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What DO I Do All Day?

As I began to tell people this summer that I’d be a baby empty-nester – both kids in full-time school – come fall, I also began hearing the same question over and over again. Sometimes asked wistfully, sometimes bewilderingly, sometimes dripping with envy, but almost always the same question:

“So . . . what are you going to do all day then?”

And you know what’s ridiculous? I often feel the need to give a play-by-play justification of an answer to them. “Well, I’m going to spend hours cooking gourmet dinners, and change the sheets on the bed every day, and of course devote a significant amount of time to caring for the poor.”

But why is that? I spent a couple decades as an adult before I had kids, and no one ever asked me what I did all day. And truth be told, sometimes I look back on my pre-children stage and ask myself what I did all day beforeI had kids; I find my time so filled with cleaning up cheerios and matching tiny socks and scrambling to find homework and buying larger sizes of tights and scheduling pediatrician appointments – all while maintaining a modicum of a social life, and smidgen of a marriage, and a decent dollop of volunteering time in the community - that I honestly can’t figure out what I did before with the what looks now like copious amounts of unclaimed time I had in my previous life.

I work outside the home now, just as I have the past few years, teaching a couple nights a week and a couple days while the girls are in school. And any teacher out there knows that with a class comes lesson plans, gathering materials, Xeroxing papers, and more. During my “free” time, of course. And much of my time will be taken up with the same stuff that occupied my life before the girls were in school: cleaning up cheerios and matching tiny socks and scrambling to find homework and scheduling pediatrician appointments . . . the only difference is that I will not be doing these things while refereeing a grudge match between the girls or taking breaks to have a dance party to Train’s “Mermaid” every five minutes.

So while the girls are at school, I will do the grocery shopping, wash five loads of laundry, put them away, weed out too-small clothes, pay bills, write my lesson plans, clean toilets, and get on with my day. I will work my butt off so that the time the girls are home is free-and-clear pay-attention-to-them time.

And occasionally – occasionally- I will have a long coffee with a girlfriend after morning Bible study. Because that’s what all those non-kid friends do with their days sometimes, too.


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