“No, you never get any fun out of the things you haven’t done.” Ogden Nash
It’s easier to help other people than to see how to help ourselves, isn’t it? Imagine that you know Abigail or Barney. This is their situation. If one of them asked you for ideas that would help them have more time for themselves, what would you suggest for them to do?
Abigail is the second oldest of five children, just two years younger than her brother but six years older than the next brother and nine years older than the twins, a boy and girl. Her mother stayed home, as most of the other Kansas City women did, making sure there was home cooked food at every meal, the house was spotless and everyone had clean, pressed clothes. Of course, the older children helped take care of the younger ones and had chores, which Abigail performed willingly to fulfill her role as an important team player. Her father worked a full time job in the post office and an evening and sometimes weekend job in a hardware store. Abigail earned a scholarship to Northwestern U, in Chicago, where she was an excellent student and met Barney in graduate school. She wanted to follow her mother’s example in the home in addition to creating a career of her own.
Barney is the only child of a career army staff sergeant and a working mom. His dad was deployed for much of his teen years and his mom worked as a department store clerk in the different cities where they lived to make ends meet. He spent a lot of time alone at home when he wasn’t doing odd jobs to help out. He enlisted in the Army right out of high school and his father helped him get into medic training. Barney’s main goal was free college as a veteran so he could have a decent salary with regular hours. When he graduated from Northwestern, he swore that whenever he had a family, he would be at home for his wife and children every night.
Abigail and Barney have been married nine years and have three children, age seven, five and two. The oldest child, Carla, is in the second grade at the local public school. The next child, David, goes to half-day kindergarten and the baby, Edward (called Eddie-Teddy), stays home. The couple agreed that they wouldn’t work during the same hours so the children could be with their parents instead of being in day care with strangers.
They live relatively inexpensively in a house in Jenkinstown, in the suburbs of Philadelphia on half an acre with a large garden but they both work in Princeton, NJ, where the salaries are higher.
Barney works as a University Hospital administrator in the Human Resources Dept., Monday through Friday, 8-4:30. Abigail is an adjunct math professor teaching evening math classes at Mercer County College on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-10PM and a tutoring class on Saturday morning.
They like the organic food from their garden and rarely eat out although they can afford to. They have had this schedule for two years.
Each partner in this marriage wants at least a few hours twice a month to do whatever they need to do to feel like whole adults, with their own interests. Please help them out! We’ll work on this during the tele-workshop. As we help them re-think their perception and use of time, we’ll also help ourselves.
This is a typical weekday schedule:
|Time||Barney’s Schedule||Abigail’s Schedule|
|6 AM||Gets up. Showers, shaves, eats.||Gets up. Makes breakfast|
|7 AM||Leaves for work||Wakes Carla and David. Gets them dressed and fed.|
|8 AM||Arrives at work||Waits with Carla and David for school bus. Grades papers. Plans and takes out dinner food to thaw or pre-seasons fresh food.|
|9 AM||Meets with staff. Prepares for day.||Grades papers and prepares for classes. Eddie-Teddie wakes up. She feeds him.|
|10AM||Meets with hospital expansion administrators||She bathes and dresses him. Reads him a story.|
|11 AM||Makes appointments with college recruiters||Takes him for a walk or plays in the house, depending on the weather and gives mini-lessons on colors and vocabulary.|
|12 PM||Lunches with union reps.||Waits with Eddie for David. Makes and eats lunch|
|1 PM||Reviews paperwork for new hires.||Children nap. She cleans house and does laundry.|
|2 PM||Deals with problems.||Same. She prepares healthy snack.|
|3 PM||Deals with problems. Finishes paperwork||They all wait for Carla, eat the snack and play outside or work in the garden if weather permits.|
|4 PM||Leaves before 4:05 to beat traffic||She helps Carla with homework if necessary as boys play. Tries to involve children in preparing diner, using practical applications of fractions and vocabulary as they measure, stir and discuss the colors, textures and fragrance of the food.|
|5-5:15PM||Arrives at home. Hugs children. Plays with them. Helps them set the table, counting the items as they place them.||She finishes dinner.
T,Th, She puts dinner in a container and leaves for work after she kisses Barney when he walks in the door.
|6 PM||M,W,F They eat together||M,W,F They eat together and talk|
|T, TH, He completes dinner and eats with the children,||T, TH, She arrives at the college, checks her mail and sits in the faculty area to grade papers and/or prepare and be available for any students who have scheduled time to meet during her “office hours”|
|7 PM||They all clear the table. Children take turns showering/bathing and getting ready for bed.||M.W.F. She joins him in clearing the table and putting children to bed.
T,TH She begins class
|8 PM||He reads stories and tucks them in.||M,W, F, she cleans the kitchen, then helps read stories and tucks children in bed.
T, TH, she teaches,
|9 PM||He reads the paper or watches the news, prepares for bed.||M,W, F, she does laundry and reads.
T, TH she teaches
|10 PM||Checks on children, goes to bed.||T, TH,- class ends and she goes home|
|11 PM||Sleep or sleepy||M,W, TH, prepares for next days meals, finishes cleaning house or clothes.
T,TH arrives at home and goes to bed.
|Time||Barney’s Schedule||Abigail’s Schedule|
|8:30 AM||Wake up and prepare breakfast||8:00 AM Sat – Wake up and prepare for work
Sun – Wake up and prepare family for church
|9:00||Sat – Plan day of play and relaxation with kids.
Sun- dress children and self.
|Sat – leave for work
Sun- Relax as she prepares herself for church.
|10:00||Sat – play. Sun – leave for church.||Sat – Begin tutoring class. Sun – leave for church.|
|1PM -7||Leave church Family time. Work in the garden. Shop||Sat – Leave work. Sun – Leave church. Family time. Garden. Shop|
|7 PM||Sat.- Relaxed dinner. Barney cooks. Abigail Cleans||Sun -Nicer dinner, perhaps with friends. Abigail cooks. Barney cleans.|
|8PM||Put children to bed. Have alone time, sleep. Other parent takes turns grocery shopping.||Put children to bed. Have alone time. Sleep. Other parent takes turns grocery shopping.|
|9:30 PM||If possible, time for each other.||If possible, time for each other.|
Does any of this life style sound a little bit familiar to you?
If you would like to add suggestions to their schedule, or for their lives, please comment!