Friday, July 22, 2011

Time is not on my side :-(

Lately I've been contemplating what it would take, from an astronomical/cosmic standpoint, to lengthen our current 24-hour day to about 26 or 27 hours. Those extra few hours would be oh-so handy. It's not just me. Others have contemplated the fact that the Earth simply rotates too fast. There is a book on on how to carve out two extra hours a day in your schedule. No, I'm not alone.

Marriage Moment: Bob's observation
Bob tells me I need to do more housework -- he does more than I, no doubt. Ye my time is pretty much accounted for from 6am till mid-evening, every day. I get home, I crash. Bob  comes home from work at midnight (second shifter) to find me camped out on the couch blogging, or newsletter editing, or whatever. He doesn't see the rest of my day, he just sees a spouse lounging around and an unvaccumed floor. 

What to do?
I'm calculating that horses take about 3.5 hours of my day, every day. I do the following every day, without fail:
  • Muck Harv and Ri's stall and water (25 minutes)
  • Ride Riley--well, 5-6 days a week anyway (2 hours/day on avg)
  • Harvey patting, fussing, primping, hugging (10-15 minutes)
  • Turn out Harv and Riley (10 minutes)
  • Commute (40 minutes, both ways)
  • TOTAL: 3.5ish hours
Recently I agreed to do evening turnout duty four days a week, taking my horse-filled time up to 4.5 hours a day.  Assuming I leave work at 5pm, that puts me home at 9:30pm or 10pm. And I haven't eaten. Yet with the exception of turnout, which I want to do for financial reasons. It may be voluntary activity, but it doesn't feel that way.  I can't NOT DO this. I totally get Bob's point, but still it's frustrating.   I miss the days when I could do this lifestyle without someone ruefully marking my time.

I'm afraid there is no answer to this problem, unless one of you has something to offer?


    1. I actually wrote an article about this for a British horsey magazine a couple of years ago. The tips (both my own and from professionals) included:

      - think quality not quantity when it comes to mid-week rides, you can get more work done in 30 minutes planned and concentrated schooling or even 20 minutes lunging than an hour going round in circles.
      - could you share yard duties with a friend one day a week to allow you both to get home earlier or squeeze in a longer ride?
      - if you have access to a horse walker, pop your horse on while you muck out so he is warmed up and ready to go when you get on.

      I know these aren't problem solvers but maybe one or two of them might win you the odd early finish?

    2. Men and women see things differently, as we all know. Perhaps Bob sees the housework thing as you not putting as much effort into your relationship as you do into Harv/Ri...and it hurts. My husband indulges the expenses for horses, even built me a barn and fenced the whole pasture one post at a time, all by himself, so I could have my thing. So if doing 15 min. of vacuuming or whatever each night (just 15 min. can accomplish a LOT!) makes your husband feel like he's on the priority list, you should do it. To accomplish this might mean, horses have to move closer, you need to cut down to one horse, or you pay someone to clean your house. Don't think of it as housework, think of it as blessing your husband--gives me a little more wind in my sails if I think that. Bottom line for me is that the marriage has to come first...

    3. Sounds much like my days at the barn, but I water and hay 38 horses--taking about an hour. How do I manage--seeing that I have a full-time boyfriend? I Have him come out and to the watering for me. Sometimes, he cleans the 3 stalls, too. This way, not only do we get to spend a little time together on work days, we have a little time at the end of the evening to sit and talk to each other.

      One day a week, I bring out my neice to do the watering...

    4. Ugh... Yes, I'm familiar with this problem. I try to remember that I do equine activities voluntarily, so I can't use them as an excuse to not contribute around the house on a regular basis.

      Short of restructuring your schedule so that you are actually vaccuming when Bob comes home (even if you just started when he turned in the driveway), I don't have any clever ideas.

      It doesn't seem fair for the non-horsey spouse to have to do all the housework while we goof off, though.

    5. Ah, SprinklerBandit, you've just given bob all the argument he needs! It's pretty close to what he says :-), he'll enjoy reading this.

    6. Retire. Then you have all day to sit around the house blogging and not doing housework after you finish taking care of the horses. *G*

      Sorry. Just needed a bit of humor here to lighten up the mood. AS I am not married the problem does not arise. Sometimes it helps if hubby has a horse of his own....

      ooops...more humor? Hard to say at this point. I think the heat is getting to me.

    7. Sorry Jean, don't mean to be a downer, but with the heat here and lack of sleep (we don't have AC) Im a little punchy when I'm writing. It's all good.

    8. Oh yeah, sounds very familiar. I've been accused of neglecting the housework too. "Horsework before Housework" is my motto. I have no answers, but I have empathy for you. I wish I was one of those high energy people who only need 5 hours of sleep a night. That's where I would get my extra hours for housecleaning and cooking (oh, and some exercise time would be nice too). Alas, I'm just too darn tired by early evening.

    9. Happily - unhappily - however you choose to take it, it's all about priorities. My priority is my husband and my son. My horses get fed, watered, snuggled, groomed and put away most days, and more often than not, I'm OK with that and so are they!

      We recently bought our own farm which was SUPPOSED to buy me more horsey time, and alothough I get to see their adorable mugs every day, it hasn't bought any more time, if anything it has boughten us LESS time, as now we have to worry about all the little details.

      I'm not concerned about showing and competing though, so my horses can be fat and lazy and who cares.

      You could always cut out the blogging a bit (sad sad for us!!!) and just do weekly wrap ups or something, cut out "extras" (is the newsletter voluntary?) etc.

      If turning out the horses is about cutting down on expenses, what about moving to a lower-cost boarding barn - possibly one that is closer, eliminate some of the riding lessons, or let your trainer use one of your horses as a LIMITED use lesson mount in exchange for free/cheaper lessons, sell un-used tack, consider pasture boarding... there's a LOT of ways to cut expenses that shouldn't make your horses lives worse. If anything some of them will make them better! My psycho TB mare went from raging-lunatic to miss-calm-nicker-and-gallop-up-to-mommy-good-girl since I put her on 24/7 turn out! She is SO much happier then when she was kept in a stall!!!

    10. I like what Netherfieldmom had to say. We actually had some marriage difficulties some years back because of my "all-in" attitude about horse ownership. I know my husband felt left out which forced me to do a serious overall of my priorities. I still go to the barn 4 -7 days a week, but sometimes I only spend 30 minutes there. The things that help me are:
      1. I have a cleaning lady
      2. My board Includes feeding and stall clean up every morning
      3. I grocery shop for the week on Sundays or Mondays and I make a menu. Every other day is leftovers repurposed.
      4. One weekend a month is for my husband
      5. I chose a barn that is 5 minutes from my house

      Doing these small things made my husband feel more valued. On occasion he'll even say, have fun at the barn and take your time. Sweet music to my ears!

    11. Netherfieldmom and Speedy made very good points. Can you hire someone to clean?
      I know this has been an issue in my relationship too. Wade has asthma, therefore the house HAS to be clean (funny you wrote this, I spent yesterday redoing the bedroom to spotless again so he can sleep better) I was never a big cleaning person, but I've learned to embrace and even love it. I'm still not Martha Stewart, but I'm a far cry from the bohemian lifestyle I grew up in.
      Since I let dogs in the house, it's a big thing for him to have the house clean. He makes the majority of the money, so I feel it's my job. He does a lot to indulge my horse and dog wishes, all the shows, gymkhanas, dog obedience lessons... I don't work outside the home much anymore (here and there) but when I did, it was a HUGE issue. Having time to do it all is impossible, especially with a child who demands quality time. As do the dogs and horses!(they're my kids too!)
      This subject has been on my mind recently too, as to how much one person can really do, and for how long? and quality? I've had to step back and look hard at what I'm doing here.
      Right now I have a bunch of "extras" going on, horses on meds, 2 calves bottle feeding, a friends' layup horse here... all that add to the hour or so it usually takes me to do the same things you do, muck pens and waters, etc. When the extras pile on, I'm outside 4-6 hours a day with them, just in basic care. That's why I left my vet job, because here at home is a 24hr a day job. I want to have a quality home to raise my child in, and she shouldn't suffer in any way because I've taken in these animals. Wade has gently pointed out that that's my priority in life and he's right.

      I went to a rescue recently housing 87 horses, and who knows how many cows, pigs, turtles, goats, dogs, cats, OMG it was insane. 2 people doing it all, and they said 6-7 hours a day, plus they both work. Someone please tell me how that works. Cause it wouldn't work for me. I told my vet, lol, that that's exactly what I DON'T want to turn out like. It was very eye opening for me. Wade and I agreed that those people are in over their heads.

      All I can suggest is find the balance. What's important to you, to him, etc. I think you're a smart balanced person to begin with, so I think you'll find a way to carve out the extra... but when do you eat, lol?

      Great subject, great blog post. Nice to see I'm not the only one out there thinking about all this.

    12. I love the picture on this blog!

      My schedule isn't the same as yours - some things are rotated to different spots - but it's the same lack of free time anyway.

      I live with my retired (and lazy... I love her, but she's the laziest person I've ever met!) mom, because she's at the point she needs to not live alone. We have these type of problems - she has all the free time, so it would be easiest if she just did everything! That's really not fair, though.

      I tend to be up first and do the 5am feeding. I then work her horse for her in addition to working my horse whenever possible. If I don't ride that day for some reason, I help with the stall cleaning; she claims to love cleaning stalls, but still complains about it to other people!

      Since my horse is the one who doesn't use his acre run but chooses to use his stall instead, I try to clean his stall at night if I didn't in the morning.

      We hire someone to clean the house. We each pick up after ourselves, but we both HATE cleaning - dusting, vacuuming, sweeping, etc.

      I cook on the weekends including making enough leftovers for the week, and I try to do the cooking during the week as well, especially since Mom just isn't the best cook. It then makes it fair that I let her do the dishes, which she doesn't mind and I detest.

      So there are tradeoffs. I know money isn't limitless, but I think you've said you pay for horses out of your income. Can you buy yourself time, literally, by using some of your horse funds for a housecleaner or yard worker? I told my mom that she is NOT my maid, and I didn't want her to act as if she were, and that's why I want to pay someone to clean. We both benefit from it, and it helps make up for some of the time I'm not helping.

      Can you cook ahead on weekends? I get the impression you do even more barn work on weekends, so that makes it not as easy, but can you have some food either cooked or prepped and ready to stick in the oven for the first few days of the week and let him cover the end of the week?

      I do think it's fair to expect some sort of even split in the house, but that doesn't mean it has to be an even amount of time if you use your money to do your share of the work. Or heck, I spend a LOT more time cooking on weekends than my mom does putting prepped items in the over or doing dishes - but given how I hate doing dishes, I think it's a very fair trade!

    13. Also - I absolutely love your image with this blog!

    14. Abandon housework. Works for my husband and I.

    15. i almost should not reply because I am am extremely lucky horse owning woman - my husband almost always comes with me/us (daughter) to the barn. He has a horse - left over from daughter when she moved to eventing - that he can play with or he find stuff to do around the barn where we board.

      So...I don't have any suggestions -
      feeling very blessed right now since I must be in the minority!

    16. It definitely doesn't get easier, does it? But it's worthwhile to try and rejigger the balance of activities so that you both can feel a bit more content.

      For instance, could you find someone else at the barn with whom you could double-up once a week (they do your mucking and stall duties in addition to theirs on that day, you do theirs as well as your own on another?).

      Could you afford a cleaning service, even if just every other week? Or maybe a Roomba to tackle the vacuuming?

      Can you look into having some meals delivered or getting onto some sort of planned menu for those nights when you have to go right out to the barn (something you could take to work and nuke before you drive off to the stables?).

      In any case, if you can make things work so that you have more time, here and there, to breathe, it might ease your own sense of stress!

      I wish I could get Hermione Granger's time-turner and send it your way for some extra hours. Short of that, we can offer you support.

    17. Same problem here. I even keep my horses at home and I still don't have time for house work (nor the motivation). Even when I am doing housework, I get distracted by the ponies and it takes forever (e.g. Cleaning out the fridge, find lone carrot, take carrot out to horses for a treat, stay outside to admire ponies/scrub water buckets/fix fencing etc. Husband then finds fridge wide open, half done and gets grumpy with me!! The nerve of him...)

    18. A common problem, for sure.

      What I did was figure out what his housework priorities are. Asking was useless; it took some observation, testing, and investigating! Around here it is a clean well-stocked kitchen (he cooks), a neat place to eat, a clean bed, a neat place to watch tv, a dry towel, and clean work uniforms. I spend 20 minutes a day on these on average. He is supposed to keep his computer area clean himself (ahem).

      Oh, and I've found not having stuff cluttering the entryway he uses most and a quick canter around with the vaccuum/broom help a lot!

    19. Having someone clean for you once a week is not too expensive and a sparkly bathroom and empty laundry hamper (without having to do the tasks yourself) is not to be underestimated.

    20. I am so incredibly lucky with how my life is laid out right now. I have quite a bit of time to play with the horses, so take my advice with a grain of salt. (Although not too long ago my situation was like yours.)

      My advice is - ride Riley one less day a week and devote that time to Bob. Or maybe devote that time to housework. Or wherever you and Bob would find it most useful.

      Ultimately, the team that matters most is the one with your husband, not your horse. This is primarily because your husband is likely to be the one who lives longer.

    21. The time thing is a hard nut to crack. It still gets away from me, and I'm not working!
      My hubby and I have had a few set-to's about who does what and who does more. Good communication and frank discussions help - often best after just one beer or glass of wine... (I almost said 'whine' - how fitting!)

      Good luck finding the time!

    22. I know you like the place you board but is there any place closer you would ever consider? Although the stable my horse lived at when I bought him had many more amenities for riders (2 indoor arenas, 2 outdoor arenas and a track) and the place I moved him to has only a very small indoor arena and a round pen, my horse and I are happier. He is now just 10 minutes from my home instead of 45 minutes away. He is turned out 24/7 and loves it. At his old barn he shared a 1 acre (or smaller) paddock with over 20 horses and there was no access to grass. Now he is on pasture all day with 2 buddies and in a paddock with a lean-to at night. There are times I miss the amenities of large, well-lit arenas with good footing but it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.

    23. have to agree with Hammersark about the 24/7 turnout. Now that I have horses at home, I feel pretty sorry for stalled-at-all-times horses. So isolated and B-O-R-E-D. When the vet came to our place the first time for vaccs., we didn't even have stall dividers or doors, just a giant run-in shed really. He said it was the healthiest way to keep a horse. Had them here 4+ years and not one sick-call. And remember, Riley will not be able to help you when you are old! :)

    24. I have my horse at at co-op barn and have to do chores every day. Balancing the work with my riding, work and family means that some days I don't get to ride, or I have days when I only ride for half an hour. When I have short riding days I plan what I'm going to accomplish carefully and stick to the plan. I'm lucky that I only live five minutes from where I keep my horse. It makes it a lot easier!

    25. I have to go with the crew who are suggesting getting a cleaner. It will not be cheap, but with your crazy schedule I think it would be well-worth it in the name of marital harmony. If I may make one suggestion, it would be to find someone independent, and not go with a professional service (eg Molly Maids). Then you know exactly who's coming and s/he can learn all of your preferences. Around here that kind of person charges $15-$20/hr. Every other week would make a big difference!

      Failing that, I like the suggestion to ask Bob to prioritize. We all have our "things" that mean more; you could write your name on a lot of my furniture right now, but by golly, my stovetop is sparkling clean! I think just making an effort will go a long way towards Bob feeling valued. (And you obviously do care, or you wouldn't have blogged about it ;-)

      One last thing: you put an awful lot of effort into this blog. I personally would not care AT ALL if you ran ads; if I'm not interested in something, I don't click, simple as that. You could probably make enough extra income to pay for cleaning, or to let you skip a barn chore. Just a thought...


    26. Well, this sounds familiar. :)

      When I get home from work, where I MUST clean, take out trash, and do upkeep, the last thing I want is to have to do those things at home. Craig helps a lot with the housework and the kids, but he doesn't do it all.

      To get it all accomplished, I have days that I just do not go to the barn. I used to go every day, but I have at least two days a week, sometimes three, where I don't go to the barn. Kaswyn is fine without me. I always inform the barn manager when I won't be there (it's usually the same days every week) and she makes sure he gets out. On the days I don't go to the barn I do laundry, pick up, and clean. It doesn't all get done at once, but a little at a time.

      Having TWO failed marriages before this one (yup, not lyin') I know I want to keep Craig around. So I make it work, both ways. I keep my horse, my husband, my job, and my kids happy.

      Oh, and I decided that it was much more important to be happy, and to have happy kids/family than to have a clean house. Some days, when I'm not at the barn, I totally blow off chores to be able to play with the girls instead, cause you can't get that time back. Years from now, if you're happy, you won't remember the stack of newpapers by the door or the bunch of junk on the counter. You'll remember that you were happy. And that will be enough.

    27. It always comes down to time... and not having enough of it! My boyfriend recently announced that horses were my REAL boyfriend... and honestly, I have a hard time coming up with a good rebuttal.

    28. What about mucking a fellow boarder's stall in addition to yours once or twice a week in exchange for having yours done the night you don't have barn duty. That would give you one night a week to take off from the barn to recharge & tackle household chores.

    29. No advice here. I'm unhappily making this transition as well. 5 years of having my own time and choosing to spend 90% of it at the barn. Now I live with someone which means I can't live in filth, he wants to see me SOME of the time, and I'm going to vet school this fall. I'm sure that I'll find a good balance, but I do know one thing for sure - for a very long time, perhaps never, will I have the sort of time to spend on my horses I did in the last 5 years. FYI - I tweeted this post, but couldn't find you in twitter. If you have an account, let me know and I'll link you.

    30. Jenny's comment reminded me about a discussion I had last week. I had expected to see a mutual friend's daughter at the hunter/jumper show and was surprised that she wasn't there. Apparently the daughter has moved in with her boyfriend and can't afford both an apartment and leasing the horse she rides. My advice was to tell her that boyfriends are a dime a dozen and she's better off to stick with her horse.
      On my personal home front I force myself to do chores when I'd rather be watching TV, reading, playing on my computer, whatever. That way stuff actually gets done and I can spend time at the barn pretty much guilt-free. It doesn't all have to be done the same day. I vacuumed Wednesday and dusted and scrubbed bathrooms yesterday. Today will be laundry. Viola! I agree with making a menu and planning on leftovers on the nights I ride late. Husband can just heat stuff in microwave and I eat when I get home.

    31. The best solution I can think of is to learn to clean house more efficiently. Unless you folks live in a giant house, there's no reason the house can't be spotless in two hours a week on your part and two hours on his. Everyone has two hours. And then you just do it. You don't collapse, you don't sit on your butt blogging in a dirty house, you do the two hours. If you put your all into it it doesn't take long and then it's done.

      I used to have a good book on cleaning... wish I could remember the title. Sorry, that's no use!

      The other solution is to take 50 dollars a week of your money and pay a cleaning lady to come in, then tell Bob to shut up. In fact (sorry, I know this is no use either) I would be inclined to tell Bob to shut up anyway. This isn't the first time you've mentioned that he's jealous of your hobbies, and I have sort of a policy not to reward jealous behavior. You want me to spend more time with you, treat me WELL, not badly.

    32. I'd give up one day of riding, and use that hour for house work.

      It's hard to add another adult to an equation when we are used to having our own life. Compromise is my least favorite part of being married.

      Unless he's compromising with ME, of course.

      Chances are your horses will do fine with a schedule of 4-5 days, and it'll be something, at least.

      Roomba was a huge sanity saver for us...

    33. Well, the first thing I would ask is what does he in his free time? Does he clean? or does he plop in front of the tv, play video games, head for the gym, whatever.

      Everyone is entitled to spend their free time in a way they want. House chores have to be divided. I suggest you set up a weekly chart of house chores that have to be done, and divide them (equally) between the two of you. That way the housework gets done, no one feels they are doing all the work, and you both get to have your fun activities.

    34. I hear you. But the word "compromise" is the only option.

      I definitely would not have the time (or money) for more than one horse and, as it is, I do not see him everyday. I wish that I could, but my hubby has to have priority. He usually gets Saturdays and my horse gets Sundays. During the week, I try to alternate riding after work with going to the park with my husband. Sometimes I ride when he is exercising, which is his personal time. We are not picky on housekeeping, but dinner does become a problem. I have found a few things that I can make and he appreciates the effort even if the dinners are not elaborate. We also try to cook together, share chores, and always go food shopping together. It is definitely worth it when he offers to bring the camera to take pictures while I ride! It is also worth noting that I pay for full board and my barn is 8 minutes away. I also used to give lessons twice a week, which I miss, but has opened up a lot of time for riding and family.

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