When you bring a child into this world, you’re committing to parenting them for the next 18 years. And 18 years seems like a long time, right?

That’s 216 months.

936 weeks.

6,570 full days!

Except it’s not.

Here’s why:

There are 157,680 hours in 18 years. The average American gets about 6.8 hours of sleep per night. Over the course of 18 years, that adds up to 44,676 hours of dozing. Subtract that from your total number of hours, and you end up with 4,708.5 days (113,004 waking hours) that you can spend with your child before they’re an adult.

Great, that still seems like a lot. And it is if you have the privilege of being by your kiddo’s side for every waking hour. But what if you work?

If you work a traditional 40 hours per week with an average of 20 days off (vacation, holidays, and sick leave) per year, you’re going to spend 2,080 hours on the job in a regular work year. So if you hold down a full-time job every year of your child’s childhood, you’ll spend 37,440 hours at the office/field/store/factory that you could be spending with them.

You’re now left with a total of 3,148 days (75,564 hours) that you can spend with your kid.

And that’s if you’re setting a hard limit at 40 hours of work per week. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average full-time-employed American works 8.3 hours per day. That puts your hours on the job at 2,158 per year and 38,844 during your child’s first 18 years. 

Meaning if you’re an average working American, you’ve got 3,090 days (74,160 hours) to spend with You Jr.

3,090 days might still seem like a lot of time, but remember that we started with 6,570. It doesn’t take a lot to recognize that that’s less than half. You’re now down to less than 10 years of actual time that you can spend parenting or simply enjoying time with your kids.

Now, here’s the kicker: as of 2019, the average working American actively spends 1.36 hours per day with their children. Over the course of 18 years, that adds up to 8,935.2 hours or just over 372 days.

So what’s the purpose of this post? To guilt trip you into spending more time with your kids? To shame you for spending most of your day earning a living for your family? Not at all. This is the key takeaway:

Value your time.

Your time is your most precious resource and it’s too often wasted on the nonessential. People crave your attention and will devour every bit of it that they can. Guard your time. Cherish it. Then share it with the people that matter most.

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