Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Idle Time

When I was in biglaw, I used to complain (all the time) about the amount of work.  There were never enough hours in a day for the job itself, let alone trying to fit in hours for me or my kids or (gasp) some form of leisure activity.

When I became a stay at home mom, Braden was already 2 and I had an infant, so I knew that it was not going to be a cake walk.  Like biglaw, it has proved to be hard and all consuming, and my God, there are SO many hours in the day - hours that have to be filled with activities and entertainment and refreshments.  Hours that are devoted to my children, with not much left over for me.

Admittedly, things have gotten easier from the early days of my SAHM-hood, with Braden now in school and Casey on a regular nap schedule.  But oh no, I musn't relax.  I must blog!  And blog some more!  And then perhaps take on some freelance work!  Ah yes, if I've got a spare hour, best put it to good use!  Think of the opportunity cost of just sitting around!

It begs the question.  Why can't I just chill out every now and again?

I complain about being exhausted, spent, having no time to myself, but the fact is that I have no one but myself to blame.  I chose biglaw.  Then I chose to be a full time stay at home mom.  And then I chose to add blogging and work on a host of other random responsibilities on top of that.

It seems I have a hard time being idle.  (And I suppose writing this post during my kids' nap time is only proving my point.)

One of my recent freelance projects ended yesterday.  I was super excited to email it out and bid my Lexis guest account farewell.  I officially finished around 8:00 pm last night, right after the kids went to bed, and then I sauntered out of the office to the living room and I stood there.

And then I stood there some more.

Now what do I do?

No kids to take care of?  No work?  Sure, there was good reality tv to be had last night, but watch TV without a computer on my lap?  Without working? Or blogging?  Or doing something of a productive nature?

That doesn't happen that often.

I've done a lot of self reflection in the past few months.  And one thing I've realized about myself is I DO need something to do apart from care for my children.  That doesn't mean I want to go back to work (I don't), and it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with money (hence the blog).  It just means I need purpose in my life - multiple purposes.  Kids, hobbies, and yes, even a little bit of work.

But I do need to learn how to just relax a bit.  To relish the down time.  To sit in it for a while.  And not spend it thinking about playdates I need to schedule or what post I want to write next or the opportunity cost of not taking on the next freelance project.

It's hard to do though.  I may be a stay at home mom, but that doesn't mean I have given up on my ambitions.  And after seven long years of non-stop go, it's a weird feeling to just be completely free at times.  With no responsibilities other than self imposed ones.

I still feel a strange sense of guilt when I have absolutely nothing to do.

Man, I need to get over that.  Because before you know it, I'll be on here complaining about how busy I am and how I need more sleep and more time and it's all getting away from me.

But until then, I am going to try my hardest to enjoy any down time I can get.  And put down this computer.

Signing off.


  1. I know what you mean - I am a SAHM to three kids under five, and I don't even know what to do with myself when I get a spare minute. The possibilities are almost overwhelming.

  2. Great post Shannon x

  3. Let me say first that I love your blog - everything is a reflection of and on my own life. I am going through my own similar crisis. Like you, all minutes must be filled with "doing" - even while I'm "playing" with the kids, I'm cleaning, rearranging furniture, picking up after them.

    I feel like working is such a natural part of me and mothering is not, so I've gone back to work part-time. Now that I'm working, it consumes me - my brain is 99% on work even when I'm not at work and I can't shut it off. Sometimes that has been a good thing as it's led to solutions of important problems, but mostly it's been horrible in my relationships with my family. I thought I had found a balance, but maybe not? When I was freelancing I, like you, was great when I had a project going, but the second it was done I felt bored out of my mind. I thought having a steady part-time job would help - it did, but not without consequences. If you figure this all out, you let me know :)

  4. I can't remember the last time I had even a moment of idle time. I would relish it.


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