(HOST) Hoping to achieve a better balance between work and play this year? Commentator Cheryl Hanna has some thoughts on why this might not be such a good idea.
(HANNA) The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently announced the results of its Time-Use Survey, a first-of-its-kind study on how Americans spend their time. In its own press release, the government contends that one of the most important findings is that working women have less free time than working men. Forty minutes a day less, on average, because women do more childcare and housework than men. And what are the men doing with their extra time? Most likely watching TV.
Like…they had to spend how much money to find this out?
Shocked by these findings, working women everywhere wanted to organize a protest; but, alas, we just couldn’t find the time. But I’m not going to complain that I’m not getting as much TV time as my husband because, really, it’s just not a good idea to want more time to do less.
A few years ago I read somewhere that when someone asks, “How are you?” you should never say, “I’m just fine, thank you.” Instead you should say, “I am so busy.” It seems always being on the go-go-go, having never-ending to-do lists, these are signs of status, symbols of success. They imply your superiority. Just about every one of those holiday letters I got this year started out in a breathless, boastful tone, “This has been the busiest year ever.”
Busyness is good.
Yet, we may not all be as busy as we claim.
First, according to the survey, in an average day, American adults sleep 8.6 hours. That’s a lotta shut-eye. Just think about all the people who are sleeping more than that to compensate for the rest of us who barely get in six hours. And even though women have less free time than men, we’re all getting more leisure time than we admit. I was surprised to learn that even working moms with small children get, on average, three hours of leisure time a day.
Three hours?! Even if I were spending three hours a day “leisuring,” do you think I’d tell anyone? People would think I’m a slothful parent with a messy house and an under-stimulated child. Nope, I’m so, so busy, thanks for asking.
So this New Year, rather than complain about how busy we all are, let’s rejoice in it. You know those emails that say you should be grateful for all that laundry because it means there are people in your life who love you – or something like that? I never have time to finish reading them. Well, that’s the attitude we should adopt.
Our lives are full. We got things going on – we working moms, especially. We don’t have time to relax. And thanks to this ground-breaking new government study…we can prove it.
And if I ever do get some extra me-time, I’m resolved to keep it to myself.
This is Cheryl Hanna.