Trade Offs.

Ahhhh, yes, nothing like Reality to blow your new year resolutions out of the water.

I knew, at some level, I was going to have to simplify and let go a lot in order to make my schedule work with my new job. You all told me so, suggested that maybe I let go of my workouts and re-formulate my expectations about what I could accomplish this winter.

I am not willing to let that go.

Training isn’t just physical activity, a way to burn calories. It helps me be my best self, a combination of stress relief, meditation, and balance. It gives me time every day where I can either think… or NOT think, just zone out. It’s an outlet, my happy place.

The way I feel about my training probably should be its own post someday; I have so much to say about it.

But yes, something had to go in order to juggle the craziness of this schedule.

My other hobbies, yes. Writing in this space; I work really hard to carve out time to write in my journal, but that’s maybe every couple of days. Meditation. Dinner out with girlfriends.

But the biggest things I have to get rid of, I am starting to realize, are largely emotional.

The first is Guilt.

I spent most of December feeling guilty. Guilt that I couldn’t do my three days a week at home. Guilt that I couldn’t be responsible for making and cooking healthy, inventive new recipes every night for dinner. Guilt that we didn’t have our 5 days a week of family dinners. Guilt that I am no longer the Default Parent when it came to school matters.

When I feel guilty, I always try and make up for it by doing MORE.

I can’t do more right now.

I just can’t.

So the only alternative is to sit with the guilty feelings whenever they come up. It’s pretty amazing how much it comes up, honestly. There is so much I want to be doing for my family, for my son, for our house, for our health. But I can’t.

The other thing I need to get rid of is Shoulds. Which is probably the other side of Guilt. But it’s the part of me who tells me I SHOULD be able to juggle it all, because I see other moms who are volunteering in their kid’s schools and spending nights out with friends and writing and reading and are completely involved, despite working full time, so man, Karen, why can’t you get it together?

Shoulds come up a lot. I think in To Do lists right now, and whenever a should comes up, I sit and look at my To Do list and tell myself, okay, if I’m going to do THAT, what can I cross off this list? If I can’t – or won’t – cross something off the list, then it’s just not going to get done, and I’m going to have to sit with the Guilt that I cannot get it done.

Wants come up, too. They’re similar to Shoulds except it’s stuff I miss. Like meditation, reading, writing, seeing friends. But I have to hold up those wants against my To Dos and see what can be crossed off.

Like, for example. The reason I can write this morning? I only have a half hour workout recovery swim today, which is going to happen tonight, after I work late, because I left early yesterday in order to be home early enough to hang out with my family before O went to bed and Jeff went to his meeting.

It’s so busy, I need to stay simple. My life right now has been pared down to four basic elements: Family, Work, Training, Sleep.

That said, I need to say that I am actually enjoying the busy of new job. This, too, should probably be its own post. But given that I spent so much of my energy over the past few years thinking that maybe I needed to change careers, it’s so refreshing to feel charged about my work again.

Which is partly why, I think, I’m okay with making the trade offs and focusing only on my four elements right now. Of course, it also helps that I’m only working this job until April, too. Makes it a lot easier on me.

So that’s where I am in mid-January, at any rate. I hope you all are well, and I will write when I can create pockets of time, at least to check in.


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3 Responses to Trade Offs.

  1. Catwoman73 says:

    I’m so glad to hear the job is going well. And I certainly think keeping a pace like this is manageable for a few months, but I can’t imagine doing it for much longer than that. Take care of yourself, and I’ll be here reading whenever you get a chance to write! 🙂

  2. Anna Gregory says:

    This is a very good post, Karen! It speaks to so many moms, who are still tend to be the default parent, working or not. When I was working full time, I couldn’t cope with training, because shopping, laundry, cooking, etc. was still waiting for me when arriving home late at night… You’re smarter and more balanced than I was then, truly inspiring!

  3. Justine says:

    I’m with Anna … I still try to do all of the things I can’t possibly do, and end up not doing half of them, feeling badly about not doing them, and then wallow in the not-doing, when it would be more productive to feel the feeling, and let it go. Thanks for posting.

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