Woke up this morning to yet another new study. I think I mentioned recently how much I hate new studies. Well, this new study claims to have discovered that working parents are too stressed to go to the gym, call a friend or have sex with their spouses. I have to credit my time-management guru Laura Vanderkam for pointing out that “too stressed” is really just an excuse for “don’t feel like it.” Hear, hear.
“We have this cultural narrative that working parents are starved for time,” she writes, pointing out Bureau of Labor Statistics research that shows married moms actually spend 40 minutes a day socializing and 90 minutes watching TV; married dads socialize for about 38 minutes, and watch two hours of TV. Add that to the 36 hours a week women work, the 42.5 hours men work, and the roughly 8 hours of a sleep we get a night (usually less), and the truth is we have plenty of time to other stuff like going to the gym and calling friends. As for sex, writes Vanderkam: “Presumably, we could find time for two short romps in there if we wanted.”
Which kind of reminds me of this book I co-wrote called Spousonomics, in which Jenny and I argue that “too tired” isn’t really a great excuse to avoid the bedroom, and that sometimes it’s actually sexy to focus on quantity over quality. For more on this radical notion, see this piece we wrote for GQ called Just Say Yes.
Life is a series of tradeoffs. Ask any economist, and she’ll explain it to you in terms of guns and butter and production possibility curves. But you don’t a graph to show you that you can’t have it all–and that when you choose to watch Real Housewives, you’re choosing not to go to the gym. And that’s A-OK.
So as I sit here blogging, listening to my narcoleptic dog snore and my insomniac child talk to herself in her crib, thinking about what I’m going to eat when I’m done blogging, and whether there is in fact time to watch the finale of the Real Housewives of Miami on Tivo before I go in to the office in a few hours to work the late shift, I have to be honest with the world and say that as a working mom, I DO have time to go the gym, call a friend and yes, even have sex with my spouse. I’m just really enjoying the couch right now.