I find myself in a strange, new place this year. Every other Friday, I have six precious, quiet hours all to myself. My 9/80 schedule gifts me two Fridays off a month, and with all thee kids in school for the first time, I’m on my own. It has been more than a decade since I’ve had this type of “free time.” Yikes!
The feeling is so new, and I’m almost struggling with what to do with myself. Part me thinks I need to get a jumpstart on the weekend, so I start frantically running errands – get dog food, go grocery shopping, make Costco trip, dive into laundry. The other part of me wants to embrace the quiet and totally indulge, so I try to squeeze in a yoga class, catch up on TV shows, write, bake, shop. And then of course there is the chance to chip away at some of the things I never have time for – sort through outgrown kids’ clothes, organize the medicine cabinet, Christmas shop and beyond. Before I know it, the six hours are gone, and the kids are home. The weekend juggle begins.
So far I’ve only experienced two of these solo Fridays, and I don’t think I’ve been able to strike a healthy balance of powering through the household management tasks and giving myself a break. I’m like a person who diets all week and then wants to binge-eat on the weekend. I want to do it all, and two Fridays out of the month just don’t cut it.
With two full-time working parents in our household, I generally feel behind. I want to be crafty. Don’t have time for that. I want to make progress on my book project. Don’t have time for that. I want to be lazy occasionally. Yup, don’t have time for that either.
Last winter, the Atlantic featured a story on the happiest working women, saying they had opted to cut back at work. For some that meant a part-time schedule. For others it meant not electing to go for the promotion. Still other women opted to carve out a work-life ideal on their own terms, hustling to make ends meet with freelance work, crafting or part-time consulting.
I can totally relate to the article and the notion of wanting just a little more control of my schedule. I am so glad I have these two Fridays a month. They really do make a difference as it pertains to my own happiness, sanity and productivity. But like most good things, once you get a little taste, you find yourself wanting more.
If only I had one more day, right? Then I could get to this and that and feel more relaxed and caught up.
Yes, one more day would be heavenly. Yesterday my younger son said it would be cool if the week would last 10 days instead of seven. When I asked why, he said because then we could have five-day weekends. Yes, I said, that sounds nice.
But for now, assuming the 10-day week is not coming anytime soon, I’m hoping to enjoy this new schedule with a little time to myself. Hopefully I’ll master the art of how to spend it very soon.
Do you struggle with how to spend your “free time” – if and when you ever get it?