Once upon a time . . . I had the rare opportunity to read an article in The Washington Post, an article that had absolutely nothing to do with research for my job. The article discussed motherhood versus our arch enemy, time. Really, it took me at least a week to get through the article due to motherhood type interruptions. The article focused on a study conducted by Dr. John Robinson of the University of Maryland. According to Dr. Robinson and his study, “Women have at least 30 hours of leisure every week.” WHAT?!? 30 hours of leisure time, could someone tell me the exact location of that so called leisure time?
I know I carry a heavy load of commitments; all of which can be tamed, maybe, but 30 hours. My husband joked with me that my blog entry should read “We all have a tendency to over commit ourselves sometimes and we all should try to avoid that.” That’s it, short, sweet and to the point, but I could not bring myself to do just that, so instead I’m at the computer, kids in bed, it’s 11:15pm and I’m typing a blog entry.
Moms don’t have typical days. With all our best intentions, we plan, or at least make a valiant attempt. We write lists, keep calendars, and complete tasks at odd hours; whatever it takes to keep the family in order. So what about 30 hours of leisure time, I’d like to fit it into my calendar or put it on my “to-do list” please. A dear mom friend of mind joked, as we were attempting to schedule a walk, “Well, it’s on the calendar; therefore, it has to exist.” Isn’t that the truth?
Ok, back to this time study. According to the study, leisure time for women includes exercise, answering emails, reading, anything fun with the kids, watching TV while folding laundry, waiting for an oil change or sitting in the doctor’s office for an appointment, and lastly, waiting for your kids during a practice, dance lessons, in our case swimming and piano. Really, leisure, really? Sounds more like things I have to do because it is a requirement or a commitment. What about the things that me, myself and I would like to do. For instance, 6 weeks ago I borrowed a book from the County library; I’m only half way through it and have to physically go to the library to renew it because I’ve exhausted the time allotted for renewals. Guess what? That’s considered “leisure time.” My favorite type of leisure time that the study included, volunteer time. Well, then I must be just living it up with leisure time.
The author of the article, a working mom, did conclude that moms choose their schedules because we want to enjoy our kids/family and that this time crunch cannot last forever. She also suggested, when taking out the trash or doing some other “mom requirement,” stop to look around at your surroundings, you may just catch a glimpse of a full moon, sunset or rainbow. That’s leisure!
As I type this entry, I have Mom Congress on the brain. Leisure? Maybe? It is a trip, no kids, no hubby, no chauffeuring, no meals to plan. I will be participating in an extraordinary experience with amazing moms that share a passion for education and there will be endless learning opportunities. Leisure? I’m sure the Dr. John Robinson of the University of Maryland would deem it such, however, I deem it as a chance to make a difference in a child’s life, somewhere, somehow.
Well, Mom Congress Delegates, let the adventure begin. Oh wait, we’ve been chatting it up on Facebook. Can we count that as leisure?