Tonight Hubby and I had a good conversation about lots of things, including where and how we commit our time, and how we handle responsibilities around the house. It started out as something of a disagreement, but I’m glad that happened because we talked about some really good stuff (even if we didn’t come to any fabulous conclusions to make our lives easier).
One big thing on my mind is how many things I feel I need to say no to: things like book club, ladies’ dinner out, monthly Bunco night, and so on. I truly feel embarrassed when I say no to these things, and also sad, because of course I want to go out and do fun stuff in the evenings. But if Hubby and I are going to be able to keep commitments that we already have, we have to say no to other things.
Case in point: I (supposedly) am committed to going to the gym on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. I’ve already paid for a year’s worth of gym membership, so I certainly hope I could get to the gym twice a week, if not three times a week. So what do I do when a nice, innocent opportunity comes up like a friend or acquaintance suggesting that we start a monthly ladies’ dinner night? What nights do I have “free”? Why, Tuesdays and Thursdays, of course. Mondays are spoken for; Wednesdays and Fridays will be taken up with Hubby’s workout at the gym, if and when he starts that up again.
How about when something I’m already committed to comes up? What nights am I free? Tuesdays and Thursdays, of course.
Now, I’m not stupid, and neither are you, so by now you’re figuring out that if I’m committed to going to the gym 8 times per month, and 2-4 of those times get taken up by other social activities (not to mention things like illness), all of a sudden I’m becoming something of a stranger at the gym, like, every month.
Truthfully, I feel like a complete dork turning down all of these opportunities that come my way. To others, I think it sounds like I’m all obsessed with being a gym rat (ha!) because what’s the big deal if some group or whatever wants to meet once a month or so? But at the same time, I just know that I’m already committed to too much stuff other than working out twice per week.
All this is to say nothing of protecting the time that Hubby and I have to spend together as a family and as just the two of us. And this is to say nothing of kids‘ activities, of which we have practically none at the moment.
I know that every family struggles with being too busy. I just didn’t realize how this issue would affect me at a personal level, worrying about how others perceive me.
A few factors that make our situation unique to us:
- We belong to a church and are somewhat active in taking on responsibilities (though, truthfully, probably not as active as we “should” be)
- The gym I belong to does not have child care, and no way can we afford to pay a babysitter so I can work out during the day. This pushes my workouts to evenings and weekends, whereas lots of my mom-friends belong to our local Y and use the child care there so they can work out during their “workday.”
- Neither of my kids is school age, though this will change in the fall, meaning that all day, every day, I have both of my children with me.
- I need a fair amount of sleep, compared to lots of other people I know, so I am not keen on packing my evenings full of activities.
- My children’s night sleep falls in about the 10th percentile for their ages, respectively. With my 2yo falling asleep around 8-8:30 p.m. and up around 6 a.m., my days end late and start early. In fact, I count my lucky stars each and every day when Mark wakes up at a time that starts with a 6 rather than a 5. This means that it’s not terribly practical for me to get up and start my day before the kids get up; if I did that, I would need to be asleep around 9-9:30 every night.