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I am a stay-at-home mom with a twist–I don’t have any children.

This begs a question (among others, I’m sure):

What do stay-at-home moms without any children do?

(When you find an answer, let me know.)

Well, we clean (sometimes).  We eat.  We paint.  We read books.  We browse online.  We teach.  We take our husbands their lunch.  We cook.  We talk on the phone.  We watch other people’s kids.  We drive folks around.  We do the church bulletin.  We grocery shop.  We read blogs.  We help in a pinch.  We scheme.  We write. 

Actually, believe it or not, we keep rather busy (most of the time), and by and large we can reach the end of our days feeling (moderately) productive.

However.

There is one segment of time that plagues stay-at-home moms without any children everywhere.  Thumb-twiddling time, I think they call it–otherwise known as the minutes after which the husband may reasonably be expected to arrive home and before which he actually does.

Don’t get me wrong–I’m not complaining about this thumb twiddling time.  I’m just saying that it is a segment of time that I find almost impossible to use productively, because it is a segment of time for which I know not the length and thus for which I cannot plan to fill.

Supper is ready and either 1) simmering on the stove or 2) warming in the oven.

I don’t dare place any phone calls, just in case the minute I ring through is the minute my heart’s true love walks through my front door.  “Oh, hi, long-lost-friend, how you doing, it’s been so long since we talked, it was so good to catch up, but I gotta go, bye.”  Ummm…no.

Here’s what I’ve discovered about my own personal twiddle time:

  1. It’s good writing time.  By 5:30pm, my brain has had all day to stretch, exercise, sweat, die, come back to life, and concoct a few million marvelous schemes.  All that possibly remains is to spill the beans.
  2. It’s good cleaning time…because there is a defined end.  This is different than a defined length of time, which I can rarely stick to.  I’ve tried.  I don’t know–there’s just something about a limited time amount of unknown length.  It’s like playing Taboo or something–man, I can get my groove on.
  3. It’s good time to read a novel.  If I’m not going to get anything done, anyway, then I don’t have to feel guilty about sneaking off to my favorite corner and curling up with a book of choice!
  4. It’s not a good time to fit in devotions.  As per #1 above, my brain is usually running distractions about a million miles a minute.  Plus I’m bouncing up and down to stir the soup.  Plus I’m liable to be interrupted any minute, and I know that.  Plus I’m listening for tires on the driveway.  Of course, any time is better than no time, right?  I won’t argue that.  All I’m saying is that I better get my rear in gear much, much earlier in the day if I know what’s good for me.
  5. It’s a great time for a pity party.  Except that there is never a good time for a pity party.  So get some armor on, girl, and fight back.
  6. It’s gotten better.  When we were first married, I would get so irked when Tim would be late (and not even call me, for crying out loud!).  Dinner would be ruined, my evening plans for us shot, and I a peevish mess.  But now I know that it’s not because he doesn’t want to come home.  It’s because he just can’t.  He HAS to finish his work.  I also know that the last thing he needs to come home to after a really long and stressful day is a peevish mess.  So even when I do get frustrated–I do my best to be over it by the time he calls to tell me he’s on his way.

Do you have twiddle time?  How do you handle it?

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  1. #1 by Angela on March 14, 2011 - 8:37 am

    I DEF have twiddle time. I usually fill it with M*A*S*H or Star Trek Re-Runs, but it has the unfortunate effect of making the hubbs think I watched TV all day.

  2. #2 by Susan H on March 14, 2011 - 10:47 am

    I don’t have twiddle time! 😉

    p.s. you can watch my kids ANY day!!!

  3. #3 by Evelyn on March 14, 2011 - 11:43 am

    That’s the time when I usually realize Aaaaaah, I’ve hardly gotten anything done and I don’t know where the day went and I madly try to finish as many things as I can from my to-do list and hope I can still have supper ready by the time he gets home.

    Last year, when he would come home from lab sometime between 6pm and 2am and I was all alone, I would spend the time compulsively checking blogs and facebook and every interesting thing I could find from the outside world that might make me feel less lonely. It didn’t work very well, and I’m glad that’s over.

    • #4 by Cristy on March 14, 2011 - 1:11 pm

      I totally do that and I will totally be glad when it’s over. 😀

  4. #5 by Leah on March 14, 2011 - 1:55 pm

    Sad to say I do not have twiddle time. I usually don’t start dinner until I know it won’t be ready when he comes home, since he needs time to put his books away and change out of his suit and relax a bit. Plus, he gets home anywhere between 3:45-5:30 so I just kind of don’t think about it and just go about my business :).

  5. #6 by Anna C on March 14, 2011 - 3:27 pm

    Definitely have twiddle time here, though probably less of it during tax season than otherwise. I have a hard time planning dinner time because traffic is unpredictable, so it’s tends to be either in the crockpot or last minute. I try to read, but even then it’s hard to focus. So usually I end up checking Facebook and blogs, as Evelyn mentioned. This Saturday I was trying to be productive and pulled out the sewing machine to mend something, only to have him come home as soon as it was out:)

  6. #7 by Jennifer on March 14, 2011 - 9:00 pm

    I’ll have to let my hubby comment on that one as he’s usually waiting on me!! (and sometimes with dinner!)

    • #8 by Robbie Schmidtberger on March 15, 2011 - 11:42 am

      As a teacher I have a great life. I can get home at 330 if I want. But in warmer weather I can be found on the soccer field with my students while they practice or be running with the track team. I do need to get out more in terms of physical activity. Perhaps with summer I will be biking all over, to the great fear of my love.

      Now my wife works hard to bring home the bacon, and the last thing she wants to do at 630 is make a meal for 2 that would take her a hour to make. (I can devour that thing in 5 minutes if I tried, but Jen is lovingly breaking me in.) So I cook! But I also work on grading and seminary papers sometimes. Though I prefer those for the late hours of the day. I just want to chill when I get home, have my toast with blackberry jam, and crash on my couch with hulu.

      Not sure what we are eating tonight; I’ll decide at 430!

  7. #9 by joannamv on March 14, 2011 - 11:24 pm

    Haha I agree with Angela. On non-productive days I look suitably busy when hubby arrives home. But on productive days I successfully manage to be non-busy for when hubby should be home, meaning he sees me being lazy :B

  8. #10 by Sally on March 15, 2011 - 7:33 am

    Well, I don’t have twiddle time. (I have kids, plus my husband works from home.) The latest question in my mind is, what in the world do people whose kids are all grown up do? I hear them sighing and exclaiming over how busy they are, and I just want to say, “How? For crying out loud”. I mean, everything, and I mean everything I do is because I have kids. If I didn’t have them and didn’t work a job, I would have to manufacture some work (sewing project, or something) for myself. At least, that’s what I think now. Maybe I’ll find out some day (but I expect I’ll be working when my kids are grown up).

    • #11 by Anna C on March 15, 2011 - 1:18 pm

      Sally- my guess is you are probably busier than most of us. My mom will be an empty-nester after next year, so she’s trying to figure out what to do then. I know former homeschool moms who teach at the co-ops, ladies who bake cakes, help out at church/run various ministries, work on projects, etc. They probably aren’t as busy as you are, really. We always manage to fill the time we have, I think. I thought I was busy in college, but now I know I had lots of free time then and I’m sure down the road I’ll wonder about all my free time now;)

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