For the last three years, my oldest daughter has been a year round swimmer. That meant three to four nights a week of carpooling 25 minutes one way to get her to the pool to do the sport she loves. Her dedication has been admirable to say the very least. Recently, she has decided she needs a break and has decided to step away from swim for the next few months and possibly explore other sports.
She didn’t make this decision lightly. In fact, it was a difficult one for her to make because she identifies herself as a swimmer. She has many friends on the swim team and to have done something so consistently from the ages of 9 to 12, well, it’s not easy to walk away from. I could totally identify with that.
Can I just tell you that I felt absolute and total relief at this decision? Boy, was I glad to have some of “my” time back. I felt like I had just hit the lottery and I was thinking of all the ways I could spend my money; except in this case the currency was my time. I was actually giddy at the prospect of so much “extra” time.
Last night was the first night she would have been at swim. While, I did get a lot accomplished – the reality is I only had about an “extra” hour. In my mind, I should have had enough extra time to create domestic bliss. In reality, I just had enough time to cook dinner before 8pm. I’ve discovered that being busy is more mentally overwhelming than time consuming. When people ask, “how are you?”, my automatic response was always “BUSY!” If you asked me busy doing what, I’d be all…. you know the kids… and the swim…. and the stuff.
Sure, I was/am busy. If you are a living being, you are busy. It’s just the nature of life. We have things to do, places to be. While I feel like I couldn’t possibly squeeze in one more thing, my busy pales in comparison to someone else’s, I’m sure. It’s all relative.
While logistically speaking I only have an extra hour or so, mentally that hour makes a huge difference. I don’t have to think about whose turn it is to drop off or pick up for the car pool. I don’t have to worry that I’ll have to convince her to go to swim because she’s burned out. I don’t have to stress about fitting in a work out before we leave for swim or if I’ll have the energy to do it afterward. I don’t have to stress about when I’ll have time to get dinner on the table.
My thoughts are no longer overwhelmed with the busyness. After only one day, I feel much more relaxed and less strangled by the anxiety of doing it all. As parents, we adapt and somehow fit it all in. Our kids somehow get where they need to be – when they need to be. We figure out how to make it happen, pay for it, and cheer them on even when we are physically and mentally broke. We do it for them and wouldn’t change a thing.
What I’ve learned from my extra hour is that stressing about busy isn’t worth it. I will make it happen one way or another. My kids eat dinner, even if it is at an ungodly hour and was perhaps served through a window. They will be at their activities when they are supposed to. The laundry will (eventually) get done. Everything that has to be done, will get done. I mean, it won’t make the cover of Martha Stewart – Living, but you know, whatever. Stressing over being busy is way harder than actually being busy.
“Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.” Maya Angelou
I’ve taken a deep breath and I’m enjoying my extra hour while it lasts. And when she finds another sport or activity she wants to try (because she totally will) I will get her there, probably close to on time and maybe even in clean clothes.