Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Time is No Longer Money

I’m a full time working mom, and like every full time working mom I have the challenge of trying to juggle my work life with my family life. I’ve always looked at the value of money vs. time. I would look at a necklace I wanted and figure out how many hours I had to work to pay for it. Is that necklace really worth an entire day’s worth of work? It made spending decisions much easier.

But then Michael was born and I quickly discovered that my time is worth a lot more than what I’m being paid for it. That’s fine with me, I like to work, and I receive a great deal of satisfaction from the work I do. I can’t put a dollar value on that. But, it goes the other way too. There are other things in my life that are important to me, and no amount of money could ever make up for those. Adding time into my decision making tool makes every decision that much more complex.

Everyday, I have about five thousand things that I want to do, and another ten thousand that I need to do. I have to go through my mental list each morning and prioritize and rank everything, and then figure out which ones I can actually get done. It goes something like this.

Okay, lets’ see. I have to go to work. I have to feed Michael. I have to exercise. I have to, I have to, I have to. Okay, I want to spend some time reading and I want to do some needle work. Can I do them while doing some of the stuff that I have to do? If I ride the bike can I read, if I make stew for dinner, I can sit down and play with Michael longer? If I, if I, if I. By the end of the day, I’ve done some of what I have to do, and often I’ve done some of what I want to do. The next morning, my list is just as long, and the decisions are just as hard. It’s not an ideal situation, but it’s what I have to work with.

What drives me crazy are people that try to impose themselves into this mix with no consideration for what it means to my life. I’m not talking about the childless friend that keeps asking me to go shopping with her. I’m talking about the people who should know better, but do it anyway, and don’t back off when you tell them to.

The daughter of one of my coworker’s has offered to teach Michael to swim. This is a very generous offer and I really appreciate it. I’ve said so about 30-40 times now. See, the problem is that they live 45 minutes from us. I work full time, she works the opposite schedule that I do. It’s just not going to work.

However, said coworker will not let it drop. He has started telling me horrible stories about toddlers that drown and insists that I MUST let his daughter teach Michael to swim. He insists that his daughter is more qualified than I am to teach him how to swim, even though she has no professional training. Next, he started telling me that I should make my mother, the one who watches Michael for 10 hours five days a week, drive the 45 minutes down, drop him off after work, and then turn around and drive 45 minutes home. Or, that Andy should do it after work. Or, that I should do it!

That’s it! You have gone too far. Do not for one moment think you know how I should spend my time better than I do. I had been giving him less than subtle hints, like “I don’t have enough time,“ and “this is not going to work out.” But after he started dictating my schedule to me I had to set him straight. Dude, I am so overbooked right now that your plan will not work. At this point, the only thing I have to give up is sleep, and I’m not giving up one second of those magical six and a half hours. I’ll either teach my own kid to swim, or I’ll pay someone to teach him how to SURVIVE in water. The hour and a half travel involved in this deal is just is not worth it. Back off!

Ahh…that feels better.

1 comment:

Zoey's Mommy said...

I really look up to full time working mothers. I know how hard it is being a stay at home mom and I couldn't even imagine having to work 40+ hours a week. So kudos to you!

I had to LOL about the swimming thing though. We have no plans to put Zoey in any kind of class to learn how to swim. The way I figure, I learned by being shoved into a pool, and she can too! I realize that sounds so horrible, but I just don't see the point in spending all kinds of money right now to teach her how to swim. I mean, the kid can't even say her name half the time. How is she going to remember to save herself if she's drowning?!