Just recently at Casa Bruce we’ve been talking a lot about time. We’ve covered the general lack of it or our seeming inability to fit more things into the time we have available. It’s time relevant to work and play and the constant balancing act we perform as working parents.

After a recent visit from a friend who has decided not to return to work in the term that her children both attend school I’ve speculated on what life must be like with “that much time” but rapidly concluded that she would fill it. Easily.

We both talk about how much time challenges us within the workplace. Taking multi-tasking to another level I hear about hubby’s work. That big old custody clock tick-tocking down whilst other cases run to trial, victims need support, budgets need to be considered. We have an anti-work competition policy in this house. No “my day was harder than yours” type discussion. When you do the type of job my hubby does your time is filled with consequences of some of the worst types of behaviours. There isn’t much time for happiness in his workplace.

I’ve talked about how much more I want to learn (a fairly constant theme in our house), to read, to listen but simply don’t know where to squeeze it into the day. My commute to work ties in with listening to audiobooks, a relatively recent discovery which has allowed me to at least listen to some of my ‘wanted’ literature. But still there is not enough time. I want to be fitter, slimmer, stronger but where to fit in more time to exercise? I’m already combining the school run with dog walking and running or grabbing 30 minutes here and there for a spinning session. I like the idea of yoga but frankly an hour and a half to lie on the floor and stretch? I don’t have the time to give.

We want to travel more but opportunity is limited by time: school holidays and leave entitlement. Oh, and the money thing.

We’ve talked and moaned about the impact of the changes to Police pensions that may run roughshod over family retirement plans. Now hubby will have more time in the job but with increased life expectancy and decreased pension income who knows what the outcome will be? We’ve talked about what it will be like to work at the sharp end of the law at 60, what time will do to an individual’s ability to perform at the level his job requires. We’ve concluded nothing other than “it’s a bit shit” and started to look at what time is available to recoup or address pension concerns. Suddenly those years to retirement don’t seem like much at all.

And most of all we’ve talked about time with our kids. The ‘quality’ time, the ‘too much time’ (believe me, if you don’t have kids by the end of the summer holidays there can be such a thing) and the filled with parental guilt time spent lamenting whether we’re getting it right. As with most parents I know, I think we’re doing the best job we know how to do, some times right, some times not so. Coming off the back of a family weekend filled to the rafters with fun and experiences its easy to wish that our time was constantly occupied in this way but if it were I guess it would quickly become meaningless. It’s those special times when it all comes together and everybody is at their best.

And then there’s time for a quick chat with somebody. At the school gates. One of those “do you remember?” chats. About somebody I’d be over-egging to suggest was an acquaintance. He was somebody I knew by sight, father of three kids under 7. They’d had a tough time over the summer of 2011 because he had cancer. Of the nastiest kind. Well it turns out his time ran out last week.

Some things so perfectly act to put life into context. It’s such a shame that some times that context has to be provided by somebody else’s suffering and other people’s loss.

8 thoughts on “Time

  1. colmmu

    Great post – a similar discussion topic in our family of late too. My wife has MS and whilst most of the time we live without it impeding life, recently the symptoms flared up and you realise that over doing the day to day impacts on long term health and well being. At the same time we went back to Norway on vacation, marvelled at true flexible working for both parents, family month (families encouraged to spend 3 weeks at least together over summer) and just how more relaxed and healthy people seemed to be with this approach. Time is ticking, the future is uncertain – are we savouring and cherishing the time right? I don’t think it should have to be work flat out or not at all, neither is good an we need to readdress that balance in our society. Thanks for articulating a lot that has spiralled in my own head I late and it’s good to know not the only ones.


    1. bhamiltonbruce

      Thanks for the comment Jon. We are certainly not alone in our thinking! So many working parents and people with caring commitments are trying to juggle the balance every day. We watched a film over the weekend called ‘In Time’. The premise was that once they reached the age of 25 they had 1 year to live. Time was used as a currency in place of money. There was obviously a bigger storyline but the idea of time bought down to the basics of life was thought provoking.


  2. @LifeInCustody

    Lovely post as usual from you, my lovely, thoughtful friend.
    Mindfulness of breath meditation. Occasionally stop, feel, and listen to where you are right this minute. All the things, and people and achievements and good health you are blessed with already, right now.
    As long as you take that next breath, you have all you actually need, when you think about it.
    Love you x


  3. I often get annoyed with Annie for being impatient.

    There are times when I take more than a few minutes to do something like get ready, check an email or write a tweet. Meanwhile Annie is waiting for me so we can spend time together on a walk with our dog Heidi or visiting family or friends.

    To me, it’s only a few minutes; it’s nothing that needs to create panic. But looking at it from a different perspective, how many hours, days maybe weeks do all those misspent minutes make?

    Of course we do not need to rush and do things too quickly, but perhaps those minutes wasted should be spent doing the things that matter? Misspent minutes like walks in the sunshine enjoying each other’s company or visiting and spending time with our loved ones.

    Perhaps I should spend more time listening to my wife?


  4. gemmab82

    Great post. I am a working mum, and PT student, and still have enough quality time with family. I don’t have a lot of spare time, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!!


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