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22 December 2010


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Barbara C.

That's a very interesting analysis. And I love your conclusion in the last sentence.

I know that I have lots of leisure time, but for me the hardest part is not having uninterrupted leisure time. I know that with any given television show I will have to pause 15 times to deal with an issue. Books are read sometimes one paragraph,5 minute pause, paragraph, 10 minutes pause, etc.

The sleep is the most interesting to me. I really need to be in bed almost ten hours to get eight hours of sleep. So did you measure time lying in bed trying to get to sleep, or waking to nurse the baby, or waking to deal with other children who wake? Or are you like my husband and fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow?


I counted the time from lights-out to get-up. We don't have very wakeful children most nights, and anyway if one of the three older ones needs something, my husband takes care of it (because if I get up, it wakes the baby).

I count "nursing in bed" as part of sleeping because I hardly wake at all to do it. I couldn't tell you how much I nurse at night.

All this presumes no sick kids, of course. I didn't have any last week when I was counting.


I think the breakdown is very interesting! I would like to try it myself -- I hope you don't mind my borrowing your idea.

I am curious how you charted for the time alone/togetherness breakdown and for the enjoyable/less enjoyable category. Did you log those factors somehow?

About "what is work" I suppose I would define work as "not-leisure" -- whatever you do that is FOR something else, not an end in itself. So homeschooling would be "work" even if you enjoy it, etc. While time spent hanging out with your kids for fun would be leisure. It seems to me that your husband should count housework as "work" and that by that standard probably most American parents work way over 40 hours a week.

It's funny that you are thinking of how to cut back on time in the kitchen since you find it enjoyable while I am usually resolving to spend more time in the kitchen since I don't generally enjoy it as much as I should ;-). It raises interesting questions about how to live an ordered life. I've often wondered if enjoyment is a good sign or a bad one and when it becomes something to keep an eye on.


Very interesting - I think I should try to do this as well, once we get back into the school year in January. It sounds like a very interesting experience. I have been trying to informally do a little of this sort of measuring... and in doing so I discovered that I was spending 2.5 hrs on a 55 min art class for one child - not a good use of time, especially since the class wasn't that great. Fine, but not worth all that. So I think we're going to quit the class and spend the time at home doing art instead. But now I need to figure out when to go grocery shopping... errands and driving around are definitely not my favorite things either!

Laura Vanderkam

This is great stuff. I think everyone who does this experiment learns a ton about themselves... Love the pie chart, btw!


Willa: I didn't log whether I was alone or with others at the time, I just sort of ran down my list of activities and classified them as "alone" or "with others." Cooking: alone. Teaching: with others. Reading a book to myself: alone. Reading a book to the kids: with others. It wasn't too difficult to figure that out. Same with doing work I like or don't like. I know what I like to do.

That is a decent definition of work (something that isn't an end in itself). I will have to think about that.

As to time in the kitchen, part of it is that I have to face that I don't get to cook just to please myself. I have a family whose desires should be taken into account. And even if I enjoyed spending 6 hours making a fabulous feast, they would not appreciate it *just* because I spent 6 hours. They would probably like me to make something less elaborate and then use the extra time to read stories or do laundry. So there is a balance...

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