Children and the elasticity of time

Time, I once famously said (that was a famous post, right?), is a dangerous thing. I normally don't get any. I mean, yes. Like everyone else, I get twenty-four hours a day. But like I explained in that post, mine is taken up by children a lot. And it's not just because I homeschool; I take it parents of children who go to school are also very busy with homework, parent-teacher things, lunch-making, and the awful terrible horrendous job of getting sleepy children up, dressed, fed, and out the door in time every morning. At least mine sleep in. No. There's something about having kids that turns your days into black holes of time-suckingness. (Of course that's a word; I just made it up.) And it's very frustrating sometimes. Especially when you have more projects on the go than you'd have time for even if you didn't have children, plus all kinds of ambitious homeschooling projects for the kids, too. These days we're heavily into music and arts and world history and Latin and (cough) a bit of French since it's summer and all three kids are two grades ahead in core subjects anyway, and it's a blast. A very time-consuming blast.

What's prompting all this time-suckingness-related brooding is the coming twelve days. We're at the lake now, until shortly after lunch Friday. Then we go back home to do some intensive karate (tournament on Saturday is the major event). We need to do some filming on Parliament Hill early Sunday morning, following which, if the weather allows, my husband and the kids will leave for the lake again. Me? I'm flying to Alberta at oh-insane hour Monday morning for a very intensive few days of filming interviews and other bits for the two documentaries we have in production. I'm doing Calgary, then driving to Edmonton, then flying to Toronto for a bit of a trek around the area before zooming back to Ottawa on the lovely 401.

Dad and daughters and pets will have come home from the lake by then, but they (the people) are leaving early Thursday to spend the long weekend at my husband's childhood cottage on Georgian Bay with his family, leaving me with a dog, a cat, and a bicycle. Oh, and time.

TIME! To do stuff! Like work! And paint! And mow the lawn! And stain the fence! And who knows what all!

My filming whirlwind of a trip will be very intensive (I generally don't recommend trying to keep up with me when I'm in my woman-on-a-mission mode; I move a lot and I move fast), but you know what's really cool about it? I get TIME! Time to work on flights, time to go running in the early morning light without worrying about waking up my sleeping beauties (crowded small hotel rooms aren't the best place for my early morning routine), time to listen to all these awesome history/philosophy podcasts I've been piling up during those long drives on terribly boring highways, time to hear myself think. It'll be great. Heck, I'll even have time to practice piano and maybe I'll even crank out my music and sing my head off since nobody'll be there to complain that maybe we don't need Blondie 16 times in a row. (I live among heretics, I swear.)

Yes, I'll miss my people. Yes, I'll feel guilty a bit for enjoying their lack of presence in my immediate vicinity. But not guilty enough to stop myself from accomplishing 3843812 critical chores and feeling good about knocking them out.

It's a weird thing, having kids. If you didn't have them, you'd have all kinds of time to do your work. But then, you also wouldn't have the same energy and devotion and pure drive to make that work matter (and ideally succeed financially) because it's not the same when you don't have pretty small humans depending on you. And even if money is not a problem for you, you still want your work to matter because you are showing your kids what it's like to have a passion and follow it and work hard at something worth doing. Without kids, you'd have time to do work. But your work would matter less.

In the end, time is an elastic concept. It stretches and contracts, sometimes because of something you do and sometimes because of outside forces. Sometimes it gets so squished that the prospect of four entire hours to work on anything feels like a month. The trick is to grab those wonderful, blissful opportunities when they present themselves and make the best of them.

Without too much guilt.

Take it from the master: work every day

Because writers write, is why