Maybe one of the saddest days of our lives.

Is the day our child leaves home.

It’s happy too, of course.

As they toddle off into the big wide world.

But I imagine that these days are really, really sad too.


But there may be much sadder days for us and our children.

Lots of them, actually.

I am referring to the days that they actually spend living with us.

In their childhood home.


This is a short story about choices.

It’s a story about how we choose to spend those days when our children are around.

The days that our children are with us.

And whilst I don’t know your or my exact numbers.

They might be something like this.


We get 365 days each year.

We sleep 7 hours each day so that’s 107 days gone.

We work too much.

Let’s say 10 hours for 5 days each week and another 6 at the weekend so that’s  121 days each year gone.

Eating is 1.5 hours each day so 23 days each year gone.

Travelling or commuting or just moving around is 2 hours each day so 31 days each year.

And let’s say we faff about for 2 hours each day doing random things like staring at Facebook or watching rubbish telly.

That’s another 31 days each year gone.

So the total gone so far is 313 days which leaves 52 days each year.

5 days ill each year.

20 days holiday each year (7 or 14 of them actually on a holiday).

Maybe 30 days more working when we shouldn’t be (buggering about with work email or work social media etc.)

And that’s our lot.

Our children are with us for a little of the aforementioned time, I suppose.

But not much.


It doesn’t really matter that these figures are not exact for you.

Or for me.

I just did the sums to shine a light on how I prioritise.

The numbers may swing 20% up.

Or 20% down.

But if they are something like accurate then I reckon that.

Of the 18 years that Izobel is at home with me.

If I actually connect to Izobel between 8 hours (when very young) and 1 hour (as a teenager) each day.

Then an average of 4 hours per day.

For 18 years.

Isn’t that long.

And what’s that in years?

How many of Izobel’s first 18 years will I actually make space to spend with her?

If these numbers are anything like accurate.

The answer is a little under 3 years.

Days Turn Into Years. 

I am not sure how I feel about that.

Spending under 3 of Izobel’s first 18 years connecting with her.

And over 15 of them not connecting with her.

And how many days will I see her after she leaves home?



The exact numbers don’t really matter.

Not to me anyway.

I am not going to pick over the exact sums.

Because I have already worked out how many days each year I want to spend with Izobel.

Before she leaves home.

And I am working on it.

I have distilled it down to one word, actually.



  1. I love this post! I have just taken time off from my day job to spend on my own project and by coincidence ended up spending 12 weeks with my kids as they were on holiday. Didn’t get as much dine in the project as I wanted but somewhere along the way it became less important.
    Even if the project doesn’t work out – the 12 weeks have been priceless.

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