Jan 13, 2010

Super Dad

It's 9:23am and I haven't got a lick of work done yet. All that's been done so far is: boys washed, clothed, fed, brushed, rainproofed & walked to school; two playdates arranged; lunches packed; dinner chicken thawing; bed stripped, 2 loads of laundry washed and hung to dry; yesterday's clean dishes put away and this morning's dishes stacked; cats and cows and chickens fed; fire lit.

Remember long ago when I bravely stated that things go smoother when my wife's away? Well it's still true - this same stuff would have been done but by two adults instead of one. Housework expands not only to the time allotted but also to the people allotted.

Part of my unspoken new year's resolution is to step it up another notch of responsibility in the house. Instead of looking at the dishes, just quickly do them - last night it took just 22 minutes to clean a full day of dishes, including Sarah's Mama Renew class. Cook more dinners, sweep more floors. If I can do it so easily when she's gone, I can darn well do it when she's here.

Anyways, it's now 9:31am and I've got until 2:30 to do Me stuff - webpage design, basement reno, emails, yoga... After that I'll be full-on dad - pick-up, bike repairs and bouncing zekiah's new ball from the dentist like we planned this morning, animals, then inside for the usual dinner-bedtime routine. 22 minutes of clean-up and I'll be a free man once again by 8:00.

Could it really be this easy?
2.5 hours in the morning plus 5.5 hours after school of full-attention parenting and housekeeping, plus 5 daytime hours and 3 nighttime hours for Me/Us stuff? If I can stay intentionally in one or the other realm for each block of time, not flitting back and forth between roles, perhaps I truly can do each more efficiently and fully and Joyfully. Perhaps, just perhaps, the key to achieving balance is to just do it.


  1. That's brilliant. I especially like the part about focusing on one realm at a time. I do a lot of "flitting" on my stay-at-home days. I've actually started using a timer in the kitchen, as in "I will clean the kitchen for exactly 30 minutes." That way, it goes from "Jeebus! What a huge pile of dishes. I'll never get it done," to "Well, it's only 20 minutes." Just as importantly, every time I start to run back to the computer to send an email, or notice something that needs picking up in the living room, I just look at the timer and remind myself to focus on what I'm doing. And then 30 minutes later, the kitchen is remarkably clean, and I am D-O-N-E with that part of the chores for the day.

  2. Well, anything that can get you to stop saying "Jeebus" has to be a good thing. I suppose the next step for both of us is to make it such a habit, such a way of life that we don't need a timer, we just naturally do each thing to its fullest.

    As for running back to the computer, that's just the number one way to get pulled out of the present. I only let myself Facebook twice a day for 5 minutes, and try to remember that a new email doesn't have to be seen right away - leave that for prescribed times too. Amazing how often I'll just drift away from the kids to "quickly check emails," and sad how used to it they are.