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Finding time, making time

March 4, 2011

Tamaran asked–When/how do you find time to practice/read?

Short answer: Finding time is practically impossible, but if something is important enough to me, I can always seem to make time for it somehow.  My main problem is making time for ALL the good things I would like to be doing.

Long answer: Babies have a way of changing things.  Before E came along, I’d take the boys to the park a lot and sit and read while they played.  That doesn’t work now.  I read quite a bit last winter while nursing a good part of each day, but then E wised up and would try to grab my books while he ate.  Then he started nursing less and I seemed to be on the run more.  It felt like a terrible year for personal reading so I was pretty surprised to see I’d gotten through 53 books in 2010.

I read in small chunks here and there and somehow it all adds up.  I’m a fast reader which helps.  I keep books by my bed so I can read a little bit before going to sleep or while waiting for DH to come to bed.  I grab a book while I’m stirring things on the stove.  I read while I wait for E to fall asleep for his nap.  I can usually squeeze in some reading between cello students on the afternoon I’m at my parents’ house and then there’s always the 15-minute break during orchestra rehearsal.  I always have a book in my bag when I’m on the go.  And we listen.  Lots!  We always have an audiobook going in the car and we get through many children’s classics that way.

But I still read best at night when I know I won’t be interrupted, especially if I’m reading nonfiction which seems to require more effort than a novel does.  I need peace and quiet to think about what I’m reading and process new ideas.

Practicing the cello is a bit trickier.  It just doesn’t work in small chunks.  There’s too much effort involved in getting it out of the case and setting up the chair and stand to play for just 15 minutes.  I won’t give you a rundown of our entire daily schedule, but lately I’m finding I have time for myself in the late afternoon when school is finished, E is down for a nap (yes, he finally naps!), and I have persuaded the other three to go play outside.  That is my current set aside practice time, but frankly, by late afternoon I just don’t have any mental energy left for activities like practicing or reading books tougher than an Agatha Christie mystery.  I’m also too easily distracted by DH coming home, dinner plans, and children running in and out and all around.  It’s hard to get decent practice in when half my brain is thinking about something else.

We’ve been really good lately at getting everyone into bed between 8:00 and 8:30 every night, so technically there’s time to practice after that.  There are just so many things I save up to do after the boys go to bed though.  I need to spend time with DH (we’ve started a new project together, I’ll have to write about it sometime), I pay the bills, I research and plan for school, I research family history, I read, I blog, I cross-stitch, I practice…

I think I may have too many hobbies…

So this week I chose to watch Downton Abbey with DH rather than put in some hard work on the Shostakovich that I’m playing in three weeks!

But if I can save up some energy, I actually practice really well late at night when the house is absolutely quiet and I can concentrate on the music without interruptions.   DH loves it when I practice at night, he says it relaxes him.  (As a side note, I played a solo recital six days before our wedding and he spent many nights that summer sprawled out on the floor listening to me practice.)  I just can’t do that every night though and while I miss a daily practice time, this is where 26 years of playing the cello pays off, especially those intense college years where I regularly practiced 3-4 hours a day.  I just don’t have to practice as long and hard these days to be able to pull off most of my orchestra music.  I do what I can and it seems to be enough.

Although if it’s especially difficult (remember Mahler?) I have been known to practice anywhere from 9 to midnight to make it happen.  That was without a baby in the house though.  Life’s been different the past, oh, 14 months.  But E is finally sleeping through until about 6 a.m., which means I don’t have to nurse him in the evening and getting more sleep myself is doing wonders for my energy levels.  Somehow, a few months ago, I couldn’t imagine a time when I would have free hours again in the evenings, but here we are.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Tamaran permalink
    March 4, 2011 9:04 am

    Thanks for answering my question. It gave me some ideas. I do miss reading. I need to pick the violin back up at some point. Right now the priority is the huge test I have in 5 weeks I’m struggling to find time to study for.

  2. March 5, 2011 9:37 am

    Practice never seems to happen here. I usually go to band hoping the music isn’t too hard so I can just get it with the time we practice together. It usually isn’t the case but each week I do get better but a flute at night or even during nap time in a small house just doesn’t work. Flute parts all seem to be quick runs up and down in the highest registers with little snips of melody here and there. Not fun to listen to all by themselves.

    Reading has been difficult lately too. I haven’t been able to get through much of anything lately. I fall asleep the moment I pick up a book. Or I have a different book thrown at me and tears if I don’t pick up the baby and “read” it with her. She is a demanding little girl! In fact just writing this comment has taken me forever because I have already had to get up twice to fetch something for this busy girl with the loud scream.

    Finding time to do much of anything for myself is rather difficult. I am sure time will change that as my kids become less dependent on me. I guess I should enjoy it while it lasts. I will miss these years someday… at least I am told I will.

  3. Francesca Rose permalink
    March 6, 2011 5:18 pm

    I had a wise Stake Pres. once, who said that we don’t “make” time, or “find” time. God gives us time, and we reach out and TAKE time.

    So with my various hobbies like cello and reading, it gives me perspective that I can reach out a take time…even if it is only 5 minutes, or only one page, or only 6 measures….it all eventually adds up. 🙂 Here’s to multi-tasking mothers! 🙂 We should get together and play some cello! hehehe one more thing! 😉

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