January 13, 2012

Preschool = OPPORTUNITIES

I am so discouraged with how this whole Preschool = Abundant Time thing is working out. When we signed Henry up about a year ago, I started counting weeks until it would begin in the fall. Three and a half hours! Three times a week! UNIMAGINABLE FREEDOM!!! I will have so much more time to blog, and without being interrupted several times a minute!

Here is how things went today, and this is typical:

8:30 Take Henry to preschool
8:35 Exercise, and undo negative effects of exercise
9:40 Grocery store, and putting away groceries
11:00 At my computer, with an entire hour remaining

I am not complaining about that hour. No indeed. An hour all by myself in the quiet house is SUPER KEEN, and there is no denying THAT! But as usual it is about COMPARISONS. One hour compared to nothing is WONDERFUL. One hour compared to the anticipated three-point-five hours is...depressing.

Each time, I have to walk myself through it. I didn't "lose" an hour and five minutes exercising; I GAINED the opportunity to exercise! *finger to dimple*! I didn't "lose" an hour and twenty minutes buying groceries and putting them away; I GAINED a grocery store trip in total peace and concentration! *smile that does not reach eyes*!

25 comments:

Tess said...

This is how I feel about Saturdays and Sundays I have "to myself" when Scott is working.

By the time I catch up on laundry, housecleaning, shopping, and all of the other shit I DON'T WANT TO DO IN THE FIRST PLACE, I might as well be AT WORK. At least THEN I have people feeling sorry for me, instead of rolling their eyes at how little time I have actually "gained".

Mary O said...

There is never enough time. I am sort of resentful over how much time it takes to exercise, make myself look presentable and do household things like grocery shop. How do people ever get anything extra done?

Aimee @ Smiling Mama said...

You are so good at using small treats to make things feel special...any way to turn that grocery trip into a special time? Maybe with a special coffee? Lingering in an aisle of gourmet food? Enjoying a muffin prior? (Okay, that might undo the whole exercise thing!)

Crystal said...

My twins are starting preschool soon so I wonder what I am going to do with my 4 hours of freedom. Their preschool is a bit far from my house so joining a nearby gym might be a good idea. Thanks for the idea.

lifeofadoctorswife said...

This is how I feel about my husband's elective time. Elective means "free," and supposedly it is time during which he stays at home, does research, and helps around the house/spends time with his wife.

But really, it works out to one day a week, he has to give a tour to prospective applicants. And one day a week he has clinic hours, which take up half the day AND most of the evening as he finishes his notes. And one day a week he has to attend a conference at the hospital. And then this year, he ALSO has to do 12 hour shifts overnight at random times throughout his year. So that leaves approximately two hours a day I can spend with him, inevitably in the morning when I am working.

It's easy to deal with that lack of time together when I know he has to WORK. But when it's supposed to be FREE TIME, and then that's eaten up with OTHER WORK, well, I get very pouty.

Nicole said...

I felt that way when my kids were in preschool. Everyone was all "you have so much free time now!" when it was really 7.5 hours a week, that was eaten up by dog walking and groceries.

JEN said...

I have always said a stay-at-home mom has it much, much harder than a working mom. Men always think the moms have it so easy. Have them entertain a 3 year old for 10 hours a day and see how it goes.

Glad you are getting exercise in!

Jen said...

Oh I totally felt the same way. Mine had total time at preschool 2 hrs and 15 mins and basically the entire time was eaten up with a run and lunch. So once a week, I got to run in the daylight. Um, yay for me *smile that does not reach eyes*!

Shalini said...

I know! Another mom (with a baby) looked at me after drop off and said, "You're so unencumbered! What you could do with all this free time!" Yeah, "free" time.

Jenny said...

Aw, you have dimples?

andreaunplugged said...

Hey, what about allowing yourself a free day, once every two weeks? So out of 6 preschool days, you get one day where you don't exercise, grocery shop, run errands, or do any of the crappy things while Henry is at preschool. You just go back home to relax or go do something else fun of your choosing (browse the clearance items at target). All that other stuff can wait, right? :)

Elizabeth said...

When Katie used to take two naps a day, I'd come home from taking Eli to preschool as FAST AS I COULD, throw her in her crib, and enjoy the unbelievable bliss of 2.5 hours by myself. And then I signed Eli up for three days, instead of two. Just think of all the alone time I was going to get! And then (cue violins of doom) Katie switched to ONE NAP. So now she doesn't sleep during his preschool time, and now not only do I not get any time off, but I have to entertain her by myself for that time. AND when Eli goes to kindergarten next year, she still won't be in preschool, so all that time that I've just been hanging on for dear life for? NOT ACTUALLY GOING TO HAPPEN BECAUSE I'LL BE DEALING WITH THE OTHER ONE THE WHOLE TIME.
It's at times like this I cannot honestly believe I am considering having more children to add to this rotten situation.

clueless but hopeful mama said...

I feel the SAME WAY. Now that Z is in kindergarten and E is in preschool 3 mornings a week, I should have TONS of free time. But alas, what I have is a little more time to run around and get too little done and feel ANNOYED by the length of my to-do list and ashamed that I haven't gotten more done.

OY.

Ali said...

Would it help/work for you to move 'putting away groceries' out of the child-free time? Where you'd do the grocery trip as the last thing before preschool pickup, and put them away when you both get home? Putting away the groceries with a kid underfoot isn't as big a deal for me as buying them with one in tow (ugh). But the scheduling/time managing hassle might not be worth the extra time earned.

SIL Anna said...

Your niece asked me to tell her the "story of my day" while she was at preschool. It went like this:

-unloaded the dishwasher
-gave the baby a bath
-tummy time
-baby naps! Quick clean up, email, work
-baby wakes early! feed baby

She said, ". . . AND?"
And . . . that was all.

How bad is it that I feel the same way, and she is in preschool FIVE days per week?

Misty said...

Ah, you lie to yourself in the best ways.

Melospiza said...

I think andreaunplugged is onto something.

Also, I am embarrassed to say I ALMOST suggested "just do your grocery shopping with a Little in tow" until I realized/remembered: no. God, no. Nonononno.

Slim said...

Does your Target have groceries?

Also, I know you said "finger to dimple," but I am seeing your pinky at your cheek, a la Dr Evil. Not that you're evil! Just . . . this is the sort of thing that turns a person, you know?

Giselle said...

No! Don't ruin this for me! I just signed Michael up for pre-school for next year and am counting down the days until I have 4 afternoons a week with 2 1/2 hours of kid free time.

Let me live in my dream land a little longer...

jen(melty) said...

and contrarily (not that I'm putting your experience down) I feel like the 2.5 hours I have when my youngest is in preschool... even though I still have my afternoon kindergartener with me... is a LOT more time than my MIL says it is, so THERE. YES you can get a surprising amount of shopping or housework done in 2.5 hours Thank You Very Much, MIL.

Rachael Heiner said...

Yes, this is the way of it, isn't it? Just wait until real school - my 5 year old is gone for 8 hours a day, and if I didn't have this other kid to take care of I'd get SO much done!

Erin said...

OMG. Yes. Ethan started preschool last week—four hours a day, four days a week—and I totally thought I'd have time to do all the things I wanted. Like learn piano, sewing vast amounts of things, walking on the beach, exercising, etc. But basically the solo trip to the grocery store is the most I've accomplished. Sigh.

Kelsey said...

This year I have four mornings a week when Michael is in school for two hours and twenty minutes. The pressures of using that time wisely nearly makes me crazy! I hate the feeling that if I deviate even slightly from what I've planned to do there isn't enough time to make it up during preschool time.

I do have to admit this is probably the best I'm going to have it until they are both in school all day, because Michael still takes a nap - which gives me up to a bonus 1.5 hours when he's in bed.

I still can't get everything done.

Laura said...

Yes. Total agreement here. Look at all the time I'm going to have to pursue self-betterment quickly turned into my being completely paralyzed by the possibilities of child-free time for the first time in 13 years. I felt guilty if I chose doing something for myself. I felt resentful if I chose mundane tasks. The Oracle of Swistle needs to one day come up with a TreSemme type insight for this mind bender. I'm stumped and still searching.

Katie said...

Yes. Amen. Yes. Yes.

I have five hours of preschool kid-free time a week. Well, really only 4 if you count travel times getting there early to hear the teacher talk to parents, etc. And I swear, its like it never even happens. It is over as soon as it starts.

I prioritize everything in my life as to what is MOST IMPORTANT to get done in those four hours. Exercise isn't it. Exercise happens at other times when kid(s) are occupied. Grocery shopping isn't it, because grocery shopping can happen with one kid. The stuff I can do while occupying one kid does NOT happen during preschool time.

Preschool time has become time for me to get a pedicure or manicure. And then for some pointless shopping in places I don't want to take kids. Or, like I did today...came home. Plopped on couch with cup of coffee and watched two episodes of desperate housewives in completely silent house. Sometimes I scream in the house just because I can!!!