Accidental “Me Time”

I recently took on some additional business for my media consulting firm, which has resulted in more money (edging closer to wage parity at my house, if not, you know, the world or anything), and a significant drop in spare time.  Of course, between the three kids, the traveling husband, the house, the writing projects and my body’s annoying need for sleep, there wasn’t a ton of spare time to begin with.  And though my professional workload has increased, it didn’t seem possible to decrease, say, the number of children I have.  (“Kids, we’re going to have to reduce headcount,” seems so cold.  Plus, born in Chicago, the boys unionized early.)  So, it’s my writing and workout routines that have mostly taken the hit.  Those pursuits feel intensely selfish when put up against supporting the family or spending time with them or cooking them a healthy dinner.  Often, I just can’t make myself do it, even though, rationally, everything would probably be fine if we ate a tiny bit more processed food or played one less board game.

Sunday was looking to be a typical chore-filled weekend day, tidying up, planning the week’s menus, writing up the grocery list and so on.  But, rather mysteriously, I seemed to have a bit more time left in the afternoon by the time I was ready to head out to the market.  The sun was out and the temperature was up to 40-something degrees (this is Wisconsin so believe me when I tell you there were people running around in shorts) and I had this notion that, if I were living the fantasy-perfect version of my life, the one that would get written up in Real Simple magazine, I would head to the UW Aboretum for a nice hike before going to the store.  And I’d still have time to get the groceries, put them away, cook a dinner worthy of us all being together around the table, and get the kids showered and tucked in at a reasonable hour with time for books and cuddles before a good night’s sleep in advance of their 7:00 am school bus pick up.

Glancing at the kitchen clock, it seemed possible.

So I did it.  I drove over to the Arb, practically giddy at my own super-efficiency.  My body was so craving outdoor activity and, between miserable weather and a series of rotten germs, I’ve been stuck inside for way too long.

Then, I glanced at my phone.  And I realized that, in fact, the day had not grown longer and I had not been extra speedy in getting all my other chores done first.  I’d just forgotten to set the clocks ahead for Daylight Savings Time.  It was already nearly 3:00 pm.

I almost left.

But I didn’t.  I stayed.  And I took the gorgeous hike that I desperately needed.  (And, later, I made up the time by getting all our provisions from one store rather than going to Costco for the eggs and milk and by picking up prepared food for dinner.  It was fine.  Seriously.)

“Me time.” Accidental or on purpose, I highly recommend it.