It’s 7:15am and I have exactly 10 minutes before I have to leave for work. I’ve been up for almost three hours now and if you would have told me a few years ago that I would be setting my alarm for 4:30am most mornings, I would have snorted chardonnay out of my nose laughing at you.
This morning I got up, stumbled to the gym, met my girlfriends there, found out about Stephanie’s last date (it was entertaining but not promising), got my ass kicked in a conditioning class, drove home while dictating a grocery list, showered, poured myself some life-elixir (coffee), and sat down at my computer. Now I am completing my kids’ daily summer work assignments. You see I have three kids and they are staying home this week from camp with the nanny. Our nanny is an older Chilean woman who is part of our family and in absolute love with all of the children. My children have developed highly sophisticated ways to watch hours and hours of screen time during the days I am at work. So every day before I leave, I set out three sheets of paper with check boxes outlining reading assignments, exercise challenges and journaling assignments. Today, I am especially proud of my Fitness Alphabet activity, as they have to write their names, find the letters on the A-B-C exercise chart and then do the corresponding exercise found on a chart! This is a three-fer! Some people might think this is a little much, but I don’t. I own it! I feel good about it.
This is an example of one of the ways I have made our lives work. Having the kids sitting at home rotting their brains out playing Roblox while I am at work is not an option for me, the mother. Staying home all day and hassling their butts to not watch TV and creating endless amounts of enriching experiences for them is not an option for me, the main breadwinner, either. So I have experimented with what works for us, what balances our lives, what makes me feel OK, and what keeps us connected.
For now things are working. They may not be next week, of course….or tomorrow for that matter.
But that’s what life is - whether you have kids or not, whether you are a doctor or not, whether you are just starting college or whether you are finishing grad school.
It’s about being cognizant and honest with yourself. It’s about recognizing your needs, your limits, and your priorities and making things work.
Sometimes I’m good at it, sometimes there are good options, sometimes there are only less terrible options, sometimes nothing is working, sometimes I need to make some adjustments, and sometimes we need a total reboot of the system!
Is it easy? Nope. Do we do easy? I don’t. I wish I did. My husband wishes I did. (At least, he thinks he wants me to choose easy more often). What about you? If you are reading this, then my guess is no. You probably don’t do easy either. Easy is not as fulfilling. “Easy” actually makes me uncomfortable. “Easy” for me would have been less kids, being less fit, feeling like I am missing out on life….
So when thinking about the future take account of your own history. Have you developed skills over your educational years to “fit everything in”, have you continued to pursue more? If you continue to pay attention to yourself in a genuine (and realistic) way, you will continue to grow and develop those skills. We always have the power to assess and change our lives, but that is a topic for another musing. Time to get to work. I lay out my lists for each of the kids. Take the last swig of coffee and out the door.