Where Does the Time Go (Part II)

Yesterday's post about time focused on the additional time I put in on the work side to market myself and my company.  Today I want to talk about the family side of the work-family balance.  Just as it's hard for me to toggle between desk work and outside work, it's hard for me to toggle between consultant and dad.

I know this is not true for others.  Others thrive on the fluidity of their schedules, flowing seamlessly between multiple roles and feeling grateful for the flexibility to work from home and take from work to do family stuff. 

I am not like this, and seem to have become even more compartmentalized as my life has complicated.  I find this neither good nor bad, just a way that I deal with the many important things that make up my life. 

One thing I alluded to in my post about time and money earlier this week is the trading of money for time by outsourcing various tasks to others.  Here's an inventory of things that took my time this month that are commonly outsourced to others by parents:

21 school drop-offs
17 school pick-ups
5 swimming classes at the Y
4 ballet classes at the neighborhood dance studio
2 doctor appointments
2 dentist appointments
5 grocery runs
5 hours of indoor chores (cleaning, vacuuming)
31 times feeding the kids breakfast
15 times feeding the kids lunch
27 times feeding the kids dinner62 times washing the dishes

And that's just one of the two grown-ups in the Huang Family Corporation.  I'm not sure math has invented numbers big enough to quantify my wife's share of the load.  ("Load" being a deliciously apt word to use here, given the mounds of laundry she does 100 percent of.)

And so between the two of us, it is a daunting amount of time spent on the maintenance of our lives and the care of our children.  Which, between that and demanding jobs and the inability to get by on superhuman levels of sleep, means not much down time and not much shelter from weariness. 

So you look at that list above, and, feeling the tiredness at your core, you start to think about where money can be traded for time, what things you actually enjoy and would miss, and how to balance being a good parent by being there with being a good parent by making sure you're not completely fried.  And that's as far as I go today with this post, conceding that I haven't the foggiest what to do and realizing that this challenge is both widespread among many of my peers and yet each situation (and thus each solution) is unique.

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