Wednesday, February 17th, 2010 • No Comments on TIme Wise
Now that I have a part-time babysitter for Patrick, I am finding it frustrating trying to figure out how to best utilize the free time I have. And by “free” I mean, baby-free, since I’m very much paying for this time. (And after two months of non-stop, 24/7 baby care with maybe 10 hours away from him total, it is money very much well-spent.) Ideally, I would spend every single minute of my babysitting time writing. But that doesn’t allow for those other things I need to do which are better done without a baby in tow. Errands are so much easier when I can run in and out alone instead of having to heft baby and carseat (or snap baby and carseat into the stroller frame, since baby is now weighing close to 14 pounds and the carseat isn’t light, either). Even when Patrick is sleeping or awake and quiet, it makes for a longer trip that’s harder on my back.
So far, a balance between errands and writing seems to be working out, though I yearn for more time for both. I’d like to squeeze in a little adult social time, too, but that’s secondary to the things that must be done. Today’s five-hour block of babysitting time included picking up prescriptions at Target, a trip to Old Navy and writing. Five hours should be enough time for all of that, but… the wait at the Target pharmacy was 20 minutes. I spent half an hour in Old Navy (I’m in desperate need of some cool-weather clothing, but I seemed to have missed the end-of-season bargains because all that was left was crap) and walked out with two baby outfits and a pair of yoga pants for myself (to inspire me to do Pilates). I then went to Barnes & Noble, figuring a change of writing venue would be nice, but everyone seemed to have the same idea because the bookstore cafe was packed. I gave up on that idea and headed to my usual Starbucks, where I am now. I wrote some e-mail (writing related, mostly), chatted with Jay via Skype and have been writing (and blogging) since noon. I need to leave in ten minutes to be home by 3.
Half of my time today has been spent on writing stuff, the other half on errands and driving time. The driving time is annoying, but that’s life in the suburbs. I could stay home for my five hours and spend the entire time writing, but I already try to squeeze in some writing time at home while Patrick naps and I like being able to leave the house (alone). Plus, I think hearing him fuss or cry would be distracting (and likely send me downstairs to make sure things were okay—not because the babysitter can’t handle it, but because I’d feel bad). I might still spend some days at home—especially close to deadline times—but I don’t want that to be the norm. So, it seems that grouping my errands together might be the best way to maximize my time. Perhaps dedicating one block of babysitting a week to errands would make me less frustrated because I could spend all of my time (less driving time) writing on the other days.
The other problem I need to work through—and I’m trying!—is actually leaving the house when the babysitter arrives. I have been spending 20-30 minutes (45 on Monday) chatting with her and/or finishing getting ready and gathering my stuff. Ideally, I would be ready to walk out the door when she arrived, but that’s not always possible with Patrick’s schedule. This morning, however, there really was no excuse. Patrick was napping and I was packing up my laptop when the babysitter arrived at 10, but I still didn’t walk out the door until 10:25. Oops. I will get better, though.
It’s lovely to have the time to write and run errands and know that Patrick is being well cared for and will be a happy (or napping) baby when I get home. To be honest, it’s still difficult to be away from him and I don’t think having more babysitting hours would make me happier. I would just miss him more. Instead, I just need to make sure I’m making the most of the hours I have.
On that note, I’m out of here and headed home.