Before I had kids, I thought I was busy. I know that sounds pompous and haughty, but it’s not meant to be. I feel like every stage in life gets more adultier. More boring yet necessary stuff requires your time and thought, and you get to do less fun stuff. When I got married, I noticed a direct upswing in the amount of work I had to do every night, and when I had Jackson, it tripled.
Every day for over a year, I would get up at 5 am, get myself and Jack ready, drive an hour and a half to drop him off and make it to work, work for 8 hours, pick him up, hit about an hour and a half to two hours of traffic, cook, and do some variation of dishes, bath time, bed time, and prepping for the next day. This is if I didn’t have any errands to run during the day and doesn’t count the often extra little chores like sweeping/mopping, tidying, etc. that are required throughout the week (my son is a modern day Taz and my home is always one step away from an utter wreck.) Luckily my husband and I have established a good tag team effort, and as of a few months ago, my father has started coming to our home to babysit, thus taking out anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half of commute time a day. Hallelujah.
That being said, there’s really not a lot of free time in my day. There is always after Jack goes to bed, but this time is pretty limited since I should prioritize my sleep as I wake up early. To be completely truthful, this is usually the first thing to go so I can fit more in my day, but I’ve been attempting to be better at it lately.
A few months ago, around the time I began this blog, I realized how much I missed doing things that were “me”. I have since made it a point to try and find ways to carve out time within my day that I can use for things that are important to my wellbeing. One of my work friends wakes up at 4am to complete a workout before her day. She’s crazy impressive. I am not like this. Instead, my moments are sporadic, here and there throughout the day. I’ve noticed that as long as I realize that these things don’t have to be more than short bursts, I’m more willing to put the effort into doing them. And while they do require that effort, they have proven to be so much more beneficial than staring blankly at Facebook for 20 minutes (which I also do daily, no judgement).
Listen to podcasts
As stated earlier, I spend a lot of time commuting. A LOT. And I hate driving. So much. It’s ridiculously boring and if I could, I would definitely buy one of those cars that would drive me everywhere without me having to pay attention. Or I would get a chauffeur.
Not being made of money, I was lucky enough to stumble on the podcasts app on my phone. I know, everyone knows about this- it’s not new. I’m technology inept, so trust me- this was a HUGE deal. Since discovering the wide world of podcasts, my commute to work and back every day has expanded to a time that I really enjoy. I listen to my weird and quirky side with science fiction podcasts, like Lore, Limetown, and The Bright Sessions. I learn things I’d never even think to ask with podcasts like Stuff You Missed in History Class, TED Radio Hour, and This American Life. Hell, I even listen to a podcast specifically made for Gilmore Girls fans (yes, this is a thing. Gilmore Guys. You’re welcome).
There are so many wonderful shows that I can tap into whenever I want. And while not the same quality as a Pulitzer Prize winning novel or some book on ancient Athens currency, it’s sometimes semi educational and almost always interesting in a way that the Kardashians will never be.
Walking/Stairs on Break
This one was definitely not my original idea. You know the friend that wakes up at 4am to work out? Yea, it was hers. She’s been doing it for a long while, and one day as I sat all fat and lazy I asked if I could join her. Thankfully, she said yes and this has absolutely been one of the steps that led me to finally losing baby weight and getting back to a healthy lifestyle. It wasn’t a full workout, just a mere 15 minutes. I figured I can do anything for 15 minutes. I can especially do anything that doesn’t require a change of clothes or driving somewhere.
This mindset has since extended into my night when I started to work on my core strength by slowly working up the time I could plank. When I began, I literally dedicated less than a minute to it. Now it’s up to two and a half minutes, but dude- it’s two and a half freaking minutes. And I don’t even do it every night. For something that takes so little time though, it has had a surprising affect. I feel stronger and my arms have toned a bit, to the point where a friend even noticed after not seeing me for a few weeks. Can’t get better than that.
Dancing in the Living Room
Glenn actually started this one. Sorry, this isn’t a “How I fixed my life in 10 steps” but more like, “How I stumbled upon doing these things and oh, that’s cool- I’ll keep doing it.” So dancing. You know what’s better than dancing alone like a fool to loud, heart pumping music? Doing it with a super handsome guy and an adorable toddler who laughs and interpretive dances with you.
Ditching My Husband with the Toddler to Take a Long Shower
Poor Glenn knows this well. When I feel like I need some alone time, he’s kind enough to distract the little dude long enough for me to bolt to our bathroom, shut the door, and ignore the screams of my darling son calling for me on the other side. Pretty smelling scrubs and lotions help the sound barrier. Joking aside, bless this man because I know I take extra-long showers when it’s been one of those days.
Once upon a time, when Jackson was still a glimmer in our eyes and I had my spa style bathtub, I would spend an hour or two lounging in the hot water, candles and all. With an upgrade in children, an upgrade in home, and no more tub- this looks a bit different. But I’m the indulgent type, and while the candles and reading while submerged are no more, I certainly turn up the music and use all the smell goods I can get my hands on.
Since starting this space to just write and have a place solely reserved for the little things that make me happy, I really feel like I’ve been rediscovering (and just discovering) what interests me. Not all of it is important, most of it is just fleeting moments, but it gives me a space to just be. Like the zen you find at the top of a mountain while watching the sun set, just a hell of a lot more superficial. That’s cool though, I already have a lot of incredibly deep and intense other aspects of my life. Like podcasts and body scrub, my quiet time typing and looking at pretty things can just be what it is. And if, along the way, I find a little peace in my day, then I’ve accomplished my goal.
I’m still a far cry away from having the typical set of hobbies that I once used to encompass, but I’m getting there.
PS: In the time it took me to type this up, I helped Glenn fold a load of laundry and put Jackson back to bed after he woke up. Even my breaks require breaks.
PSS: Now it’s 11:30. Maybe I’ll sleep more tomorrow night.