The other night, I was sitting in my family room, TV on, my husband at his desk in the corner, tapping away on his laptop. I settled down on the couch, reached for my own computer, and realized... I didn't have any work to do.
Here's the sad part: I didn't really know what to do with myself. Watch TV? I mean actually, really, pay attention to what's on the screen at the other end of the room? Read a book that I'm not reviewing? Write an extra blog post or two? (I'm not alone in this; read the confessions from other working moms in the comments at The 36-Hour Day.)
I knew that there were plenty of little projects that needed to be done around the house, but nothing that I could actually finish before fatigue set in. I am reluctant to admit this, but I mentally thumbed through my to-do list, trying to think of what work I could get done, and it took a while before it occurred to me that I could go and take a long soaky bath, or slip in a DVD, or something that didn't involve reading, writing, or editing.
And then... the real realization: Most people are probably not like this. We've already established that I don't really know how to relax, but this not knowing what to do with myself when I'm not working, it just can't be normal. Most people actually, you know, do other things when they are not working. Not necessarily special-occasion things, or special, me-time moments, just... non-work things.
So, my friends. What non-work things do you do when you're not working?