Fathers, Work and No Family: What I Learned From My Week Alone
Amy and Nick are spending the week out in California, visiting her brother and his family. Because my semester starts next week, I had to stay home to ramp up my class preparation and attend too many meetings.
This means I am in the middle of a week with pretty much no family responsibilities or time constraints. As I most often write about balancing fatherhood with work and other life roles, I am finding this family-free time to be an interesting experiment.
Here’s what I’ve learned so far from this experience.
I am not working as efficiently as I usually do, but I am getting a lot more work done because I have so many more hours to devote to work
I am having more creative ideas as I have more large chunks of time to devote to single tasks and a lot more quiet time
I am exercising way more- each day this week, I have walked/hiked/ran at least 3 miles or biked at least 6. I hardly ever find the time to do so in my normal life
Thanks to my biking/hiking/walking/jogging, I am gaining a deeper appreciation of how beautiful things are where I live. These views are from trails within 3 miles of my house!
I can do things at different times. I watched some tv during the day, exercised at night and worked in the late night hours. This seems to suit my internal clock, which is sadly, way out of step with the normal work or school schedule
I am eating far worse- takeout Chinese the past two days
I have more time for friends and social life
Unfortunately, they don’t have any more time for me. My attempts to set up dinner/drinks plans with high school, college and facebook friends have failed. Happily, my best friend from the neighborhood is also flying solo this week- staying home from work while his wife and kids are at the beach- we’ve gotten together for dinner and drinks, and exercised together
I’m not making the stinkin’ bed, and Amy can’t make me!
I’m listening to a lot more music- Pandora, satellite radio, even an actual CD
I’m enjoying driving our nicer car with the satellite radio and all
Facetime and phone calls help, but…
I miss Amy and Nick terribly
I miss you guys. Come home soon!
I haven’t had a week without family responsibility* since, well, when Amy and I first got serious in 2001. While it is nice to get a Hot Tub Time Machine-esque week’s vacation back to my old bachelor’s life, I’d rather have my stressed, pressed, sometimes crazed work-family juggle back. And for that, I need my family. Come home soon, guys- I miss the noise and dust and clutter!
Have any of you had long solo stints? What did you enjoy and what did you miss? let’s discuss in the comments section.
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*Yes, I have travelled for work (including 12 days in China) and gone to conferences, but these were family-free times during which I was the one who was away. Psychologically, it feels way different.