The creative well runneth dry these days, my friends.
All my free time is being spent wrapping up the year at work, attending a flurry of holiday parties, updating my facebook status, and figuring out what books to give my family as presents. I've also been spending a lot of time trying to figure out how much I need to tip everyone for the holidays. How much does one give to the newspaper delivery guy? Do I really need to tip every single garage attendant? Most importantly, what's the policy on holiday gifts to teachers at daycare?
Speaking of not having a lot of free time, I've been getting a lot of e-mails from readers lately asking me how I manage my time. Most of the e-mails come from single people, married couples without kids, or expectant parents. They all want to know how I can spend so much time with the Peanut yet still have a life.
I'll tell you the same thing I always tell them. How do I do it? Easy. Crystal meth and scotch! Yee haw!
Actually, as any parent will tell you, it's damn tough balancing out everything in life once you have kids. Trying to find the time to fit everything in can get downright exhausting. See, my friends, until you have a kid, you never quite realize how much free time you had. In fact, you never even realize how many hours there even are in a day.
Nothing quite crystallizes that fact like the weekends.
Remember those Sunday mornings when you used to sleep in until noon, drink some coffee in bed, do the crossword, turn on the latest Radiohead CD, and then go back to sleep for an afternoon nap? Well, once you have a kid, that shit is all over.
As the old joke goes, God might have rested on the seventh day, but that's only because he sent his son to live with another family!
Once you have a kid, weekend mornings are spent waking up at the crack of dawn because your kid is licking your face, sticking a finger up your nostril, and demanding that you watch "Happy Feet" for the 8 millionth time.
It's actually amazing how much time you have in a day when you're forced to get up so early. However, it's not just the extra hours in the day that help you find time to do things. You'll find that having a kid forces you to have better discipline with your free time. That makes all the difference in the world.
I've also come to learn that in my quest to best utilize my free time, I've invented my own set of time-saving parent hacks. I'm sure every parent has their own set of "shortcuts." Here are just a few of mine:
- Instead of bathing the Peanut every evening, I sometimes just wash her with a bunch of wipes. I'm embarrassed to admit that, more than once, I've had her just stand in the bathtub while I hosed her down.
- Since she hates putting pajamas on to go to bed AND she hates getting dressed early in the morning, I'll sometimes put tomorrow's clothes on her before she goes to sleep at night. Once she wakes up, she's good to go. Two rocks, one stone!
- Eating dinner with a three-year-old can often take HOURS. Want to move the process along? Promise her some ice cream if she eats quickly. When said ice cream fails to materialize, feign shock and indignation. Instigate serious investigation with daughter as to who could have stolen all the ice cream from the house!
I'll admit it. Sometimes I feel a little guilty for being lazy about certain aspects of parenting. On the other hand, I like to think hacks like this free up space for more quality time.
How about you guys? Any time-saving tips you'd like to share? Got any that you're too embarrassed to submit to parenthacks.com? Here's the place to share them. No shame or judgment on this site. No sirree, Bob!
Next post: The infamous annual Santa photo. We weren't going to even go this year because of last year and the year before! However, so many of you have e-mailed me about it, we're going to give it the old college try. Wish us luck!