The Schedule Dance: Bring Your Boogie Shoes
Sometimes, trying to schedule equal time with partners (and other important people) is harder than mastering the Waltz. Trying to figure out who gets what days, and how often, and whether or not it’s regular, and who is watching the kids, and logistical requirements for each day can give one a migraine. Fortunately, with the advent of organizational programs such as Google Calendar, iCal and others the migraines can reasonably be reduced to mere headaches. But even with the assistance of virtual organizers time management can be difficult at best, and can even create unnecessary turmoil. In fact, having an imbalance in life between, say, work and family, results in less happiness for people, and people who spend more time with family/friends tend to be happier than those who spend more time at work1. Further, having negative or stressful spillover from working too much or engaging too much in stressful activities contributes to a decline in relationship satisfaction2,3.
I am used to being busy. Most of my adult life has been spent working several jobs at once while trying to maintain some sliver of a social life. The benefit of this kind of “busy”, though, is that I didn’t have a problem trying to schedule a million things. I could pretty much assume that on any given weekday I would be working and would likely not be available; very cut and dry. I have since cut back on work (for my sanity) but I now find myself in a whole new dilemma trying to balance people I love with responsibilities and necessary alone time. Wowza.
I’ve often preferred to live a life of spontaneity when I could. On Friday night or Saturday morning I’d be solidifying plans for Saturday night or Sunday. Now, trying to juggle partners and work, with “me” time and other chores, I find myself having to schedule my days 2-3 weeks out. In the beginning this was overwhelming, as I have never been one to keep a calendar. I found that I wasn’t able to keep things straight or remember whom I was seeing on one day or what I was doing on another. I had no idea how to balance things and have even ended up hurting peoples’ feelings by accidentally double booking (which, for me, is a catastrophic disaster as I loathe hurting people).
Thank goodness I finally caved and decided utilize iCal (cue harps and chirping sparrows). Now, I can look at the colorful weeks that include my 4 schedules and partners’ schedules and breathe a small sigh of relief. I can’t imagine adding kids into the mix, and logistical difficulties like location and transportation, childcare, or unplanned interruptions and illness. The thought of it makes me want to say “screw the schedule dance, I’ll take the Waltz”.
Being polyamorous is awesome, but it also comes with built-in complications; scheduling being a major one. Imagine how hard it is to balance a home/work/social life with the average one partner and 2.5 kids. Now add 2 more partners, their 1-3 kids (each) and potential metamours. This complicates scheduling, exponentially. Instead of considering 3 people, you’re considering 13! And none of this is taking into consideration things like active time, intellectual time, hobby time, time with friends and family, pets, etc. It makes me dizzy just thinking about it.
However, despite the complex nature of a poly life, most people find the trade-off to be well worth it. Becoming a scheduling wizard has added benefits as well, and can even bleed into other areas of your life that might need organizing (anyone for colored filing systems? No? Just me, then? Fine). You can break down in exasperation, or you can grab your boogie shoes, dance the dance, and enjoy the rewards of your hard labor.
1 Greenhaus, J. H., Collins, K. M., & Shaw, J. D. (2003). The relation between work-family balance and quality of life. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 63(3), 510-531.
2 Hostetler, A. J., Desrochers, S., Kopko, K., & Moen, P. (2012). Marital and family satisfaction as a function of work-family demands and community resource: Individual and couple-level analyses. Journal of Family Issues, 33(3), 316-340.
3 Buck, A. A., & Neff, L. A. (2012). Stress spillover in early marriage: The role of self-regulatory depletion. Journal of Family Psychology, 26(5), 698-708.