Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I Don't Have Time


"I don’t have time."

How often do we hear that expression? How often do we use it? I’m willing to bet pretty damn regularly.

               “I’d love to get in better shape, but I just don’t have the time.”

               “I wish my family could sit down and eat dinner together, but there just isn’t time.”

               “I love to write, read, paint, whatever, I just don’t have the time to do it.”

               And my least favorite – one that I actually heard today and spurred this blog post “I would love to do fun things with my kids, but I just don’t have the time.”

               Now here’s where I piss everyone off. Are you ready? I call bullshit. Yep. Bull. Shit. We do have time, these things are just not important enough to us. Now before you run and unlike the facebook page and vow to never again read this blog – hear me out. I know what I’m talking about here.

               Five years ago I was freshly divorced, living in a 2 room duplex, working 55 hours a week and attending college full time. Oh, and I also had a 3 year old that spent only 1 night a week at her daddy’s house. I was lucky that I worked as a preschool teacher and the center allowed me to bring BabyDoll with me. They docked my minimum wage pay accordingly, but they let me. I was also lucky that my mom was able to watch my daughter during the times that I had to go into school. But, working 55 hours a week, taking 16 credit hours in college (complete with massive amounts of homework), and raising a 3 year old on my own? Yea. I know what it means to “not have time.”

               I had a very “spirited” 3 year old, you guys. She told me right off that this arrangement was flat out not working for her. She demanded Mommy Time.

               Obviously, my first response was “I’d love to BabyDoll, but I just don’t have time.” I explained to her that we were together all day at daycare, and then after, once we were home; we ate dinner together, I gave her a bath and put her to bed. All kinds of Mommy Time, right? Nope. Not “busy Mommy Time,’ she demanded. “Just you and me Mommy Time!”

               Fuck. School, work, homework, day to day cooking and cleaning bullshit, and now THIS! How was I supposed to do it all?

               Very simply, as it turns out. I just had to decide what was really important. This was a need that my daughter had and it was up to me to do whatever I had to do in order to meet it for her. So I did.
               Saturday mornings, from the time we woke up until whenever her father came to get her (usually 2 or 3 or whenever the fuck he felt like it), BabyDoll got her Mommy Time. I didn’t make any other plans. I didn’t try to catch up on homework, housework, or sleep. I didn’t answer the phone or turn on the computer. We colored, painted, watched movies, had tea parties. I spent that time with my baby, doing whatever she wanted to do.

               Saturday was the only day that I didn’t have work or class, the only day that I had to get stuff done. So some things had to go, or be put off. The house wasn’t sparkling clean, I had to stay up later to get all the homework done, and I had to squeeze the weekly grocery shopping in on a lunch break during the week. So what? I was doing what was important, what really mattered.

               Would it have been easier to have put her off with a “we don’t have time” excuse? Absolutely. Would I have gotten more sleep, had a neater house, and been less rushed during the week? For sure. But my daughter in 9 now. She doesn’t remember if the house was a mess or if mommy was tired. She does remember our Saturday morning Mommy Time though. She still talks about it frequently.

               It comes down to what’s really important. And it should be what’s really important to us and not to everyone else. I feel like in today’s double income, google that shit, instant gratification kind of world, we really are super busy. Always. And we have become quite content with automatically responding with “I don’t have time.” But should we? Or are we actually costing ourselves?

               Maybe you work long hours because you need the money. But do you really need the money? Do you really need to drive the high dollar car, deck the family out in the brand name clothes and “keep up with the Joneses?” Or would your family be better off having you around, as opposed to ALL THE THINGS. Would you be better off to say “fuck all that” and cut back on some of the stuff, cut out some of the stuff, and be where it really matters, when it really matters? It comes down to what is more important.

               Or maybe you really do have to work all of those hours because if you don’t, bills don’t get paid. I know how that works, I’m not that far removed from when it was a choice between paying the electric bill or eating some weeks. I get it. But what is it that gets the rest of your time? Are you spending it where you should be? Doing what is really important to you? Or should you be spending more of it on your family, your spouse, yourself?

               I will never forget a little one that I taught in that daycare center. We will call her Marissa. She was a pretty little blonde haired, blue eyed, angel. She was 2 years old. And she spent just as much time in that center as I did. Marissa was the first one I let in the door every morning and she was the last one that I hugged goodbye every night. Her parents were married. They both drove luxury cars, and always seemed to have a new one. They both wore stupid expensive designer clothes, so did Marissa for that matter, though I highly doubt that she gave a shit. And they both dropped their precious daughter off every morning, or picked her up every night, without ever hanging up their fucking cell phones. Ever. I often wondered why they even had her, when their things, their image, were obviously more important to them than their daughter was. At least that’s what they told her every time they couldn’t be bothered to put down the phone, to take a second for her after not seeing her all day.
               That’s really what we’re doing. When we say “I don’t have time,” we are actually saying “What I currently fill my time with is more important to me than whatever you’re talking about right now.” And if you take a good, hard, honest look and that statement is true? Well then you're all set! If its not, perhaps its time to look harder at what you're doing.

               My “important” changes on the regular. Usually, I make the time to cook dinner from scratch, because its important to me that my family is healthy and taken care of. Sometimes, though, I take short cuts, or buy premade, because I need that few extra minutes to write, to read, or to just to be.

               If what we’re doing actually is more important than what we “don’t have time for,” then we’re doing great. But if it isn’t, if we wish we could do something, would really love to do something, then maybe we need to take a look at it all, and honestly decide what is more important. To us. And I mean honestly, with no excuses and no guilt. We need to get real with ourselves and cut the bullshit and the excuses. I promise, we would all be much happier of we spent our time doing what really matters to us, as opposed to what we think should be.


1 comment:

  1. Loved. It. I'm totally with you. I worked 2 jobs for 3 years after my divorce. The Mini and I wrote notes to each other in a notebook. I finally called bullshit. I wasn't getting ahead. I was barely keeping afloat. I may be in the middle of bankruptcy but I'm home every night with my kid.