This summer, I accepted a new job – one that I thought would give me more time.
It was flexible, quiet, didn’t consume me the way my other corporate jobs did, and 20 minutes from home. It allowed Owen to come home on the bus three days a week, instead of going to the afterschool program. It allowed him to join a club soccer team as well.
The reality is, well, different than I expected.
Taking this job also required me to take on 95% of parenting and life administration duties as well. And it’s really, really busy.
I’ve all but given up on finding time to write. I have been meditating during my commute to work, where I listen to Tibetan Singing Bowls in the faint hopes that maybe a few minutes of meditation – even in the car – is better than nothing. My workouts are crammed into too-small pockets of time in the afternoons, and I’m often forced to cut them short or forego a shower when I’m done.
My days are spent playing aggressive Life Tetris; moving my blocks of time in order to be the most efficient, fighting to get rid of lines of obstacles like work schedules and Finley care and Owen homework and laundry and dishes and dinner prep and soccer practice and games and seeing family and having some kind of semblance of a life outside of my home and chores. I’ve stacked up my days such that every moment I am awake must be productive.
I thought it was okay. Even when my pants were tight and I got on a scale and discovered I was up 10lbs from stress eating. Even when I got sick over Thanksgiving when we finally didn’t have to be anywhere or do anything. Even when I started to be mean and fight with my husband about how streamlined HIS life gets to be – get up, gym, work, home, and oh, hey dinner’s ready! Even when I’ve rushed Owen through his homework so we can get to the next activity.
And then there was last week.
It was already a hectic week, with three birthday parties on top of the regular schedule. And then, on Wednesday, we discovered that Finley had gotten bitten by another dog when we were away over Thanksgiving… when the bite got infected and burst. It meant daily visits to the vet, medication, compresses, no walks. The first night I was up overnight for a good portion of the night worrying about how it was all going to work. We got more bad news on Friday night – his wound wasn’t healing well, and they were considering putting a drain in.
And then I raced a 5k on Saturday.
It was the worst race I’ve had in a long, long time.
The thing with the kind of workouts I do: they are usually pretty easy. Easy in the sense that they aren’t INTENSE workouts. I can always let off the pace, run easier, take deep breaths, etc. It’s a low, slow, long burn. And 5ks aren’t those kind of races. They are intense and hard and consume you like wildfire.
And at the race, in mile 1, when it was hard, I freaked out and panicked and completely crumbled.
I have run half marathons faster than I ran the last 2 miles last Saturday.
I knew I had been strung out and stretched thin and stressed out for far too many weeks, but somehow seeing how the stress played out for me during a race… it made me realize I need some help.
It’s REALLY hard for me to admit that I can’t do it all.
But I can’t do it all.
So the first part of the solution: tonight we are interviewing someone who I’m hoping to hire to come to our house twice a week and help with housekeeping and babysitting and homework and meal prep and dishes and laundry.
(The second part of the solution is, obviously, to get back to meditation and writing. I’m hoping that the woman we interview is a good fit for us and we can utilize her help so that I can, in fact, get back to it.)
I can’t do it all. And that’s okay.