>I’ve been having a difficult time adjusting to my new job as stay-at-home mum. Which is putting it mildly. I feel unbelievably restless. Hardly surprising, really, considering I’ve spent the last year in a state of pregnancy or postpartum and the entire time I’ve been a) stuck at home and b) uninspired due to illness/lack of sleep. Over the course of the last month, however, I’ve sort of become myself again. And I feel as though I’ve just woken up from a long, strange dream and that now it’s time to get down to real life. But wait! Real life isn’t what it used to be. There’s this little boy who needs, you know, raising and whatnot. I’ve been by myself for two weeks now and each day has been more mind-numbing than the one before. But also amazing – amazing to watch this kid do new things and organize his little mind. Oh the conflict.
Part of the problem, I think, is that I haven’t been managing my time properly. I tackled this new job the way I do all jobs; by setting goals and making lists associated with specific times. 7:00am? Breakfast. 8:15 to 9:00am? Workout. 9:00am? Feed baby. Oddly, I knew this wasn’t going to work. Babies are predictably unpredictable. They care not for sensible schedules. And every day is different. All of this I knew. And yet I habitually went about trying to follow this strange little schedule that I got from god knows where and the end result was that nothing aside from baby-raising got done for two weeks and I woke up each morning feeling increasingly empty. No run, no forward movement on the career front. Sigh. And then I feel bad about feeling empty – shouldn’t being with the cutest boy in the world be enough? Double sigh.
What I need to do, of course, is let go of time and order. Or rather, my ridiculous interpretation of time and order. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had these notions about when to do certain things and the order in which to do them. For instance, I don’t like to watch movies in the middle of the day. This activity is, for me, a night time one and my whole day feels thrown off if I watch one at say 2:00pm. I only floss at night and I only use toner in the morning. I don’t workout if I’ve already had a shower that day. Why? I don’t know. But it means that I like to workout in the morning and that if I sleep in, and then have a shower, I won’t run later in the day. And then I’ll feel bad for not running. Because I’m amazing at laying guilt on myself thicker than pea soup.
On top of all of this, I have always been obsessed with routine. I spend crazy amounts of time scheduling things – Mondays for running and housework, Tuesdays for weights and writing, Wednesdays for appointments, etc. Indeed, I think I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to establish a weekly routine and live by it. I take great comfort in plans and schedules and start dates. And I like to start new things on Mondays but if something goes wrong on the Monday, and the shiny new routine isn’t started, I will give up for the rest of week. Sometimes not even on purpose. And then I’ll feel bad again. It’s all quite complicated and ridiculous. Well, it was complicated and ridiculous before I had a kid; now it’s just plain stupid.
Anyway, I’ve decided that I need to just let go of this time/order/routine nonsense. Because being a successful stay-at-home mum and getting some stuff done for me is going to require some finesse on my part. Letting go is going to require significant effort; I am, after all, trying to break a lifelong habit of making schedules and planning my days minute by minute. But I’m off to a good start. Instead of waiting until Monday to test out this new approach, I started today. I went for a run around 5:30pm or so, AFTER having a shower, and now I’m squishing in some writing while the kid sleeps. And I’m not going to plan tomorrow. I’m just going to make some loose goals – go for a run, play with kid, write something, and organize one cupboard. In no particular order and at no specific time. This feels weird…