After my second child was born, and especially after he started crawling a few weeks ago, I have found myself re-evaluating the various chunks of time that I have in my day. The answer to the question, “What can or should I be doing RIGHT NOW?” depends largely on what type of time-chunk I am currently in.
Sometimes what I should be doing at a given moment is obvious, like if Kid_2 needs a diaper change, Kid_1 needs to be bathed, or Kid_2 needs to have a bottle. These are those immediate, mundane things that every parent churns through on a daily basis.
The real challenge, I find, is to be appropriately productive (and not frustrated!) during all of those other kinds of time-chunks that I am faced with:
- Kid_1 and Kid_2 are content and, usually, busy playing with one another
- Kid_1 and/or Kid_2 need to eat
- Kid_2 is awake but not content.
- Kid_2 is awake and content, but Kid_1 is generally underfoot (asking lots of questions, pushing boundaries, and so on)
- Kid_1 is asleep but Kid_2 is awake, or, Kid_2 is asleep but Kid_1 is awake
- (Praise to the heavens above) Both kids are asleep, either for naptime or for the night
Obviously, these types of time-chunks have various levels of potential for me to be productive. If Kid_2 is awake but not content (for no reason that I can find or remedy), the productivity potential is practically zero. If both kids are asleep, especially for naptime, I try to do things that I cannot do at any other time (for example, take off my shoes, lie down, and read/rest/nap). Ironically, it can take a lot of self-discipline to simply rest and not try to get caught up on other things.
Errands need to occur at a time when both kids are awake, (relatively) content, and are not hungry. Meeting all of these criteria is quite a challenge, especially lately when Kid_2 has reverted to taking three naps per day instead of just two. The same goes for something as simple as a quick outing to a park.
Safe to say, I don’t know any other moms who (to my knowledge) analyze things like this. But, it is my hope that in taking the time to analyze these things, I will be able to make the most of my time, therefore being able to find time to do things I really enjoy, therefore being a happier wife and mother. Sort of along the lines of a heading in Ready for Anything by David Allen:
Making it easy to take it easy.