Friday, March 11, 2011
I've started some version of this post at least a dozen times in the past year, but I've always stopped because I have felt it was too, raw and too, exposed. So I ask that you mamas out there who may know my husband and family be kind and not judge. But after being reduced to tears standing in the middle of the gym before 6a, here we go...
In a previous blog I talked about the "bag of guilt" (see: Guilt) I feel weighted by, but recently, due to changes in my schedule and my daughter's simultaneous shift in her schedule I'm here to say that "bag" was super-sized to a tote or overnight bag.
First, let me start with this cruel, possibly imagined, but very real feeling I have lately. While at my professional work experience, I have not felt the pressure of a clock with someone watching my time in well over a decade- I have come to feel that by my husband, my mother, my in-laws and by some of my friends someone is literally holding a stop watch to the minutes and seconds I do or do not spend with my daughter.
When I accepted a new job, a better, more exciting, but equally manageable management position...almost everyone asked if, "It was fewer days...". Huh? I don't want to make this so much about work, but I hold a very senior position, running a revenue generating department- how on earth could that be expected to be a part time job? As I try to explain that, I see disappointment wash over everyone's face. Then, the question is followed by, "Is it less hours?". Again, "Huh?" It is less stressful, and more fulfilling and provides more opportunity, but that doesn't seem to be a satisfying answer for people.
Next up on my minutes watcher is and has been for some time...is my husband. I'm not going to get into a lot of preamble on him- he is very helpful, and has never directly said what I feel is implied, but here's a sample conversation:
Him, "You know if you shower at night you get a lot more time with dd."
Me, "Yes, it is nice to get a few more minutes, but sometimes it is just necessary to wash and dry my hair in the am to look put together...".
Him, "Can't you wash it the night before?".
Me, "Yes, I try."
The point of this conversation that irks me is this, from shower to dry to make up and dressed, I've nailed the routine to 30 minutes. Pretty damn good if you ask me (or if we were to do a poll on this site, right?). But that 30 minutes isn't good enough for him. To me, and how this plays out for me in my head, he "counts" those minutes.
Aside from the getting ready in the am, minute counting has seemed to come into play as I try to use the bathroom to do my business. As I try to relieve myself, I am met with a toddler crying outside the door and my husband saying, "she misses you and wants to see you..." Ladies, if I'm in there 5 minutes- it’s a long time.
And in other blogs, I've talked about the extra weight I feel I'm carrying around with me...so a few (1-2) mornings a week I've been making a point to get up to go to the gym at 5:15 for a 530-6:30 work out. It is exhausting and very hard promise to keep because with o's new sleep schedule - has shaved an HOUR off the morning and 30-45 minutes off the evening. Previously, she regularly awoke at 6/6:30, not so much anymore. We've been greeted with a very annoying and unwelcomed 5-530 curtain call for weeks now. And bedtime, due to all the minute watchers has over months shifted from 7:30 to 8-8:15.
While I am very happy to have more time with her, the result of her longer day, is also guilt for making a decision to not to spend every minute of them with her, making it even harder to keep exercise in my regime.
And my mother...oh how I love her, but she can just be brutal. All of her life she has been watching what she eats, and while she always exercised, in the past 3 years she has become a gym rat. She shrunk two or three sizes in two years, thanks to a shorter work week and fewer home responsibilities; she is in the best shape of her life.
Coincidentally, I am in the worst (well, almost...9 months ago when I got back to exercising was probably my worst). So aside from being one of those people who frowned about my new job (this is the same woman who pushed me academically my entire life) also grills me about my gym time and my (new at home) treadmill time. What am I doing, how long, how much, etc.
Finally, aside from being told I really need more time in the gym and on the treadmill, she also piles on in "jest" at least monthly that, "I rarely cook" for my family. I cook dinner about 4-5 days a week, healthy, wholesome meals...but anytime I reference a prepared meal or take out, the "you should cook more and just take it out of the freezer..." rears its ugly head.
So now: I don't spend enough time with my child, I don't feed my family properly and I'm not the weight/looking as I should look.
But my tear jerker in the gym today was also added to by the fact that my in laws have told my husband we don't make enough of an effort to get together. We see them once a week. Great, so now I need to not only make a special shopping trip every week to cook an entire weeks worth of food, make sure I'm at the gym at least an hour, make every awake minute of my day spent on the weekend with my daughter...but now I need to find not one, but at least more than one day or night to devote to my in-laws AND my own parents (who live a bit further away).
As I stood on the bosu ball this morning, trying to "find balance" I crumbled into a ball of tears. I have days where I actually think I pull it off but more often than not I just feel like a big failure. I can't win...and I also, can't lose (the weight that trudging around).
The love and joy I feel from being with my daughter is more than I ever could have imagined. But the pain, diminished confidence and lack of joy I have felt in every other area of my life is so overwhelming- I don't even know how to start to pick myself up. How do you, "Do it All"?