I overdid it.
I was suddenly gifted six hours a day where child-care wasn’t my primary objective. For the first time in nearly nine years, I was responsible for the well-being and care of my offspring for only eight hours of the fourteen they are awake each day.
Or, as someone else might reference it, both my kids are in full-day school.
I absolutely did not want to squander this opportunity to do everything, everything, I have been meaning to get done for the last nine years. And apparently I thought that all should be accomplished within the first three weeks of the very first school year that this free time has appeared.
Goals, dreams, accomplishments: I would soon have them all within my grasp!
- Showering every day-Check.
- Exercising every day-Check.
- Writing every day-Check.
- Taking care of e-mails and phone calls in a timely manner-Check
- Putting things away so that our house looked less like a clutter-bomb exploded-Check
- Making a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner-Check.
They were good goals, attainable goals. But then I got greedy for more: more polish, more perfection, more poise. I have all this time now, don’t I? Shouldn’t I be capable of all these things and more? What, with all this free time and what-not. So I began adding to the to-do list, the accomplishments I needed to have under my belt by pick-up time.
- Showering every day AND drying my hair AND shaving my legs AND moisturizing AND putting on make-up AND putting on a flattering outfit.
- Exercising every day-but in order to count it has to be new and challenging and has to keep my muscles guessing and be intense and must lead towards the goal of becoming ATHLETIC.
- Writing every day. Writing blog pieces and long pieces and cover letters and author biographies. Submitting to as many publications as I could. Researching and reading the archives of every respectable magazine I can get my hands on.
- Taking care of e-mails and phone calls that both include current issues and issues one, two, three months out.
- Putting things away, scrubbing all the floors, dusting every room, washing all the sheets and the pillows, going through the closets, cleaning out the car.
- Making healthy breakfast, lunches and dinners, snacks and treats AND making the outrageous claim that I would try to make sure we never had fast food on a soccer night (which, by the way, is four out of five weekdays).
I bought blush for the first time since my wedding eleven years ago. I doubled my exercise sessions and tripled the steps I take in a day. I decided I should make the one free weekday afternoon I have with the boys a cookie-baking day, just because my youngest loves baking and we never do it and WHY NOT, I’VE GOT ALL THIS TIME TO MYSELF NOW!
And I am burned-out.
I forgot that I still take care of the boys at least eight other hours a day. I forgot that my husband still travels for work almost every week. I forgot that I have multiple chronic illnesses (hypothyroidism, fibromyalgia and hypoglycemia) that I have to carefully manage. I forgot that I was human. That I might have a bad night’s sleep, or a disappointing setback, or a moment where my body has just given up on me, or a minor argument, or even a just a pimple.
I seemed to think that this extra time to myself was a magic wand. If I coupled it with diligence and effort and not being afraid of planning and experimenting and rolling up my sleeves, I would be unstoppable.
Yep. Except for writing this, today I am pretty well and fully stopped. It’s a high pain day, and my hands and feet are cramped and curled up on themselves unless I push them flat. My head is pounding and my shoulders won’t un-hunch. My body likes to remind me when I’m being a bit foolish and unrealistic.
My body likes to tell me when I am being too hard on myself.
So, I’m going to try to find a few of those six hours today to rest, and regroup, and take a deep breath. Why not? I have all this time to myself now.