Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Time really is on my side

There are few things my husband and I guard more jealously than our time. The two things we hate to waste are time and money. And thanks to my husband's knack for efficiency and his financial acumen, I've learned over the years how to better manage both. I've gotten a much better idea of how long certain activities take, what I have time for, how much I can get done in 15 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour. One task at a time, clean as you go, do whatever needs to be done - no need to keep score - all these little ideas have helped me not get overwhelmed. And that's important to me.

See, I started working full time this month. We got to test the waters for a few weeks earlier this month when I filled in for a colleague. The extra money is nice but it just feels like icing since we've lived on one and half salaries since moving here four years ago. The time to hone my editing skills and be around adults more often has been really nice.

My biggest fear, though, was that Jim and I wouldn't get quality time together. Our schedules are not normal, but they are complementary (by the way, this word has one of my favorite definitions: Supplying mutual needs or offsetting mutual lacks. Isn't that great? Am I not a total dork?). Jim works early morning to mid afternoon; I work early evening to just after midnight. Just about everyone who hears this says, "So you two never see each other, huh?" Uh, no. When we manage well and trust that we'll get what we need, we have plenty of time.

In a typical day, I have time alone with Dan, time to rest or just be alone when he naps, time with other mommies and Dan's "friends" and time to spend with Jim and Dan together. Similarly, Jim gets time alone with Dan when I'm at work and time to himself after Dan goes to bed. And, best of all, I get to go to the grocery store, the playground, the mall, etc. when people are at work and most kids are in school or day care. Seriously, there is a very spooky absence of children in public during the week (I feel another post coming on ... ) One day this week, we all took a walk with the dog between 3 and 4 p.m. I had to leave for work at 4:30. Dinner had already been made and I had showered earlier in the day so I needed only a half hour to get ready for work. Several nights a week, I go in at 6:30 so we get to eat dinner together. The time without Dan is rare for us, but it does happen, even if it's just an hour or so while he's napping. It's always enough.

And, yes, I work weekends. All weekend. And, no, it doesn't bother me. If I need time off for something, I take it, if it's important enough to us. Besides, who wants to go out on Friday and Saturday nights when everyone else it out?

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