Where Does the Time Go?

Where Does the Time Go?

How is it that kids take up so much time?  Where does the time go exactly?

Especially since Claire started kindergarten, this has become more clear to me.  An average weekday breaks down to about 6 hours of kid “stuff”, mostly to do with getting them to the right place at the right time, feeding them, and getting them to sleep.  Here is how it breaks down on a regular school day:

  • 6:30 – 7:25 am: Getting the kids up, dressed, fed, packed, and out the door for school
  • 7:25 – 8:15 am: Getting both kids dropped off at school, and then back home for work
  • (day job)
  • 4:00 – 5:00 pm: Picking up Claire from extend-a-care and taking her back home for a while.  Often, I get a little more work done while Claire chills downstairs.  Or I unpack and go through Claire’s daily folder with assignments, notices, etc.  Or finish up laundry, dishes, mail, etc.
  • 5:00 – 6:00 pm: This is roughly the window of Claire and I picking up Molly and getting everyone settled back at home.  This can take a while because the traffic on Mo-Pac is often ridiculous.  I have considered biking over to pick her up, which would certainly take even longer, but at least it would be fun and good for the heart and would turn a really bad slog into a fun activity.  Still, I can’t afford the extra time to do this.  When would we have dinner?  Would I leave work even earlier?
  • 6:00 – 7:00 pm: Dinner prep, consumption, and cleanup if possible
  • 7:00 – 7:30 pm: Molly bath, story, and to sleep.  Claire’s evening free time or for school assignments or playing with one of us.
  • 7:30 – 8:15 pm: Claire shower, teeth, story, and to sleep.
So the average day has roughly 6:30 to 8:15 and 4:00 to 8:15 more or less focused on the kids or kid-realted tasks, which comes in at about 6 hours every day.  That really is a second job, not quite a full-time job, but close.  One you toss in nighttime “administrative” activities such as tracking, scheduling, and planning school assignments, kid-related home projects, outside classes, parties, etc. plus the laundry, cleaning (hah!), etc. it probably does come in at at least 40 hours.
There is no doubt that all this time is worth every second to have two great girls.  My only regret is that most of this time is not what you might call “fun” or “quality” time.  It is mostly just “managing” the kids, sort of like herding cattle, in a sense.  Of course, Claire, Molly, and I talk and joke around in the car.  And sometimes we steal some extra time to play on the playground after school, which is really excellent.  And on the weekends we thankfully do have time carved out for outings around town, play dates, slow dinners, and other fun.  But we have to work hard to protect that time.
At 30-40 hours a week, these kids really are officially a second job: an unpaid, sometimes thankless, sometimes frustrating job, but more than that… easily the most thrilling, interesting, and rewarding job ever.
Career Plans

Career Plans

Claire has been thinking about being a working mom lately.

Her daily note from school today said Claire “went to work” while Carissa (her teacher) “babysat” her babies named “Dona” and “Roshashana”.

One night during her bath, Claire rattled off a few job ideas, but after some thought settled on being a teacher.

Yesterday, said Claire said she wanted to be a doctor and go to the hospital with her mom every day. Kit was really touched by this. However, she is suggesting that Claire look into an allied health field or a technician position rather than being a straight up doctor. The hours and stress have been getting to her lately. :-


Howdy, Austin

Howdy, Austin

At long last, we have moved to Austin!

Not long ago, Kit’s job search from Dallas was not going so well.  We were afraid Kit would be unemployed, and we would be forced to move to Richardson for the lower rent, where Kit would be a stay-at-home mom with a hard earned but unused MD and PhD.  Or we would move somewhere random and presumably cold (Duluth or Scranton come to mind) just to find a place that would hire her.  The job market out there is tough now, even for doctors!

But here we are moving to Austin, of all places, where Kit has landed a sweet job thanks to her friend Chrissy from the residency days. Chrissy recommended Kit to her group in Austin, and by some small miracle (actually a big miracle to us), they hired her.  We always had our eye on moving to Austin or San Antonio, but we never really thought it would work out.  But here we are with a good job lined up for Kit. We are very lucky indeed.

Even though we are happy to move here, Claire had to leave behind some great school friends (Katherine from her Dallas preschool was her best friend!) plus a great baby sitter who we only used once before we left.  Claire of course has a new bedroom that is smaller than her old one in Dallas, but it actually works better for her age.  She will be starting up at her new preschool soon, which we were also extremely lucky to get her into.  Many of our other preschool choices were unorganized and chaotic, and one seemed to be run by a teenage girl in a swimsuit with no shoes.  But by another miracle and some good timing, we got Claire into an excellent day care which normally has a two year waiting list.

So far to Claire, Austin has meant a lot of fun, especially in the water.  In the first weekend alone, we went swimming or splashing on three different occasions: Barton Springs, the splash fountain at Auditorium Shores, and Chrissy’s backyard for the Fourth of July.  You just can’t help but run out and get wet around here, especially with a little kid and temperatures over 100 degrees most days.

Now the real adventure begins as Kit settles into her new job, Claire settles into her new school, I move back to full-time working at home, and we all prepare for the new baby.  These are huge life transitions, and they will bring challenges for us all.  But for now, it looks like we have things on the right track.

Crooner

Crooner

Claire likes to sing her own little songs about different people now. She’ll pick a person and sing a little song. Sometimes it even sounds pretty good. Normally her songs go like this one about Muffin.

“Muffin is a wonderful doggy, Muffin is a wonderful doggy, so wonderful, Muffin, Muffin, Muffin.”

She doesn’t sing it to any tune I can readily identify, but it might be inspired by “Frere Jacques”. She adapts this same format to the people in her life, like, “Grammy is a wonderful lady…”

One day Kit and I were driving to dinner with Claire, and she started singing a different variation, about our jobs. “Mommy is a doctor, Mommy is a doctor.” Then she started singing, “Daddy is a ….” After a long pause she sort of mumbled something quietly to herself, like “Daddy is a …. mrpahpahpah”. She couldn’t figure out what I was besides a daddy! After a few more seconds, Claire found another way out of the conundrum. “Daddy is a … handsome guy!” (Later, she changed it to “office guy”)
Thanks for compliment, Claire, but for future reference I am a “systems analyst”. Don’t worry, I don’t know what it means either, but it seems to have something to do with computers.