All I know is that, at some point in the last ten years or so, the time it takes for the earth to make one rotation on its axis shrank. This is the only thing that can possibly explain why it seems like I have so much less time in my day. You're with me on this, right?
Seriously though, I talk with a great number of parents at school, and it seems like this is the general consensus. We just don't seem to have the same amount of time anymore. The reality is that so many things are demanding of a parent's time: work, school, homework, sports, dance, instruments, Tae Kwon Do, family, friends. We just don't seem to have much free time left over.
As adults, I think most of us can agree that our jobs are demanding more of us now than they did even five years ago. Call it a symptom of the hard economic times our country has been through. I know many of you who work a full day and then take work home in the evening to complete once the kids are in bed. Trust me, you're not alone.
At the same time, we try to provide developmental opportunities for our kids, like sports or the arts, and this takes time, too. Although mine are still too young to be in club sports, I've heard from many of you that the tournaments are a killer, and keep you at the ball field all day on a Saturday or Sunday.
For our children, this "busy-ness" has become part of their daily lives, too. First and foremost, the curriculum is accelerating. If you doubt the rigor of recent curriculum changes, you only have to look at a first grade math book to see what I mean. You and I were not doing "algebra readiness" at the age of six like our children are doing! Throw technology into the mix, and our kids not only have more challenging content to learn at an earlier age, but they have an added modality or method for learning to which they must adjust. On top of that, many of our kids have intricate nightly schedules that juggle things like dance, softball, and piano-- all of this adds up to a child who is constantly on the go (and by extension, parents who start to feel like taxi drivers).
Casualties of "Busy-ness"
Lately, the casualties of all of this acceleration have really been haunting me. I worry that the constant go-go-go nature of this kind of life is warping my sense of reality and causing collateral damage.
I remember driver's ed in high school. The teacher warned us about "velocitization." The concept was simple: the longer you drive at high speeds, the more accustomed your body becomes to those high speeds. The teacher warned us that we had to be careful after we exited the freeway to surface streets because we were velocitized, and might end up getting a ticket for driving much faster than we thought we were going.
The velocitization of a parent's daily life has some pretty clear casualties:
- time with God
- time with spouse
- time with children
- time alone
If you thought this was where I offered a neat and tidy solution to the problem, I'm sorry to disappoint. This is really all about commiseration! I'm with you on this. Hopefully you're with me. Perhaps we can crowd-source a solution to the problem?
In the meantime, I'm going to pray that we're all able to slow down and figure out how to reclaim that lost time. God Bless.