I was flying home from from Seattle last month and picked up the April edition of Real Simple Magazine. I love that magazine. I feel like it’s so authentic. Anyway – there was this big article on Women and Time, and it struck a massive chord with me because I never feel like I have enough. Ever.
I often feel guilty for lounging about.
If I’m not working I feel obligated to call friends or family, or respond to emails I haven’t found the time to be thoughtful about.
My to-do list is constantly active, when I cross something off I add 3 more. Even after working, 4 out of 5 days I run home to multi-task. I’m either cooking and washing clothes, or I’m back on my computer with 5 tabs open doing a dozen different things.
When I go to bed, I mostly feel like I haven’t accomplished enough. I feel bad about the things I haven’t completed, and I feel too tired to think beyond pillow-head-sleep.
So, I started reading the article with the attitude of, “yeah yeah yeah, women need to make more time for themselves, blahblah, heard it all before.” Because the flip side to this is that I don’t feel like Kamel has as much going on as I do. Which is mostly true. He has the ability to come home and sit around if he would like. His day job is also his career, his other passions are things he can do on the weekends. I’m the one who (right now) is juggling too many things and trying to eeek ahead by racing towards the tiny crack in the wall I think I can maybe break open. I have many different to-do lists running through my brain every day: work to do, home life to do, bloggy to do, social to do, and then the giant looming to do of things I cannot yet share here. So yes, I started the article thinking I’d heard it all before. We should all go get a massage or something once a week, right? Yeah… sure.
But then I started reading some stats from a giant women vs time survey the magazine had completed. Did you know that:
- 52% of women say they have less than 90 minutes of free time a day? (that would be me, unless you count my time on the train, then I have about, oh, 60 minutes?)
- And 46% say they are constantly interrupted in their free time (Hello. Yes. And most often, I’m the one interrupting myself. Fuck.)
- And then! The things that women listed as activities they do in their free time included: cleaning/laundry/planning family things/grocery shopping, etc.
- Also, it turns out that we’re might just be control freaks, with 45% of women polled saying they don’t give up control of household stuff even though they think their partner will do just as good a job as they do.
And this is where I started to feel a little blush creeping up. Because although Kamel is totally capable of cooking dinner and and picking up the bedroom etc etc etc, when he offers to do these things so I can take a minute to breath, I mostly say no. It’s not because I don’t think he can, it’s because I don’t want to not pull my own weight. If he cooks and washes the dishes, and allows me to sit at my computer and figure things out for the next day, or – god forbid – allows me to sit on the couch doing NOTHING for 30 minutes, then I’m a bad partner. Although, I have no problem telling him, “oh no, it’s cool, I got this.” (Except when I do have a problem with it and I dissolve into yelling tears about how he isn’t helping me… not my finest hour(s))
But then, as I read on, some other things popped out as being important. Did you know that you need time before bed to calm down and begin to relax? That jumping into bed after mentally exhausting yourself (myself) isn’t a good thing? A study published in 2011 where sociologists followed 30 couples (who both worked full time) and took samples of their saliva every ten minutes showed that the couples who spent their evenings doing chores had maintained higher levels of cortisol, which is released in response to stress (and has to do with the adrenal gland, blahblahblah). And this makes it more difficult to sleep, and wears down our bodies.
So there are things right now I’m trying to figure out how to do (and maybe you are too, and maybe you have some tips?). I can’t really change the fact that right now I’m working a lot monday-friday. These are the scramble years and I’m down for working harder to get the prize (god, let’s hope) at the end. But! I’m attempting to stop feeling guilty for having moments, hours, days of doing nothing. Which means I’m not socializing, I’m not working, I’m just… lounging around. And it kind of kills me, but I need it to be ok. I’m trying to not have guilt when Kamel offers to take over a household task, and have the ability to say, “That would be awesome, thank you.” Instead of, “No, it’s cool, i’ll do it.” I’m trying to figure out how to be efficient so I can get things done and still have an hour of downtime before bed.
I refuse to believe I can’t do it all. I will do it all, I just have to figure when to push through things, and when to say no. When do I throw away the to-do list and when do I scramble extra hard? I haven’t figured it out yet.