The Lie We Tell Ourselves About Time

“If only I had more time I could get so much done.”

“Having the kids around with me all day makes it impossible to do my own thing.”

I am on a vacation in the Wine Country. This is day four of our trip. When I planned this trip with my hubby, part of our hope was to find time to get some work done. We wanted space to be together, but not to fill our days too much. We wanted to do some stuff that we never seem to have enough time for at home.

So I brought Lappy, my notebooks and some books I wanted to read. I thought that not being around the kids, away from home, away from all the demands of the day, would be a good time to hunker down and do the thing I love to do – write.  And write a LOT.

Well, we’re here and I’ve actually written a little less than normal. Being away from the kids, being away from life’s demands, having the choice to do whatever, and I’m writing just about as much as I always do.

The truth is, I don’t have more time now that the kids aren’t around. The truth is that I don’t have more energy or space or freedom being on my own. I put exactly the same priority on writing without them around as I do when they are with me.

In fact, when my kids are with me, I might actually have more time to do the things I love to do because in my efforts to give them lots of time to explore and play, I create time for all of us. When they are playing in the back yard or when they are working on K’nex and playing pretend, they are sucked into their passions, which in turn, gives me time… no, it forces me, to do things I love, because I know that I may not have another chance that whole day to do something for me again.

When I’m with my kids, I write and do the things I love a lot, because I’m always working hard doing so many life things, that I make the effort to fit me-time and my own interests into the day somewhere.

On this vacation, I have a false sense of having a lot of free time, so I put off the things I wanted to do, thinking that I have all the time in the world to do them later.

Then later comes, and I am too tired, or inspiraiton doesn’t come, or I end up being distracted by something else.

There is always something else. Always. No matter where we are, what we are doing, there is always something to distract us, to pull us from what we want to do. We can say that the kids keep us busy, or that we have housework or that we have a job, or whatever. But the truth is, we have a choice how we spend our time. And whether or not the kids are with us all the time doesn’t change that.

I realize now, being away from the kids, that I do a really good job of making time for my own projects in my life. I have a good balance between giving to other people, and giving to myself. The kids are part of why I do so many things. They keep me awake, and conscious and passionate. Because I have to give them so much of me, I am hyper-aware of having to make time for my own projects. And so, I do. And the time I make for me has to be spent doing something that is meaningful or at least leaves me with the feeling of have done something that defines who I am as a person that isn’t a mom, or a wife or a teacher.

So, this morning, I woke up early without complaint, did some yoga, did some reading and now I’m working on my NaNo. I am doing this now because I have made a choice to do that knowing that I might not get to it later. Because even on vacation, there’s always something to distract me from what I really want to do.

In life, whether that be every day life or a vacation, it’s ultimately my choice of what I do. And I can’t blame any other responsibility for my inability to motivate myself. The only excuse that I have is me. My children do not make me unable to work out. My children do not keep me from writing. My children, husband, the house don’t keep me from being satisfied.

I was hoping to get more work done during this vacation. But what I realize now, is that this time away from the kids serves a different purpose than I had anticipated – is has given me perspective and a chance to re-evaluate without being in the thick of it. I doesn’t give me a chance to be “me” more, I’m always “me”. But it gives me a chance to see who I am and who my kids are and who my hubby is and go, “Oh well, hot damn, that’s what’s going on.”

So I’m motivated to go home and keep doing what we’ve been doing, and maybe add a few things here, not do so much of another thing there. But I do have balance. Time away, time for myself, is all about working towards balance. And I think that balance can be found anywhere, not just on vacation.

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4 Responses to “The Lie We Tell Ourselves About Time”

  1. Mark Weiss Says:

    I am not sure. Was this vacation really a chance to recreate or do some of what you do at home at a different location? Is there a benefit to putting “lappy” away totally for a week? Just asking.

  2. Mark Weiss Says:

    I am not sure. Was this vacation really a chance to recreate or do some of what you do at home at a different location? Is there a benefit to putting “lappy” away totally for a week? Just asking, ‘cuz I care.

  3. Tammy Says:

    Hee hee, thanks for caring, Mark 🙂

    This vacation was primarily for three things (although there were other reasons as well):

    1) Be with hubby – a lot.

    2) Get a lot of stuff done that I never seem to have time to do – like write for ME. Writing makes me happy. Lots of things make me happy, but writing is something that really makes me happy, yet is difficult to fit into my life. Why? Because when I write, I “go away”, and I can’t do that when I’m with my kids.

    3) Visit the wine country.

    So ya, it’s recreating a bit of what I have at home – but the stuff I’m recreating are the things I want more of.

    I have to say though, that I had a touch of home-sickness today. I’ll be happy to go home and see the kids.

  4. livingabundantly Says:

    Been There, Doing That.

    What you said that caught my attention: I put exactly the same priority on writing without them around as I do when they are with me.

    Not enough time and too many obligations is just another excuse we use to bury the truth – that we are choosing not to write (or make art) for whatever reasons. Said purely from my own experience…


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