lantairvlea asks What do you like to do in your (I imagine often hypothetical) spare time?
I feel like it's a requirement of motherhood to joke about our lack of spare time. You'll get friendly nods if you stand up in a meeting and say "I have two children under the age of 5. So my hobbies are... I don't know, showering?"
But I've also always had a notion that when it comes down to it, people make the time to do the shit we want to do.
Maybe I started this notion when it I took six sigma training. There's this exercise you're supposed to do when you start a project... in scope, out of scope. You clearly define what's in scope, for example we're going to redesign the wing of this airplane. And you clearly define what's out of scope... we're not going to redesign the fuselage. The joke is always "scope creep"... someone adding a bit of work you didn't plan on. Clear definition should prevent that.
But I've found that at the end of the day, whoever is in charge finds a way to get some extra stuff done if he just finds it interesting. And that's what life seems to consist of... the shit we want to do.
Oh but back to the happy nods. If you ask me, in a professional corporate setting, what I like to do in my spare time, I will say the following:
1) I love to read, even built a little free library in my front yard so new books are always available to me 24/7.
2) I love to fly airplanes, schedule a plane to rent once a week these days, which I cancel 75% of the time or more for shitty Kansas weather.
3) I am heavily involved in the Society of Women Engineers. Because I need those ladies. And I also really do like encouraging kids towards engineering, and SWE is who does the research to correctly do that.
4) I have two small children. The littlest one is two and loves to curl up and read. The biggest one is almost five and loves crafts, riding her bike, and trying to kill herself climbing things. I accompany them through all these hobbies.
These are socially acceptable hobbies that are easy to for me to talk about. Here's the stuff I don't talk about.
1) The internet, dammit, I love the internet. I love blogging, twitter, discovering new social networks, keeping spacefem.com up and running and active and weird.
2) Writing php. playing with code. getting weird ideas for mysql-drive website algorithms.
3) Running non-profit social media campaigns. For my SWE section, for my church.
4) Etsy. I design and sell fabric. this is no one's concern except the people who are shopping for fabric on Etsy, so I don't feel the need to talk about it much, if I talk about it I feel like I'm self-promoting in an annoying way.
5) activism. I still get pulled into it - the annual picnic for the gay rights organization, fundraisers and art auctions to help survivors of domestic violence.
my spare time is what it is. I come home from work, and tell the kids I want to sit on the couch, just for a minute to relax. then sometimes I'll play with them for a while and see what they did. after dinner, there's bound to be couch/internet/reading time, where I tell them go, child, play by yourself, learn independence, it's good for you. and once a week or so I've got some other thing that I go to. Marc supports this. I was really hesitant to turn his 9 hour day as a stay at home dad into a 12 hour day so I could do some after work thing... but he pushed me that way, to be honest. mostly so that the next night, he could go do some after work thing, meet coders, go do work, we need that and it feels healthier when it happens.
we have to make spare time, not just be in this contest about who's got less of it.