Time tracking can be a good way to see how you've been spending your time and how it compares to how you would like to be spending it. It's something that Julia and I have done a few times ( December 2017, June 2017, 2015, 2011) and I've generally found it pretty helpful. This time we tracked two weeks, 2022-01-05 through 2022-01-11 and 2022-01-18 through 2022-01-24. These were pretty normal work weeks for the two of us these days:

  • This is with three kids, 7y, 5y, and 7m.

  • Paid childcare 9-5 each workday, with the exception of one day where our nanny called in sick.

  • Nora was sick one of the days. Julia spent more time nursing her, including during the workday, because she was refusing the bottle.

  • No travel or dance gigs.

  • No big house projects.

  • I took one afternoon off work to take the older kids sledding.


  • Sleep: Lights out to lights on. Julia tracked an average of 0:24/night of post-nursing insomnia that's included in the total here. I also had some insomnia after nighttime wakings, but wouldn't have been able to track it without making the insomnia worse. I subtracted 0:15 each night as a guess for how long Julia and I talk before falling asleep. Does not include night nursing; that's under "childcare".

  • Work: The entire workday, including lunch, incidental personal stuff mixed in with working, pumping milk etc. Julia works from home; I worked 4/10 days from the office, and included the commute here (0:09 of the total; 0:35 per day I commuted).

  • Housework: cooking, cleaning, tidying, fixing things, dealing with taxes.

  • J+J: time together without any of the kids.

  • Family: relaxing/playing with others in the family

  • Childcare: taking care of the kids. Julia's time includes 1:55/day of nursing (62% of her total). Nursing while hanging out with family is under "family", though.

  • Personal: blogging, making a go board, exercising, reading things, showering, free time generally.

Some distinctions:
  • When doing multiple things at once, like both cooking and looking after a fussy Nora, we counted these as "housework" > "childcare" > "work". That is, doing housework and childcare at the same time coded as "housework".

  • "Family" vs "childcare" is a bit fuzzy. In 2017 we counted all time solo with the kids as "childcare", but as they have gotten older that no longer seems like a good fit. Instead, it's perhaps whether one would rather have someone else to do it if that were a matter of snapping one's fingers? Examples:

    • Childcare: changing Nora, hanging out with her when she is fussy, getting the kids ready for bed, getting them to school, time with them when I would otherwise be working.

    • Family: playing with a happy Nora, Nora on my lap while I play music, park time with the older kids, reading to them, morning cuddles, games.

Here are our numbers, in terms of average hours per day:

And a comparison to my numbers from 2017:

  • The decrease in time Julia and I have alone together is mostly from the 2017 sample being unusual: we had two evenings out together (speaking at a local college and my work holiday party) when we usually don't take any.

  • The decrease in my work time (9:27 to 8:01 per work day) is a mix of that I took a half-day vacation, that I'm not commuting, and that we missed a day of childcare.

  • The increase in personal time is partly earlier kid bedtime.

  • The decrease in housework time is mostly from the "working on the house" subcategory; the house is now in decent shape and I'm not putting nearly so much work into it.

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5 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 5:21 PM

Did you have a nanny in 2017? You don't mention it but from the amount of childcare, I would guess yes.

In 2017 we had an au pair. See the "Ages 2y5m to 6y9m / 0y6m to 4y10m: au pairs" section of https://www.jefftk.com/p/childcare-iii for details.

I compared the time for childcare with our estimates, and things seem comparable:

42.5h (7 months) + 15.75h (5 years) +  9.25h (7 years) = 67.5h per week 

And you had 7*(3h+1.5h) for you plus 4*8h for the nanny = 63.5h in that week.

We didn't have a nanny because our model was specialization, with stay-at-home-mom, which did and does work out well. Still, to be honest, our time budget was often in the negative when the kids were small.

You have 2021 dates listed a few times in the first paragraph. I think you probably meant 2022.