So, this morning, I got up 15 minutes earlier than usual because I wanted to leave for work earlier, because I wanted to get to work earlier. This isn’t some sort of altruistic move, I work flexi-time, and that means if I get to work earlier I get to go home earlier. There is a period of time in the morning, which I haven’t yet got to grip on, when the traffic is so thick that it takes me nearly double the amount of time to get to work. The crux point is around 8am, and I need about 45 minutes to an hour to get ready, extricate myself from my children, and get out of the house. I usually leave the house at about 8.10. No matter how hard I try I can’t get out sooner than that.

Now the easy solution would be to just get up 15 minutes earlier. This is a problem for 2 reasons. Firstly, even though it is only 15 minutes, I can’t get past the psychology of getting up before 7am, voluntarily anyway. And here’s the other thing: it probably wouldn’t even make any difference anyway! Seriously. A few weeks ago I needed to go into work really early, to rectify a problem that erm, well, let’s say someone caused [hint: I was the one going in early]. Anyway, I got up an hour earlier but still only managed to get out of the house half an hour earlier than usually! And this is why:

Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

Even though I know I want to leave the house early, my mind sees that it is nowhere near my usual leaving time, so I take the time to do things I wouldn’t normally do, add a slick of mascara, help DH out by making Betty’s lunch, sticking some cleaner down the toilet, and before I know it I’m only half hour early, so I might as well have stayed in bed an extra half hour. The above quote is known as Parkinson’s Law, and it basically means that the work never ends, no matter how much time you have, or think you have, you will fill it. And there will always be more to do.

Lots of people say to me “I don’t know how you find the time to blog and make all that stuff, I couldn’t possibly do it” and I genuinely can’t tell if I should be offended or feel complimented. Are they saying that I am clearly a superwoman who manages to juggle multiple tasks, or whether they are implying that in doing the things that I love I am neglecting other more pressing duties.

My children are in bed by about 7.30. I’m not being smug, it’s taken a long time to get to this stage, and I appreciate that not everyone has that luxury. But I imagine that the majority of families have at least from 8pm till bed time to do such frivolous activities as blog, Tweet, crochet etc. I mean, my house is just the right side of hygienic, and DH and haven’t been out together since before Iris was born. Oh and I don’t iron. God, life is too short to iron. More crochet, less ironing, that’s what I say.

And let’s talk about Time for Yourself. It’s in magazines, on blogs, forums etc., How Do You Carve Out Time For Yourself? The thing is, I don’t see time out for yourself as something you should have to carve out. It should just be a part of your day, like breakfast time or bed time. What it even worse is when these articles link it to motherhood. How Do Mums Find Time Form Themselves? That makes it even more guilt-ridden. Mums, you are so busy, how do you find the time for yourself, and if you do then you are obviously not fulfilling your motherly duties. Well, I am obviously not busy enough, because I have just spent the past hour writing this blog post with The West Wing in the background. I think is absolutely essential that you spend a period of time doing whatever it is you like to do to relax, wind down, or even energise yourself. Otherwise what is life even about. It is essential for your mental, and therefore your physical health.

Now hopefully the fact that you are even reading this post means that you are having your essential down time. And while I have your attention let me point you in the direction of blog that is about crochet and about time. It is called, funnily enough, Crochetime. As well as the blog she has an Etsy shop selling crochet clocks, and the patterns to make your own clocks. I’ve ordered a pattern from her, got some yarn and buttons, ready, I just haven’t had time to make it yet…


11 thoughts on “Insert time cliche here

  1. I think my problem is I take too much down time! I don’t have to be told twice. But I think too what some people see as me time is different to others. I would rather be fiddling away at making something than chilling in front of the tv. But people think that is me being busy.

  2. I’ve been home educating my children for 10+ years now, and with that came a lack of bedtime routine…as there is no need for them to rush around getting anywhere in the morning. So basically I have children in the house most of the time, day and night. I get my me time by not sleeping, which is actually fine – sleep isn’t something I’ve ever needed a lot of, even as a child (much to my mother’s horror). I can fit it in during the day but me time doesn’t seem quite so much for me if I’m not alone. I’m not sure why.

    1. I understand that. DD1 was a late to bed late to rise baby, and that was fine with the one and on maternity leave. DD2 for a while was of the “I’ll go to bed when you go bed” mentally. Fortunately we managed to get her into bed earlier. Child free time is an essential part of my decompression, I just need quiet for a while!

      I envy your lack of sleep need. I feel sleep is a waste of time but I absolutely need it or I get migraines and cranky.

  3. We’re like you, we get the little ones down to bed around 7.30pm and then we have our evenings free. They are up and about throughout the night, but they generally leave us undisturbed until we go to bed at 10.30pm or so. I do bits of housework through the day, and we eat our dinner at 6pm, so everything is cleared up by bedtime. So I have most evenings for blogging, crafting or spending time with hubby.

    I don’t iron either. Life’s too short!

    I need time to myself, I need time to think in my head if that makes sense. I’m lucky that I do usually get that in the evenings. If something happens to interrupt my evening – fretful children, visitors or so on, then when I get to bed it takes me ages to go to sleep because I need to process everything in my head somehow.

  4. for some reason I couldn’t get on wordpress to read this post earlier but I’m glad I came back and tried again. I so agree with you and what you’ve said – and I’m exactly the same if I get up early I end up filling the time with other bots and pieces instead of the reason why I got up early in the first place…

    The only thing Gina Ford ever gave me apart from excessively high blood pressure was ‘bed time routine’ – which for me meant getting the kids in bed at a sensible hour (but I hasten to align myself to the “Gina Ford is ‘not for me’ school of parenting” – it went no further than bedtime). It’s a little harder now that they are getting older, but essentially they are still in bed by 7.30, even if they read etc. I find that if I don’t do my stuff too, I am a crotchety old bag, so actually it does us all a favour. But I think that children need to learn (as they grow up, obviously) that other people (i.e. their parents) have needs too and it’s not all about them, so it’s important that it’s not seens as ‘carving time out’ but as part of the give and take of family life. We have started to discuss over supper on a Friday evening what we all want to do over the weekend, including things like ‘Daddy wants to spend some time doing that and Mummy wants to do this’ where that and this aren’t just – doing the ironing (yes, yes, life is too short but DH was in the army and it’s a habit he can’t shake).

    1. Well if DH is doing the ironing, that’s fine!

      We should make the most of this time in the evenings, as I am advised that it very quickly goes once the kids start to stay up later. They can still go to bed at 7 when they’re 15 right?

  5. Oh the truth of Parkinson’s Law and trying to get in early to work. I fear that this truth might be realized in painful ways next week when I return to work after nearly 11 months of maternity leave!

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