Saturday, May 10, 2008

Dad tip #21: Don't squander the "spare" time

Okay, there are two ways to look at the title of this post. The first is through the eyes of a parent-to-be (or someone eventually planning on becoming a parent). You never realize how much time you're pissing away on trivial things until that time is filled with parenting. Don't get me wrong ... becoming a parent is the best thing in the world, however, it does make you a little sad when you look back at how much more you could've accomplished in the free time you had.

The second and potentially more challenging way to look at this is through the eyes of an exhausted new parent. You and your wife may literally be awake for 20+ hours a day. Depending on how you do the math, that could be in the neighborhood of 10+ more wakeful hours a day between the two of you compared to your pre-baby days.

Granted, you'll be completely wiped out in those hours and many of them will be filled with baby stuff, but there will still be "spare" moments here and there (that aren't really long enough to sleep during) that you can use for ... well, stuff.

For example, in the first couple of weeks after we brought our son home, I managed to squeeze in a few extra chores in the early morning hours including things like tossing a load of laundry in the washer, emptying and filling the dishwasher, sterilizing bottles, tidying up the living room, emptying the diaper champ, scooping the cat litter, and other little random stuff like that. I think I also managed to make it in to work early on some of those days simply because I was up.

However, now I'm admittedly less productive because our son is sleeping in longer blocks which allows us to sleep in longer blocks. Also, I'm returning to my old ways and filling those nap times with more trivial things (like this blog).

Oh, I should also admit that not all of the "spare" time early on was spent on chores. In some cases, when our son only wanted to sleep ON someone, I'd spend a decent amount of time playing Mass Effect on the Xbox 360 with him resting peacefully on my chest.

For the record, Guitar Hero III was NOT nearly as good a game in that scenario.

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