for how long. Our leisure time is very different. His leisure time is very cut and dry. He is either relaxing/ having fun or he is working. I have the ability to mix business and pleasure.
I think we live in a society that glorifies busy to a point we place our value on it. It is ingrained within the American brain. People seem to think leisure time only consists of a vacation alone full of pampering. I am no different than any other mom. I worry constantly about my kids, and have a laundry list of things to do, but I have a lot of time to do things I enjoy. I enjoy lesson planning, teaching the kids, playing games with the kids, watching TV, reading, and spending time with my family. I love reading and doing things alone as well.
I think the study is spot on, for me. Majority of my weeks, I definitely have 30-40 hours of leisure time, while other times are crazy busy and I can’t breath. I don’t want to be busy. I am able to manage my house, meals, education and still take time out for lots of fun. It took me many years to learn how to do less, enjoy more. I do know people that really are busy and it isnt’ by choice. A good friend of mine is an older single woman. She is caring for her aging mom and MIL, plus working two jobs just to survive. She is constantly on the go and exhausted. She takes time every week to volunteer with local teens because she enjoys it. She never stops moving. This friend understand that without taking time for things she enjoys, she would be miserable.
I would love to hear your thoughts. Do you have 30-40 hours of leisure?