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Priorities... revisited again?

Monday, August 24, 2009

WHY are there only 24 hours in a day?
WHY must I waste at least 2 of those hours doing stupid, meaningless things?
WHY doesn't "more energy" translate into "more accomplished" for me?
WHY does living a healthy lifestyle feel like the biggest time-suck ever?

Yipes. This is a very negative way to start a blog entry. I'm struggling with fitting everything into my schedule, and feeling guilty. I should be feeling guilty. Here I sit, blogging on sparkpeople when there are at least 10 other legitimate things I should be doing.

I need to get a handle on my time. THIS WEEK.

Many days it seems like all I can do just to hang on to my health goals with both hands. And I'll be truthful, it has been at the expense of other priorities.

Well, perhaps that's why they are called "priorities," huh? Not everything can be number one. (Oh, I've tried living that way. It's quite literally impossible. And your personal goals are the ones to take a backseat.)

It's a little bit depressing to realize that changing my lifestyle for the better has not freed me from guilt. I've simply moved the guilt to a new area of my life. It's a sad but simple fact of life today... we place so much pressure on ourselves to be everything, to do everything, to "have" everything. And I am (in my opinion) living in the "slow" lane! Today I am chasing first-day-of-school details around like so many gnats. None of the stuff is hard, but all of it is time-consuming. Meaning a zillion other things on my to-do list are slipping off the bottom of the page, presumably to take place tomorrow.

I feel like I re-prioritized my life after my first child. Then re-prioritized even further after my second. But truly, none of my obligations went away - - I just end up spending less and less time on certain things. And those things are now my biggest source of guilt. In my case, my girlfriends, my job and my housekeeping.

The trouble with priorities is that they make you choose. My personal trouble with priorities is that I can't always seem to make my actions conform with my intentions. I HAVE moved exercise and good health way up on my list. I know it is the right thing to do. I'm happy with the results (more energy, higher self esteem, lost weight). I'm not always comfortable with the trade-offs - - having to give up valuable time I could be spending on other areas of my life.

Maybe I need to sit down and build more of a strict schedule for myself. I am definitely a creature of habit. Only I've let a lot of time-wasting, non-productive habits creep into my life. Perhaps this is a stage of life... with two young children, I feel endlessly disorganized, constantly under pressure and almost dazed when they go down for the night. (Definitely in no shape to be productive in the evenings!) So, as a result, I'm cramming everything I possibly can into the times when they're in daycare... namely about 18 hours a week. The biggest problem is that I'm trying to fit WORK, the GYM, and a teensy bit of "me" time (whether it is gardening or blogging on this site or just taking a nap)... into those 18 hours. It's NOT working.

I'll work on a better plan tonight. My oldest starts 4-year-old-kindergarten next week, which will change my schedule slightly. Same number of hours to myself though. But a shift in schedule is always a good time to make other changes.

Thanks for letting me blather on... I feel a little better just admitting that I'm not really keeping my head above water these days, and letting too many important things slide. (But not my spark! Perhaps that's why it's so important to get a grip on this now... I don't want to endanger all of the great changes I've made by letting daily life get the better of me.)

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  • no profile photo CHRISS13
    I have to agree with everything you said.

    I remember how frustrated I was trying to be supermom - taking kids to school, going to college myself, working, laundry, dinner, cleaning, babysitting friends kids so they could go out, pets, shopping, drs. appts, ect. I was happy doing individual things but like you all the rest of the stuff that I still had to do was still in the back of my mind. Unfortunately, I'm kind of OCD about things and wanted them to be perfect. I ran myself ragged and just about into a breakdown. My husband and I nearly divorced. Don't go down that road!

    You have the right idea. You should pick a few things that are really important and make sure they're done. Then let the rest slide a little (at least until the little one is dressing himself).

    Make sure you talk to your husband about what you guys are willing to let slide and what your priorities are. My husband was really worried about me going to college. It wasn't until years later that he told me he thought I was going to school to find a better husband. (Damn, insecurity). When I decided housework wasn't so important but didn't tell him, he started criticizing me. He used to hound me about vacuuming (of all things) until I walked him to the closet, pulled out the vacuum, plugged it in, and handed it to him. I told him it didn't bother me that much and I was busy cooking dinner. We eventually saw eye to eye but it was really rough for a while. I wish I'd talked these things out with him before.

    I'm in my 40s and my son's grown and moved out and my daughter is a Senior in HS. Two of my big things (like raising small kids) have come to an end. Tings are a lot more mellow now that I don't have to chase little kids down, erase crayon from the walls, stop them from feeding the dog their chocolate cupcakes, and make sure they flushed the toilet every day.

    I've become a little more selfish now. I take time to read a book or plant some flowers because I want to. Even though I really like cooking, I taught my husband how to cook. Now we share that chore. My husband and I have learned to look at the occasional dust bunny as pets. (They don't eat much and don't pee on the carpet.) My house isn't gross but Martha Stewart wouldn't be pleased with it.

    Hang in there, girl. Things are tough now, but as the kids become a little more independant, thing will get a little better.
    3825 days ago
    Hope you are doing well and hope your plans are coming to a better order.
    3827 days ago
    The joys of motherhood!! And along with the joys comes the guilt...sad but true - we think we should be able to do it all - kids, work, house, spouses, LIFE in general, so know wonder "me time" ends up at the bottom sometimes. I know how hard it can be to put yourself first when there seems to be so many other "higher" priorities but like you said gaining more energy & higher self-esteem can only benefit all areas of your life! Just do the best you can & keep on blogging - even if you don't find the "answer" the support & realization that "you are not alone" really does help!
    And LISABG has it right - "in 20 years will this matter?" certainly clarifies what is truly important!
    And like a true mother...all of the above was one of those "do as I say, not do as I do"

    Take Care of you


    (*Kudos to the list makers by the way - I envy you, I just ended up losing any list & wasted time looking for it!! LOL)

    3834 days ago
  • KELLZ729
    I believe every goal, task or to do list deserves a good gameplan. I am big into lists and writing things down. Once it is down on paper, you will be able to visualize it more clearly. Good luck!
    3834 days ago
    I could right a whole blog about this stuff. Maybe I should...Anyway, I definitely can identify with you. I feel like a decently organized, scheduled person but with 3 kids, how can I really keep a schedule. I get home from work at night and just try to keep my head above water until I get them all in bed. I feel like my kids suffer & don't get the attention they so deserve. However, the one positive side effect of a healthier lifestyle for me is that I have more patience with them. My husband is a big help but he is so busy, I feel guilty at times for asking him for more of his time just so I can get some "ME" time.

    You deserve some time for you because it will re-energize you so you can do the things you 'need' to do. Don't feel guilty for it. Having some "meaningless" own time is needed for your over all well being. emoticon
    3835 days ago
    I hear ya sistah~ I agree with LISABG mother's struggle with that.
    I am a scheduled person. That is the only way I can get things done.
    I am sure you will figure it out =-)

    3836 days ago
    I think every mother struggles with same issues. Hang in there! Work out a schedule and stick to it! (If only I'd listen to my own advice. haha) Take a few seconds and just "Breathe" once in awhile and think to yourself, "Is not doing this really gonna matter in 20 years?" You might find yourself changing your mind about what's important. emoticon
    3836 days ago
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