How Parental “Time Pressure” Helps Me Prioritize

w: Johnathon E. Briggs

How Parental “Time Pressure” Helps Me Prioritize

— February 9, 2020 —

Somewhere along the way you reach the age when you have no more fucks to give.

I think it hits sometime in your 40s. If you’re lucky or just an old soul, the epiphany will come sooner.

You used to care what people thought about you, but realized they’re not paying your bills, so you stopped giving a fuck.

You used to go along to get along but found it exhausting and inauthentic, so the fucks dried up.

Somewhere along the way you found love, got married, became a father and rearranged your priorities to focus on what matters most—your family.

And with that family came obligations and commitments that make your time not exclusively your own.

The time you used to spend freely is now filled with Things To Do and Places To Be—from the moment your daughter awakes at 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. when you can finally do some deep-couch sitting. It’s easy to feel overscheduled and exhausted when you’re living in the Parent Hood.

I didn’t know this feeling is called “time pressure” until I read a recent New York Times article in which University of Melbourne professor Leah Ruppanner described it as “not enough time, too much going on.”

“There is research showing that parents take less leisure time than non-parents, and that mothers take less leisure time and have more fragmented leisure time than fathers do,” Times reporter Jessica Grose wrote in the article headlined, “The Exhaustion Is Real.”

“But Ruppanner theorized that even time parents are reporting as leisure is actually used productively,” Grose noted. “For example, parents aren’t just watching TV, they’re also folding laundry and filling out school forms and thinking about the grocery list (that good ol’ mental load).”

Grose is correct: time pressure is taxing. But I’ve found an upside: It forces me to be more selective about not only what deserves my attention, but who.

Time pressure has helped cut the fat from my life. I literally don’t have time for foolishness.

There are people who add to your life, and those who subtract.

Those who bring peace, and those who bring problems.

Those who radiate sunshine, and those who generate shade.

Since becoming a parent, I’ve had to get real about who is truly worth spending time with and who is not, who I should gravitate toward and who I should pull away from.

It’s not only a matter of self-preservation, but of the example I’m setting for my daughter. After all, what am I modeling to her about self-care if I normalize engagement with people who drain, frustrate or anger me?

Time pressure has helped cut the fat from my life. I literally don’t have time for foolishness.

Years ago, I wrote a blog post in which I described the process of becoming a parent as one in which you make room—in your thoughts, in your heart—for the arrival of a child.

Over time that room becomes two, then three and, eventually, becomes a home. And inside that home is where your energies are focused. You become, rightfully so, more insular, more inwardly focused as you concentrate on nurturing a young life and making memories that will last a lifetime. (The parenting journey for me and my wife is even more involved because our daughter has special needs.)

So when it comes to drama from your in-laws or extended family, in the words of the late great comedian Robin Harris, “Gotta go! Gotta go!”

When it comes to bad vibes, “Gotta go! Gotta go!”

When it comes to negativity, “Gotta go! Gotta go!”

via GIPHY
 

There’s a ruthless prioritization of your own happiness and comfort that occurs when you simply don’t have time to spare and, of course, no more fucks to give.

Father on,

653 words

2.9.20

Johnathon E. BriggsI love wingtip shoes + statement socks • Husband • Autism Dad • Comic Book Geek • #BlackDadMagic • ΑΦΑ

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About

Six weeks before my 40th birthday, I became a first-time father. This life-changing moment made me think about my own dad, who became a father at 44. As my parenthood journey unfolded, I noticed that most of my friends had become parents earlier in life yet, here I was, changing diapers and battling sleep deprivation at (nearly) 40. I told my wife, “Parenting is definitely a young man’s game.” But is it really?

Where most of my friends were preparing for their children’s middle and high school graduations, I was mastering the art of the swaddle, perfecting the one-hand baby wipe, and learning to decipher my daughter’s gurgles and whimpers. It occurred to me that I had so much more to offer my daughter at the sure-footed age of 40 than I did at, say, 28, when I was still coming into my own.

Fatherhood@Forty: Dispatches from the Parent Hood™ is a creative outlet to share my experiences and connect with other (relatively) late-in-life dads.

Here are a few factoids about me, Johnathon Briggs, the editor behind this blog:

  • I’m a former journalist (Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun, Chicago Tribune).
  • I love exploring Chicago and the Midwest with my family.
  • I remain on a constant quest to stay fit.
  • I support charities that fight HIV, uplift families affected by incarceration, and ensure African American boys graduate from college.
  • I’m a comic book geek (mostly Marvel, but a bit of DC and Image Comics).
  • I’m a child of the ‘80s, so please expect occasional references to the Golden Age of Hip-Hop.

As a reporter for daily newspapers, I had the opportunity to interview fascinating people and to test out great products and brands for my readers. I hope to do the same for you as I blog about the moments that make up this adventure called fatherhood.

Feel free to tweet (@fatherhoodforty) or email (fatherhoodforty@gmail.com) me if you’d like to collaborate or have ideas for a blog post.

Father on,

P.S. Check out The Art of Conversation podcast interview I did with Art Eddy from Life of Dad.

 


Disclaimer: Fatherhood@Forty may contain affiliate marketing links, which may result in commission on sales of products or services I write about. My editorial content is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships. This disclosure is provided in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR § 255.5: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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About

Six weeks before my 40th birthday, I became a first-time father. This life-changing moment made me think about my own dad, who became a father at 44. As my parenthood journey unfolded, I noticed that most of my friends had become parents earlier in life yet, here I was, changing diapers and battling sleep deprivation at (nearly) 40. I told my wife, “Parenting is definitely a young man’s game.” But is it really?

Where most of my friends were preparing for their children’s middle and high school graduations, I was mastering the art of the swaddle, perfecting the one-hand baby wipe, and learning to decipher my daughter’s gurgles and whimpers. It occurred to me that I had so much more to offer my daughter at the sure-footed age of 40 than I did at, say, 28, when I was still coming into my own.

Fatherhood@Forty: Dispatches from the Parent Hood™ is a creative outlet to share my experiences and connect with other (relatively) late-in-life dads.

Here are a few factoids about me, Johnathon Briggs, the editor behind this blog:

  • I’m a former journalist (Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun, Chicago Tribune).
  • I love exploring Chicago and the Midwest with my family.
  • I remain on a constant quest to stay fit.
  • I support charities that fight HIV, uplift families affected by incarceration, and ensure African American boys graduate from college.
  • I’m a comic book geek (mostly Marvel, but a bit of DC and Image Comics).
  • I’m a child of the ‘80s, so please expect occasional references to the Golden Age of Hip-Hop.

As a reporter for daily newspapers, I had the opportunity to interview fascinating people and to test out great products and brands for my readers. I hope to do the same for you as I blog about the moments that make up this adventure called fatherhood.

Feel free to tweet (@fatherhoodforty) or email (fatherhoodforty@gmail.com) me if you’d like to collaborate or have ideas for a blog post.

Father on,

P.S. Check out The Art of Conversation podcast interview I did with Art Eddy from Life of Dad.

 


Disclaimer: Fatherhood@Forty may contain affiliate marketing links, which may result in commission on sales of products or services I write about. My editorial content is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships. This disclosure is provided in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR § 255.5: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
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