My 3-year-old son has been in preschool for one week now. It’s been a difficult transition for both of us, especially since he has never spent any time in daycare until now and I’ve been his full-time caregiver (often while also working from home) that whole time. But it’s been good for him—-I am already seeing him grow by leaps and bounds learning-wise in just a few days, and his behavior is much, much better—and good for me.
Good for me in that I’m so much more productive now. My work output has gone up by a factor of about 400%. Plus I’m getting to do things I haven’t been able to do in a long time, like listen to whatever music I want while I’m working (instead of, say, The Wiggles), take long walks at noon, have CNN or NPR on while I’m having lunch, et cetera.
I have always been a high-productivity person, even when I was in high school (in fact, I even managed to stay productive when I was depressed.) And yet I continue to run into people who don’t have even one-tenth of the amount of responsibility as I do—-people who are single, childless, working part-time if working at all, etc.—-who just can’t seem to do even the bare minimum. I don’t understand that at all. Lying around the house doing nothing is not a good way to pay your bills, for one thing. And productivity breeds productivity, for another. I’ve found that the more I keep myself busy, the more I get done overall—even if I’m just keeping busy with housework or childcare. Plus keeping busy is good for your health, mentally and physically.
Somebody told me the other week that I’m the strongest woman she knows. Which was a nice complement to get, but I didn’t really feel like I deserved it. I know plenty of women who are much stronger and more productive than I am (Hillary Clinton, anyone? Michelle Obama? Nora Roberts? Jodi Picoult? Jacqueline Mitchard? Sara Gruen? I could go on.) I view myself as just an ordinary middle-class working stiff who does the best she can, which often still isn’t good enough. But you’ll never see me hibernating in my house doing nothing. (At least, not for more than an hour or two). I’ve got bills to pay, and a child to raise. Slacking is not a verb in my vocabulary.