i cried at the start of my workout session. but i’lll get back to that later. it had been a pretty “normal” week. my hubby had been out of town for 10 days, the kids had their normal bevy of activities: homework, studying for tests, dance classes, basketball games, etc. i had my usual set of responsibilities: meal-planning, grocery shopping, laundry doing, room tidying, errand running, etc. i also had those random things that i’m used to hubby taking care of: like washing the dinner dishes, taking care of the pooches, taking out the trash, and splitting up some of the carpool stuff. in addition, my daughter was having some issues with her wrist, resulting in doctor visit, an mri and follow-up visit. i’m sure there’s more, but you get it…normal.
in addition to the necessities, a “normal” week usually includes a little “me” time: mani-pedi, lunch or coffee with a friend, a couple of sessions with my personal trainer, or if i’m really lucky, a massage or a facial. like many moms, i’m trying to do a better job of taking care of myself, which has to include working out. in addition to the two sessions with my trainer, michelle, i’m supposed to do daily cardio, crunches, and push-ups. i’m also supposed to eat right: lots of lean protein, fresh veggies and fruit and no junk food.
so, back to last week. with hubby out of town i figured i would conquer some projects around the house: cleaning out the linen closet, organizing my office and clearing out the dormitory: a sleepover room, of sorts, which is outside of the attic and which had become a bit of a catch-all for items on their way there. i even kept my social calendar clear, in order to be really productive. by week’s end, i was rocking and rolling! the dormitory was ready for a sleepover. the linens were neatly folded and labeled (thanks to a YouTube video on folding fitted sheets!). and, the kids’ laundry hampers were empty.
i was feeling really proud of myself…until my trainer arrived the following monday, and asked for the rundown on my fitness accomplishments. i realized i had done nothing to advance this initiative. i hadn’t done any cardio. my eating had not been super clean and i was basically still at square one. i felt so defeated! when i took further inventory of myself, i recognized that i had been wearing the same messy ponytail for days; that i desperately needed to address my nails; and that a facial was long over-due. this is how i found myself crying on the treadmill… thank God my hubby was not in town to see me like this.
it’s so hard to strike a balance. a few weeks ago i watched “i don’t know how she does it” on a sunday afternoon. although the movie was about a working mom, a lot of it rang true for me too. we can be rocking in one area and totally sucking at another. we hustle and bustle like hamsters on a wheel and rarely take time to even appreciate the fruits of our labor. for instance, as obsessed as i am with finding ideas to spruce up our veranda this spring, i doubt i’ll spend much time out there. as women and moms we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to wear many hats, to look fantastic and to make it look easy. but the truth is that it is not easy…it’s impossible to do everything perfectly.
so what’s the key? if i really had it figured out, i wouldn’t have had my treadmill moment. i do know that prayer, organization, scheduling, and multitasking are key components to “doing it all.” when i’m frustrated, i am reminded of proverbs 31 (every wife and mother should know this verse). there is real purpose to taking care of our families and doing it well. but we mustn’t just flail about. i find that putting out fires, eats up so much of my time, and always usurps my good intentions. i know if i had everything on my calendar and i had everything organized it wouldn’t be that way. seriously, organization is crucial!
as i stood there tearfully, michelle suggested that i schedule my “me time” for every morning at 8:00. she said that should be my cardio hour, no matter what (so far that hasnt worked, but i’m still trying), but to use the evenings if i had to. a few days later i discussed my struggle with another friend over a mani-pedi. i was lamenting that i keep having things come up at 8:00 am and it’s hard to do cardio in the evening because i still do bedtime with my little boy. after i’ve sat and read and snuggled, i’m too relaxed to go down and jump on my treadmill…i’m ready for bed myself. she suggested i jump rope while he does homework or is in the shower, this way i’m close by and doing cardio. i like it!
the fact is that my kids won’t be this age forever…geesh, one is already a teenager. it’s important to keep a proper perspective: someday, i will be able to spend my whole day on me-time: their rooms will be perfectly clean, the house will be perfectly ordered, the kids will be grown and off living their lives and my hubby could still be traveling. my grooming will be impeccable, my workouts will be on-point, and ironically, i could be miserable… longing for just a bit less me-time and more of their time. i’m sure my mom and my empty-nester friends could testify.
you may be wondering if this week is any better. well, i’m feeling more balanced with my hubby back home with a few days off. however, i have not gotten much done around the house, because sometimes you just have to shuck it all and take advantage of the down time. soon, he’ll be back to the road and i’ll get back on the grind. but even as i write this, we’re both lounging on the sofa, enjoying some peace and quiet, and recharging. at the end of the day, the only thing i know for sure is that there are only 24 hours in every given day. i have to accept that some things won’t be done and that God willing, i’ll live another day to get to it.
if you’ve figured out the keys to life’s balancing act, please share your tips in the comments. how do you do it?