balancing act

So I mentioned a couple posts back that I was really struggling to find balance in my life. I started this year with a few goals. One of them was that I was going to break free from running. Running and only running had tied me down and pinned me in. I had a big running resolution in 2014 that I couldn’t meet for many reasons (including weeks and months where no motivation was present) but a major one that derailed me more than once was injury. My knees are horrible to begin with but something happened to my foot in November that quickly ended my running for most of the remainder of the year.

I still run but I also decided to try new things. Yoga. Pilates. Zumba. Cycling. Water Fitness. Interval Training. Turbo Kick.  And I have tried all these new things except for Turbo Kick because frankly I’m scared to death. But I will. Eventually. I have learned that exercise SHOULD be fun. It should be something to look forward to and not dread, as I felt many times before. Something that I can’t miss, not something that I can be easily talked out of doing.

Good news: All of these classes are offered for free at the YMCA. Bad news: Class times that I am able to make are at the worst times. There’s childcare available, but my kids have gone from tolerating it to hating it. {The last time I took them, Theo said it smelled like a huge poopy diaper in there and he was never going back. True, it did smell like a huge poopy diaper when I picked them up.} Now that Theo’s 5, he would go to the next age group which would mean Dexter would be left all alone in the stinky baby room. I can’t do that to them. So, I can only go when Ryan is home. Which means a few things: 1. Ryan and I can never exercise together. 2. Every time I go to a class, I am missing out on family time. 3. The more time I spend away from home at the gym, the less convenient it is for Ryan to also get a workout in.

It sucks. Number 2 is the big doozy for me. I would love to work out with Ryan but the main reason I’ve been struggling with balance lately is because I LOVE my classes. I love going to the gym. I look forward to the physical strength I feel and challenging myself through difficult moves. Depending on the day, I might see my kids for 2-4 hours on a weeknight. They are still asleep when I leave the 2 mornings that Ryan takes them to school. To be gone for an hour and a half or more on a day when I barely see them to begin with flat out sucks. Ryan is doing the majority of the care for the children on these days, such as bathing and putting them to bed, but he’s also playing games and reading them bedtime stories while I’m away. One night last week I put on my pajamas before I cooked dinner and Theo practically shouted with glee, “Mommy! You’re not going to exercise tonight!?” When I told him I was staying home, he jumped up and down and ran and told his brother that mommy wasn’t going anywhere.

OUCH.

I have been feeling that way too – guilty – but hearing him say it just made me want to puke. I feel like I’ve been selfish, but have I really? I found workouts that I LOVE and look forward to. I feel strong. I don’t want to stop going to my classes. In fact, I wish I could go to more but that’s not realistic or fair to my family. I wish I could find more time in the day. I have been feeling a little bit better about it this week because I have been making a conscious effort to spend more quality time with the boys while we’re together. I included them in my many chores over the weekend and they actually helped. We played together and we worked together. I took the time to sit on the couch and watch a whole movie with them instead of taking advantage of the opportunity to get things done while they were distracted. Dexter sat on my lap and Theo laid his head on my arm. I have been missing out on something that I didn’t even know I was missing. Not only because I’m gone too much but because it’s right there and I haven’t been making it a priority.

I can justify 2 weeknights at the gym (2 nights that I don’t put my kids to bed or spend quality time with them) for the betterment of myself and indirectly, my family. But what if I want to take a 3rd class? Or a friend asks me to dinner one week and a different set of girls are getting together 2 weeks later. Then there’s a team dinner or a fundraiser the next 2 weeks. Then a haircut appointment the following week that’s going to take 2 hours. All of the sudden, I’m very overwhelmed. If I don’t give up my 2 weeknight workouts, I’ll end up being gone 3-4 nights a week every week. It’s just way too much. Time is flying and I don’t want to regret being gone more than I was home when I look back one day. I guess I’m struggling the most with not wanting to miss out on time with my family but not giving up everything else that I enjoy. I don’t want to lose out on friendships because I always say “no,” but I know I can’t say “yes” every time either.

So what I really need is to add about 6 hours to every weekday – I guess I could give up sleep but I’m not sure my friends or kids would want to hang out at 3am. The gym isn’t open and neither is my work. I know it’s a good problem to have, if there is such a thing. It’s great that I have friends and family and my health. Quitting my job is not an option. So how can I have it all without sacrificing myself? Is that even a thing?  I will keep trying to make more of an effort to be present, and really present, when I am home with my guys. I will say no sometimes. But not every time. And I will probably keep feeling guilty for not being at any one place as often as I wish.

xo,

~C~

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