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How many hours do you spend doing things YOU actually want to do per week please?

(32 Posts)
Countingthegreyhairs Tue 21-Aug-07 10:54:23

Hi all, not quite sure where to post this to be honest and it's a bit of a ramble. Also, to those of you with more than one child, I'm sure this will sound like a pathetic whinge but here goes:

I'm just trying to sort out my schedule for September and would really appreciate some advice.

Currently, I only have one 4-yr-old dd who will be at school 8.45-3.30 every week-day and I'm really lucky because I also work those same hours Mon, Wed, Friday, plus three hours on Thursday.

Shouldn't therefore complain but looking at my schedule, it's full of things I have to do, such as shopping, washing, cleaning, language learning (have to for work) and any time I have left I feel I should (but don't really want to) devote to doing some form of exercise (starting slowly - twice a week).

I like to be there for my 4 yr old from when she comes in from school to when she goes to bed and I do - mostly - cook from scratch (apart from Sats). Dh also travels every week but surely motherhood doesn't have to mean giving up everything you enjoy?

Where am I going wrong? Perhaps I'm just really disorganised. I guess this question is really about how to 'triage' personal priorities ...

What do you do when life seems a bit grey and you appear to have no time?

Should I expect to have two or three hours a week to myself to be able to do something I enjoy or is that an unrealistic expectation?

Genuinely interested to know how many hours per week do you get to do something you really WANT to do?

oneplusone Tue 21-Aug-07 11:08:45

I probably get around 1-2 hours during the week (I go to the gym and kids are in the creche) and a few more at the weekend when DH is around. I'm a full time SAHM with 2 under 5's. I am waiting for them both to be at school/nursery before i get any more time to myself. I was thinking I might go back to work when they're both at school but then I probably wouldn't get much time to myself so may have to rethink that one!

hertsnessex Tue 21-Aug-07 11:11:37

if i conut my things are my work (which i do love and enjoy) then about 20hrs

for anything outside of this 0hrs!

....must get back to the gym.....

harleyd Tue 21-Aug-07 11:14:41

i go out every sunday night to the pub. i work 4 nights a week and am at home the rest of the time. i will be starting the gym again when the kids go back to school if i can get the baby into a creche a couple of mornings a week

paddingtonbear1 Tue 21-Aug-07 11:20:34

I am lucky as dh does a standard 9-5 day, so is usually around in the evenings. During the day I either work or look after dd. A couple of evenings a week I go to the gym, and 1 evening a week dh does chess/basketball. We don't go out together much (except at weekends with dd), as we don't have family near to babysit. dd is about to start school so this in theory gives me Monday free as I don't work then. In reality I'll probably be doing shopping and cleaning! At the moment I accept the house is a bit untidy most of the time (although not dirty), so I can do other things with dd and dh. If I could afford it I'd get a cleaner. Sometimes having 'me' time just involves getting in the bath when dd is in bed! On the whole I reckon I'm pretty lucky..

ladymuck Tue 21-Aug-07 11:30:36

What do you do in the evenings?

I think that you actually do have quite a lot of time. Your 4 year old will need you for a bit after school, and of course you can't just leave the house during those hours to do something for you. But you can at least multi-task during those hours eg preparing dinner at the same time so you have your evenigns free. Or ironing whilst she is slumped in front of TV (she will need some braindead time - if she hasn't started school yet this may be a shock for you!). You have an entire school day to play with (if you can't do a week's shopping in under 2 hours on a Thursday then you can spend an evening doing an internet shop). Dh may be away during the week but if he is around at the weekend then again there shouldn't be any difficulty in carving out 3 hours.

Is the difficulty really that there is simply no time, or more that you don't actually know what to do with it?

glucose Tue 21-Aug-07 11:45:13

If it makes you feel any better I have just about given up doing anything I want to do for myself, and feel totally overwhelmed by all the thinks I am supposed to achieve as a mum. If life seems a bit grey junk food is my solution.

scattyspice Tue 21-Aug-07 11:51:28

Second advice from ladymuck.

I work school hrs and do cleaning, cooking and food shopping with kids in tow.

I choose what I want to do from 8-10pm (sometimes housework, mainly a bath and DH).

At weekends I have time off if I want it.

LittleB Tue 21-Aug-07 12:26:42

Can you combine doing some excercise with something you enjoy, e.g. take up something that gives you some 'you time' like yoga or pilates? I guess I have a few hours a week if you count slumping exhausted in front of the TV in the evenings! But also tend to have an evening out about once a fortnight, with friends or with my dog (training and social). But I would love a bit more time to do things for me too, its having the enrgy aswell as the time though, I work part time and have a dd aged 2, also v'old senile collie dog and 5mth puppy dog, all demanding lots of time, and DH . I know it will get better one day,I can't wait until our local gym starts yoga or pilates lessons at a time I can get to them, they're expanding them all the time so I'm sure it will happen soon!

HonoriaGlossop Tue 21-Aug-07 12:29:48

Counting, I also only have one child but I know exactly what you mean about feeling that I've got no time.

My ds starts school at 9 and finishes at 3, so in reality if I have a day at home that's between 9.30 and 2.30. I only have one day off a week, and have been fitting the big once a week clean and the food shopping into that. I really, really have tried to shop on line but I just don't find it works, round here you have to book your delivery slot at least 5 days in advance and I just find I can't know exactly what I need that far ahead.

The rest of the week I work 9.30 - 2.30 and getting to work, and getting to pick ds up, is a mad rush. Then as you say, it's home to be with DS and cook the dinner, and it's full on really if I want him in bed and asleep by 8pm. Which I do, considering he wakes at 5.30am, 6am on a very good day.

So I also feel there's no time for me; evenings are free. I am guilty of not going out in the evening but by the time bedtime is dealt with I flop down and don't want to get up again.

However dh and I have had a chat and actually I think it's time now to start putting in things for ourselves, so ds sees us having hobbies, interests, a life outside home and work. And sees us wanting to be active and do sports.

It does come a time when they don't JUST need you at home to be with them but also to show them what more there is in life. I always remember my dad setting off in the evenings, sometimes to his orchestra, sometimes to interesting little initiatives he got involved in like music sessions in the local prison, sometimes just out with the lads! I was very proud of him.

SO I'm modelling myself on that now and PRIORITISING some things I want to do, knowing it's good for me and good for ds to see me doing it.

I say go for it, take time to do stuff for you, when DH is around, whether it's evenings or weekends.

glucose Tue 21-Aug-07 12:32:45

I agree with LittleB it will get better one day I keep in mind that my dd will be far to busy one day to come and see her Mum, as for my dog, I just can't work her out, she ia having a mid life crisis

OrmIrian Tue 21-Aug-07 12:34:54

Apart from MNing (which I usually do at work ) and about 30 mins reading before I go to bed that is it. I often want to do some of the things that I do with the kids so I guess that counts too. When I was able to run I guess that took about 2 hours a week. Does sleeping count? 'Cos I love that these days

Clary Tue 21-Aug-07 12:49:14

Counting, I do think it's important to make time for yourself, as it will help you and thus all yr relationships.

In answer to your question, I go to a book group about every 6 weeks, that's a good 4hrs of an evening out; I also have an evening out maybe at the pub or for a meal with various groups of friends (some mums from school, other mums from nursery) about every 2-3 months.

I go running once-twice a week for about 20 mins in the evening. I also swim once-twice aweek for half an hour and did do (but haven't lately an hour's pilates class once a week.

All of these in the evenings when DH is home too. (he also does stuff for himself btw!)

I would also count gardening, baking, reading and watching TV that I want to watch! So it probably adds up to at least 2-3 hours a week, averaged out. Admittedly it's mostly in the evenings so not exactly browsing round the shops - that is difficult.

Oh I would also count helping in school as I love that - last year I was doing 2 hrs/ week of that.

I work 30 hr/week and have 3 children btw, DS2 (no 3) starts school in Sept so I will have a bit more spare time on a Friday (my day off work) I do the shopping/cleaning/washing etc to a schedule - for eg put load of laundry in late on, hang on line in am before school, clean bathroom before pilates class etc. I also cook from scratch but that doesn't mean things have to take ages.

Hmm now I've written that out it's a lot more than I thought! Interesting!

numptysmummy Tue 21-Aug-07 12:53:03

A couple of hrs on the computer and my dh begrudges me that! Starting puppy classes with new pup soon though.Oh,does taking the dc's to school count

LittleB Tue 21-Aug-07 12:55:04

You could count some of the things you want to do with the kids too couldn't you? I like going to our local toddler group as its a great chance for me to chat to friends and dd enjoys it too. We're going fruit picking later this week with my sister and all our children which we'll all enjoy, and going to the beach etc. Walking the dogs is a chore but its also me time as its peaceful and on my own! I also like having a good soak in the bath, maybe with chocs, glass of red and a good book sometimes to really relax, feels more like quality time that slumping in front of telly!
But I would love to start horseriding again one day, would love to go shopping without dd, would love to just sit out in the garden and read, but I guess these will all happen again one day when dd is older. Can you set aside a couple of hours when dd is at school to do something? Then perhaps do some of the cleaning or washing when she is around to help/hinder you?

JARM Tue 21-Aug-07 13:04:30

At the moment, both me and DH are home all day every day with 2 under 4yrs.

We share all the childcare, housework, shopping etc but time just for me doesnt happen unless i lock myself in the bathroom.

Being 26weeks pregnant too doesnt help, i dont have the energy to "do stuff" so while i could have an evening hobby, im too tired. I dont sleep very well, and the children are at very demanding stages.

We fill our days around them, and in the evening its our time to chill, watch tv and have an uninterupted cuddle and chat.

We get 45mins after lunch (now!) when both girls are asleep, when DD1 wakes, we usually do phonics or similar with her and then when DD2 wakes its usually craft or baking.

The last time i had a whole hour to myself was my birthday last week, and i spent it getting my hair cut!

Roll on DD1 starting 5 sessions at nursery in september!

Countingthegreyhairs Tue 21-Aug-07 14:21:16

Gosh - thank you for all your responses - went away for lunch and came back all these interesting answers. The consensus seems to be about 2 hrs a week once dc have reached school age.

Lol Glucose + OrmIrian + HertsnEssex + NumptysMummy!! Feel the same way alot of the time!

LadyMuck & Scattyspice - no problem at all finding something to do - have loads and loads of half-finished/half-started creative projects on the go and I think the evenings must be where I'm going wrong. I tend to iron/do admin/internet shop then or slump in front of TV (or both). Usually not poss to go out because dh travels alot during week - and when I can it's difficult to plan - but could make more of my evenings at home if I organised better lighting in the house.

Also, like Clary (much respect to you and Jarm btw re: your schedules!!) I do go out once a month to a book-club (three hours) and I do get odd really enjoyable moments doing the gardening

Agree with little B though that I think how much you make of your time depends on energy levels and determination. I definitely need to make improvements re both of these factors.

Thanks Honoria G - your posting echoes my sentiments exactly! Don't know why but the six hours dd is out of the house is a mad rush of work and cramming practical stuff in. I feel that there is something 'missing' at the moment and, like you, recognise that it would be good for dd to see dh and me more engaged in outside activities. Have tried doing what Little B suggests and 'stealing' a couple of hours during the day on Tuesdays but then, like PaddingtonBear1 says, there's always some domestic priority that seems to intervene!!

Thanks everyone though. Having read all the posts I think I am being too negative about this and need to accept, for example, as PaddingtonBear says, that the house won't be as tidy as I'd like etc etc and just get on with it. I suppose I've been waiting for the past 4 yrs for a few hours to mysteriously become available and it's finally dawning that it won't happen unless I engineer it.

Good planning and not succumbing to the lure of the sofa in the evenings is bound to help as well I reckon ...

HonoriaGlossop Tue 21-Aug-07 14:45:01

I think it's partly remembering to change our approach as the kids get older. When they're babies and toddlers you get so used to them needing you all the time and used to feeling that you need to be with them, focus on them, play with them, etc. And I've always tried to cram in cleaning etc so that I free up time to play with ds.

But as he gets older I'm seeing that actually that's not what older children need. And there's no need to feel guilty about shopping, cleaning, cooking, while they're around. They need to see this stuff done and to learn to help (eventually!) because it's not doing their development any good if the house is magically clean and the cupboards magically full, and they don't even see the doing of it!

Obviously it's a balance to strike, they still need playing with and attention....but I'm consciously reminding myself now that I don't need to feel guilty about this!

Thanks for this thread, counting, it's spooky how you have struck a chord with's this exact issue that I've been grappling with for a while now!

Countingthegreyhairs Tue 21-Aug-07 15:02:35

Thank you HG You've hit the nail on the head (again!).

I do feel very guilty cleaning and cooking while dd is around. She's terrific company (she has a great sense of humour) but all she really wants me to do is play with her - every minute of every day. I know in my head that I need to involve her in housework and balance that with ring-fenced play time; but in reality I do give in to her protests too often if I'm honest.

Umm ... causes of my perceived lack of time become much clearer as I think about this ..!!

Clary Tue 21-Aug-07 15:07:55

yes HG that;s right.

I do chores when the DCs are there of course - hang wash on the lin eand they hand me the pegs (or are just playing in garden) - hoover and they tidy (or not! lol) but just need to get on with it.

Counting, of course I should add that I never go to bed to fit it all in!

Countingthegreyhairs Tue 21-Aug-07 17:21:56

Care to share any more bits of your schedule Clary? I need help .... the old grey mare ain't what she used to be ...

Clary Tue 21-Aug-07 20:43:00

ooh excellent.

Don't ask me things like that lol!

OK do the wash thing every evening. Also cleaning tasks each day. Eg tonight's is hoover and dust downstairs and hoover stairs; Monday is change and wash towels and clean bathroom. Tomorrow is hoover and dust upstairs. You get the picture.

This takes about 20 mins/half an hour, often in the evenings, but sometimes in the am (eg tomorrow I also have to do our bedlinen and as I start work 9.30 I can do it before work).

I often put wash on line as kids eat their b/fast; some days I start work early and then DH does th eschool run etc, but if not I like to find 5 mins to hear DD read or do DS1's spellings. Makes me feel better about the chores I have also been doing.

Then in the evening do chores (wash pots/fold washing) while cooking tea. Activities with/for kids (in term time - much more relaxed in hols) like swimming, Rainbows etc, then tea, bath, stories, bed. They are supposed to be in bed by 7.30 which gives me time to finish off any jobs, maybe do a bit of ironing, then whatever else.

Tnoight for eg I have ironing and hoovering to do and then may read my fab Anne Tyler book for a while. I do go to be very late tho. Also it helps if (as tonight) DH and I eat with kids as onyl one meal. he does the pots (hurrah!)

Is this at all what you wanted from me????

Clary Tue 21-Aug-07 20:44:07

sorry about typos. I go to bed very late (clearly too late lol)

Countingthegreyhairs Wed 22-Aug-07 10:24:59

That's great Clary - thank you!!

I'm making myself up a detailed scheduled to follow during term-time (a bit like Supernanny does!!) and I'll add in some of your pointers (adapted to our house). That way I can stop faffing (how do you spell that?) around about how I'm spending my time and just consult the list and get stuck in.

I guess it's a question of getting it done and keeping it going - every day - and using the most of your time so that you can ring-fence the odd hour and here for enjoyable stuff - with or without the dc.

You weren't joking then about cleaning instead of sleeping

Thanks again!!

scattyspice Wed 22-Aug-07 11:46:49

Fantastic Clary, I love other peoples routines. .

Counting, I find Flylady helpful.

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