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Katy England Katy England
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Personal time

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Personal time Personal time

Personal time. In the long-long ago, pre-triplets, I remember having a different kind of personal time. It was a time where I could play video games, read a book or simply nap. 

Whenever I wanted. 

Now, personal time has changed. It is stuffed into little pockets of time the size of which is completely dependent on the kiddos' sleep schedule. Also, personal space has been redefined. I mean, I remember, even within their lifetime, being able to use the bathroom without it being a spectator sport (and if I don't allow for an audience I hear about it loudly. Right outside the door.). 

Most aspects of what is considered free time has to be planned for, even if that time isn't free. Because now this so-called 'free' time also includes doing essentials like dishes, housecleaning or work (grading papers or writing stories), which leaves very little time actually free.

So this leads to the maddening process of qualifying my free time. There's the crap I have to do that sometimes runs in direct opposition to the crap I merely want to do. The latter usually involves beer and video games, but often can also just involve lots and lots of quiet.

Additionally, I still have all the regular social obligations you know, friends, family, dental appointments. Those all belong in the strange category of free time. When penciling in a movie night with pals triggers the same stress response as a root canal, you know things have changed. Thankfully, most of my friends know the score and don't take my absence as an affront. Which is nice, because truly I'm not mean just tired.

And trying to fit in a date night is akin to directing a play. We need to find something we both want to do on an evening or weekend we are both available. That alone is a crazy exercise in logistics. Then, we need to see if we have anyone willing to watch three 2-year-olds at the same time, usually at the time of night when they are at their peak of energy (i.e. crazy time).

There have been times when my saintly in-laws have offered to babysit, and my husband and I will look at each other blankly. We have no idea what to do for a date. It's been so long since I've seen a movie in theatres that I don't even know what's playing. One of our dates involved going to Lowes to buy light bulbs (don't judge, it was actually delightful).

Then we come back at a reasonable hour and continue on with our regularly scheduled routine.

I have a hard time remembering what it was I did before having kids. It certainly didn't feel like cleaning took up this much more my time. But then, no one cared if I was eating cereal for dinner. Now, I'm in charge of someone else's good eating habits, which means basically being more responsible.


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