First of all, the fact that it took me over 3 weeks to sit down and write this post probably says something. As does the fact that last week I found myself cleaning the ceiling fan in our daughter's bedroom and thinking "I should be blogging instead!" However, here at last is the quarterly blog post on that all consuming question "What do you do with your time?"
I've heard that question frequently this fall, since this is the first year all three children are in school all day. In theory, I now have hours of free time each week. This is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the oasis in the desert, the carrot at the end of the stay-at-home- full- time -mom- for- 10 -years stick. Having survived the preschool years, the cancer years, the army years, here I am. What, indeed, do I do with my time?
The ideal answer to that question is probably along the lines of "Well, in between writing the great American Mennonite Novel, I'm working on a project to create a sustainable energy source from Pinterest projects that didn't work out, and helping with a non-profit that provides clean water to Third World countries!" Alternatively, I'd love to be able to say "After the children get themselves up, dressed and off to school, I finish my morning cup of tea and come downstairs at 10 a.m to find the house clean, two loads of laundry already finished, and dinner preparation completed. I then go window shopping, eat candy, and read books the rest of the day."
Here's reality: no two days are ever alike, and I've discovered that even "free time" fills up quickly if you don't have a plan. For example, here's what today has looked like: Up at 6:15. My nephew arrives at 6:45 three mornings a week. I finish packing lunches, call the children, and fix three bowls of yogurt for my nephew. The children get most of their own breakfast, with reminders to clear the table themselves. This is partially successful. Aiden needs help with his shirt, the other two get dressed themselves. I change the sheets on all the beds and start a load of laundry, then sign off on Logan's homework binder. By 7:30 all four children are in the van for school, and I am in workout gear. I drop them off, as I do all five days a week, then head into Lancaster. After running 2 miles around the city, I stop at Central Market and pick up some goodies for Nate, who works two night shifts this week. On the way home, I swing by the Corn Wagon and Pine View. Back at home by 9:15, I talk to Nate, who is working on the treehouse, and help him hold some boards in place. I wash the breakfast dishes, rotate the laundry, vacuum up the cereal, shower, and fix lunch for Nate and myself. I check email and Facebook for 20 minutes. After I write this, I plan to go and vote, then head back out to Park City to get a new phone after mine fried itself on Sunday. By then, it will be time to pick the kids up at 3. The rest of the evening will be spent folding laundry, helping with homework, making supper, and reading stories. If I'm lucky, everyone will be in bed by 8:15, at which point I will sit down and read or crochet for an hour or two.
If you made it to the end of that paragraph, I congratulate you. That's a snapshot of one day. It didn't include things like yesterday's impromptu half hour visit with a dear friend, or the occasional volunteering at our local Re-Uzit shop. It's the surface...but there's more to the picture than that. To be continued....