Thursday, February 4, 2010

It Depends on Your Definition of Leisure Time

The oh-so-fabulous Undomestic Diva posted on her blog yesterday about a study that concludes that stay at home and working mothers alike have thirty or more hours of leisure time per week. She also included a link to the study and I urge you to visit her blog and follow the link (I could do it here but she did all the leg work and I don't want to steal her thunder, as it were). Now that all of my children are in school full time, with the earliest of the dismissals at 2:15pm, I do have a great deal more time that is JUST MINE than when they were preschool aged and younger. But THIRTY HOURS? That sounded like an awful lot of leisure time to me so today I decided to document my time. My life is not crazy, out of control hectic and my schedule is mostly on my terms. I'm a stay at home mom and I can ignore many of the chores on my to-do list to create more "me time", but all that will do is create more work for myself because eventually, this crap needs to get done. Kind of like when you call in sick to work and all you do is shoot yourself in the foot because no one was there to pick up your slack. My documented time went as follows and please make yourself a cup of coffee to stay awake because it's just all kinds of exciting!

  • 6:25am - Up and out of bed go downstairs, let the dog out, pour coffee (Dear Lord, I would like to give thanks for programmable coffee makers, amen), make the kids' lunches and pack them in their backpacks.
  • 6:45am - wake up oldest son and get him in the shower, go back downstairs and make breakfast.
  • 7:00am - wake up other two children and have them eat their breakfast, make husband's protein shake and pack his lunch.
  • 7:05am - go rap on bathroom door to get oldest son out of the shower, go back downstairs and finish packing husband's lunch, and plate oldest son's breakfast
  • 7:15am - get youngest children dressed, brushed, cleaned, shoed, ready for school.
  • 7:25am - brush my teeth, put on pants.
  • 7:30am - drive two youngest children to school to avoid school drop off congestion.
  • 7:40am - make husband's breakfast, bus money for oldest son for ride home, double check he has everything packed that he needs for classes.
  • 7:45am - take sheets off master bed and put in the washing machine.
  • 7:50am - drive oldest son and neighbor child from across the street to school.
  • 8:25am - finally home, drink 2nd cup of coffee, check email, let dog out, Twitter, check Facebook, let dog in.
  • 8:45am - remove previous days laundry from dryer, put sheets in dryer, collect towels from bathrooms and put in the washer, fold previous days laundry and put away, gather husband's clothes to be dry cleaned, make kids' beds, pick up clothes from bedroom floors.
  • 9:00am - straighten up downstairs, load and start dishwasher, let dog out, feed dog, do light dusting with the Swiffer, run vacuum around downstairs, clean downstairs bathroom, clean kids' bathroom, make mental note to clean bathroom floors tomorrow because this jerk forgot to get more Lysol, take sheets out of dryer, transfer towels to dryer, put sheets on and make my bed, vacuum dog hair off the comforter of my bed because yours truly has a very spoiled and sheddy dog.
  • 11:30am - make a sandwich before I pass out from hunger, check email, Twitter, Facebook, watch an episode of "Roseanne", return a phone call that I missed while vacuuming.
  • 12:10pm - empty all trash cans, empty vacuum canister, take out trash, vacuum stairs, break a thumb nail and curse loudly.
  • 12:30pm - let dog out, take a shower, skip hair washing because there's not enough time to dry and style it AND make it to the grocery store and back before picking up daughter, groom, put hair in a #%$!$# ponytail, remove and fold towels from dryer.
  • 1:15pm - make grocery list, grab dry cleaning, go to the grocery store and dry cleaners.
  • 2:05pm - unload groceries and put away frozen and perishable items
  • 2:15pm - pick up daughter from school.
  • 2:30 - finish putting groceries away, make daughter a snack.
  • 2:50pm - check email, Twitter, and Facebook, make witty comments.
  • 3:05pm - pick up youngest son and friend from school, take friend home first, make youngest son a snack, oldest son arrives home, make him a snack, let dog out, let dog in, eat 3 chocolate covered graham crackers, experience guilt over eating aforementioned chocolate covered graham crackers.
  • 4:00pm - kids play outside, check email, Twitter, and Facebook, and SnapGrades then remind oldest son of homework assignments.
  • 5:00pm - youngest kids start homework, help daughter with her homework, make a pot of coffee, return my mom's phone call, redirect youngest son's attention to his homework
  • 6:00pm - get the mail out of the mailbox, sort mail, go through pile of papers on the island in the kitchen, check on oldest son to see how homework is coming along, watch tv with two youngest children.
  • 6:40pm - check email, Facebook, and Tweet that it's time to make dinner.
  • 6:45pm - make dinner
  • 7:15pm - feed kids dinner, I skip dinner on a count of the guilt from the chocolate covered graham crackers.
  • 7:35pm - clean up after dinner, fix a plate for Mr. Farklepants and set aside.
  • 7:45pm - start this blog post.
It is now 7:45pm and I still have to feed Mr. Farklepants when he comes home, get the two youngest in the bath/shower, watch a little television with them, bedtime, finish cleaning up the kitchen, straighten up any messes, get backpacks ready for tomorrow, prep coffee maker and anything else that can be squeezed in before 10:00pm. From 10:00pm to 11:00pm is my time to chill with my husband, surf the net, finish this blog post, and generally relax. Bedtime is between 11:00 and 11:30pm.

I consider leisure time something that I WANT to do, a luxury, if you will, and not something I HAVE to do. I've italicized what I would consider leisure time during my day and I count about 3 hours. Multiplied by 5 weekdays that's 15 hours. Obviously weekends wouldn't include the school schedule but it is simply replaced by other activities so I will count the generous 3 hours per day for the weekends as well which brings us to a grand total of 21 hours of leisure time per week.

I want my other 9+ hours. And we haven't even discussed the projects closet organization, window cleaning, window blinds, ceiling fans, moving and cleaning under furniture, the horror under the stove and refrigerator, ohmygod the catch all office that have been neglected just to get the 21 accounted leisure hours.

And if I had to throw going to work in there I would burst into flames.


Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Your title is tres apt.

slow panic said...

yeah. they are crazy. i think it's more like 30 seconds a week to ourselves.

MommyTime said...

Add a 40-hr per week job in there, subtract all the shuttling back and forth to school because the bus does that part (which means +40 hours, minus 5 hours, as far as I can tell), and then find me 30 hours of "leisure time" each week.

Oh, wait, Tootise, you kookoo head! You forgot: aren't you SLEEPING from 11pm-6am???!? And isn't that 7 hours per day???!? And if you add that to the 3 hours you already FRITTER away in leisurely bliss, aren't you really getting TEN hours of leisure every darn day? So, seriously, you get 70 hours per week of leisure. Which means I, with my net 35 hours of paid job, would still get 35 hours of leisure. So, really, that study UNDERestimates our free time.

*phew* So glad I figured that out for us! You're welcome. Don't mention it.

Fabs said...

I'm tired just reading about your day. I hope you don't do all that cleaning/laudry everyday, then you'd be considered having the crazies....

Jaci said...

Maybe I'm high on pregnancy hormones, but right now I feel like my days aren't that stressful. I do have leisure time! I have time to read novels, soak in the bathtub, hang out with friends, and French manicure my own toenails in spite of a full-time job and a 4 year old.

I'm not judging anyone else's situation (because each mom and each family is different) and I don't know how hectic my life will get when school schedules factor in, but in my case I agree with the study.

Good post, tootsie. It inspired me to write my own post (and credit you, of course). :)

calicobebop said...

Yeah... I'm sorry but that article must be mistaken. I don't get 30 hours - no way, no how.

Now you've gone and made me feel like a bad housekeeper. :( Must vacuum tonight! Or do laundry. Or something.

Kevin & Rebecca said...
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Rebecca said...

30 hours is just crazy talk! Unless, of course, you count sleep like MommyTime says. If I had a job, though, I think I'd have to forgo sleep to get it all done.

PS Loving the more regular posts!!

Nil Zed said...

I don't know how old your kids are, but if your oldest is going to a seperate school he's in middle school at least? Which means at least some of the time spent on him, maybe you should just dump onto him as his own problem.

Plating his breakfast? Truly, neither my stay at home mom, nor my working mom self ever prepared a weekday breakfast for anyone other than ourselves once the children could pour milk.

We recieved an allowance sufficient to cover lunches. If we wanted the money, we made our lunches. Our choice. Our problem if we spent the money and didn't make time to make lunch.

Making husband's smoothie? No. My hubby is more than capable of feeding himself. He did it for quite a while before meeting me and it's not a habit I've picked up.

Directing children old enough to shower into and out of the shower? can they not find their way in and out?

Waking children old enough to shower up? OK, I'll give you that. Though my mother somehow taught all 5 of us to rise at the sound of alarm clocks, my oldest never managed it until she moved out of my house. And it was tenuous then. Her younger sister never had to learn, as the trauma of waking the eldest was enough to get her moving. (and looking smug and obedient too. I think she liked that part.)

Of course, to give whatever credit where it's due, girl #1 moved out at the first opportunity and managed to take care of herself one way or another, including almost finishing college. girl#2 is still here, she's nearly finished a year in three and her hours at work just got cut again. Yet she's wondering if she should spend her tax refund on clothes or electronics. excuse me: Save it for the inevitable car problems that plague owners of old cars! just sayin. )

Amanda said...

I question whether anything taken in 15 minute increments is leisure time. Sure it might add up, but anything done leisurely is done in chunks. That study is crazy!

Anonymous said...

I understand that your day does seem busy but from the most part it looked like kid prep, food prep, house cleaning, laundry, and errands. Don't working moms have to do all that stuff too as well as work 40+ hours a day?

Tootsie Farklepants said...

Anon~ Yep. Which is why the last sentence of my post says that if I had to go to work on top of all that I'd burst into flames. I've had to do it and it sucks.

JoeinVegas said...

Wow, what's more impressive is your keeping track of all that (just for us, thanks)

abby said...

yeah, leisure time happens when something else gets neglected. and no leisure time is guilt free for me. I'm always thinking about my next move.

it is crazy to think how much we move throughout the day without thinking. maybe I'll catalog a day in my life too. interesting experiment...

CJ said...

Hi! I am a first time reader, reading from Jaci's Ravings of a Mad Housewife. Very interesting. Your day does sound busy, but the oldest son yes, should try to fix his own breafast, make his bed up in the morning and pick up clothes off his floor. That's the only thing I saw that could make your life a little bit easier. I work full time away from home with 13 month old twin boys and I am like, when do I find them time to do all that cleaning. Oh yea, I don't!

Anonymous said...

RE: 8:45am to 2:05pm - A lot of this stuff (washing sheets, grocery shopping) sounds like once a week chores. Maybe twice a week. Trash and vacuuming can be assigned to the kids. That's approximately 5 hours daily of kid-free leisure time right there.

RE: 4pm to 6:45pm - Seems relatively uneventful with the exception of checking homework assignments. Let’s say it takes 45minutes to check homework assignments. That's approximately 2 hours of somewhat free time.

Right there is approximately 7 hours of free/leisure time per day. That’s 28 to 35 hours of free time per week. Sounds like that study may be on target. At least on target for stay at home parents of children who are in school full time.

Heide said...
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Heide said...

Thank you for that, especially the last line. The Mate and I both work jobs with flexible hours, but a lot of them, and he does much of the cooking, most of the food shopping, all of the laundry. Still. Life is pretty much one crazy whirl of busy-ness, and I thought that study was nuts. And our house is never clean.