I have a great arrangement right now. I am working with my wife at home on a couple fun business ideas and I get to spend a lot time with of our kids. We have created the framework for the balanced family lifestyle we wanted. There is one thing however that has been hard for me with this arrangement. Kids are SO inefficient – Often I feel like I am getting nothing done. Sure we complete our business tasks as between 6am and 4pm almost every day one of us is locked away in our fortress of solitude, but for the one who gets the kids… not so much.
Let’s take my schedule today. I get up and start work at 6am. By 6:15 I have checked my e-mail and have started on some of the tasks I left myself the previous day. I am getting stuff done. On this day it is my turn to look after the kids after breakfast until noon. Lately the kids have been playing independently so I come up with what seems like a realistic schedule for the next three hours.
- 30 minutes : tidy kitchen
- 15 minutes: put on a load of laundry
- 25 minutes: get kids dressed
- 15 minutes: get kids ready for outside
- 10 minutes : walk to playground
- 40 minutes: play at playground
- 10 minutes: walk back
- 35 minutes: spare time
This sounds like a good realistic plan. A few chores will get done and we will have some outside fun all in time for lunch. Oh, if life were that simple. This schedule is far less ambitious than what I thought I could accomplish a few months ago. I was so naive when I started to be an active player in the family home life. I would allocate a fair bit of time to play with the kids but I seriously thought I would be able to accomplish a lot more around the house. Let’s break down the above schedule to see what really happens.
- 30 minutes: tidy kitchen This should only take me 15 minutes but rarely can I complete this task at all. For whatever reason opening the dishwasher has the same effect as the can opener had with our dog. Bryce can be in the bedroom playing nicely with his sisters but no matter how carefully I open the dishwasher door he instantly he appears wanting to climb in and play with the knives. Jada doesn’t have the same interest in the dishwasher but she loves pushing a chair over to the counter to see what she can get into. Since Jada is not the most coordinated when it comes to climbing this usually ends in tears. Often I will give up and vacate the kitchen altogether.
- 15 minutes: put on a load of laundry A bin full of clothes is a fun thing to empty.
- 25 minutes: get kids dressed I will tell Annika to get dressed while I chase the twins. I catch Bryce and start getting him dressed. Part way through I tend to Jada’s cries, pass Annika in the hall and ask her to get dressed. I finish with Bryce and go to find Jada tap-dancing on the kitchen table. I grab Jada to get her dressed after asking Annika to get dressed so we can go to the playground. I finish with Jada; give Annika one more warning that she needs to get dressed when I discover that Bryce needs his diaper changed. Annika will finally get the hint and get dressed.
- 15 minutes: get kids ready for outside I long for the hot summer days when this may actually take only 15 minutes.
- 10 minutes: walk to playground As long as everyone is relatively happy I can actually accomplish this in the allocated time.
- 40 minutes: play at playground They wish they had that much time to play.
- 10 minutes: walk back This is quite often a jog back as I am usually late for lunch.
- 35 minutes to spare if needed – Ahhh Ha Ha Ha.
I am a person who appreciates efficiency and it can be difficult to have such an inefficient morning. After lunch it is my turn to work and actually get something done. After work is finished for the day it is back to running in sand until bed-time. Maybe it will get better in time or maybe I just have to be come to the realization that kids are inefficient and there is nothing I can do about it.