Christmas is almost here and everyone is busy finalizing the details of their Holiday celebrations. I don’t take any vacation time during this time – my childcare home is only closed for the three holidays (Christmas Day, Boxing Day & New Year’s Day). Although some parents work in schools or offices that close for all or part of the holiday season others don’t and therefore still require childcare.
Each day at pick-up time parents are informing me which days their children will be absent from childcare to attend family events. As I tally up the expected attendance I realize that this year may be a particularly quiet one with as few as two children here most days. I realized that there may even be some days with no children at all prompting my husband to make a comment about what I would do with my extra time.
Extra time? There is no such thing as extra time. I realized long ago that time must be carefully constructed and arranged to accommodate the tasks and activities that need to be scheduled. Every new event requires careful manipulation of time to create a slot to insert the activity. If at some point a period of time is not needed for the prescribed activity it will simply disappear if another activity is not there to hold the space.
I believe that blank time slots actually implode and they sometimes create vacuums that suck up nearby time as well. Let me give an example. I used to do Wii Fit every morning for up to 30 minutes. Some days, when I needed more time to prepare for another activity, I would borrow some of this 30 minute slot and only do Wii Fit for 10 or 15 minutes instead. Then, one day I didn’t do any Wii Fit exercises and I didn’t fill the slot with anything else. Guess what – Wii Fit time is gone! It has been incinerated or simply evaporated but I cannot find it anywhere!
This has happened to other things as well. Their time slots have been lost and so these tasks and activities just float around waiting for ‘extra time’ that does not exist.
So, as much as I’d like to envision a period full of extra time I know that it is simply a fantasy – something that will never happen — like the items on the ‘to do’ list who’s time I borrowed to write this blog entry.