Everyone told me that having a baby would change my priorities. That turned out to be somewhat true. Yes, my son is of primary concern, but he has shuffled rather than replaced other interests. Now that my time is tighter than ever—I have always multi-tasked and had too much to do—I have begun noticing which activities remain important in my life, and which ones have been discarded with the excuse that I am “too busy.” You will not be surprised to learn that fitness remains near the top of my list. Yet I was surprised by some of my choices. Below is an accurate list of things that are important to me, and things that no longer make the grade. This confession is based on my actions rather than on any idealized vision of myself. After all, I think that hopes and dreams count for shit. You are what you do and have done, not what you say you are or what you plan to do in the future.
I did not expect writing to be so crucial to my well being. While on maternity leave—I am already officially back at work full-time—I gave myself permission to “slack off” and relax, perhaps even to take naps while the baby was asleep. Yet I found that rest was among the least compelling physical needs that I had. Don’t get me wrong. I was sleep deprived. Now that Sebastian is sleeping through the night on a regular basis [he is 14 weeks old], I am getting more rest and feeling slightly more sane. All the same, I would rather live my life than sleep it away, and for me living features writing. I consistently choose it over almost everything else that I could be doing, especially shopping. See below.
I am ashamed to admit that having a clean house is a necessity for me. I am tempted to lie about this, but the truth is staring me in the face. Tidying my condo, cleaning the main bathroom, and doing laundry are daily occurrences that I actually enjoy. To repeat: actions speak louder than words. I am a clean freak. Confusingly, I feel a combination of shame and superiority about this.
I can sympathize fully with those parents of young children who find it hard to take care of themselves and pursue a fitness regime. Something has to be given up in order to schedule time to work out. As noted above, I have decided to forgo sleeping. In addition to training with DYT twice a week [hooray!] I also go to the gym while my nanny is taking care of Sebastian, although she only does so for 20 hours per week. I manage to work out seriously five days a week and occasionally head out for a jog. When it isn’t snowing.
Perhaps you are shocked to find that he appears to rank #4 on my list, but let me assure you that my extended list is very long so #4 is actually pretty good [and not exactly accurate since I am noting my priorities in random order]. Some background: my LSP and I have been together for almost 27 years, and we still love and like each other. I think the latter is more important in the long run. We are both independent people with diverse interests. Our relationship is therefore the opposite of a co-dependent one; we do not need to spend all of our time together, or text and call each other throughout the day. I am both too busy and too emotionally stable for such nonsense. Previously, our relationship was based on having fun and travelling. While this remains the case, we now have another common goal, namely our son. Yesterday we spent quality family time singing childhood songs to Sebastian. I have a newfound respect for my partner because he is such a great dad. My LSP and I now spend less time eating out and drinking scotch, but that is not a great loss. Drinking has plunged to the bottom of my list of priorities, just above sleeping. I never long for the bar scene, for while I used to love dancing the night away in a bit of a drunken stupor, clubs are for the most part predictable, sad, and haunted by the ghosts of regret.
While on maternity leave I regularly gave up sleeping, drinking, dancing, and shopping to spend time with friends. Of course I dropped everything to work out with PDDs this past Friday. Little did she know that I had begrudgingly planned a trip to the mall before receiving her text. I desperately need new clothes because during my pregnancy the “nesting impulse” hit me hard, leading me to clean out my closet to an extreme degree. I now have only a few pairs of underwear and one pair of jeans. Buying more items of clothing goes on my “to do list” every week, but it always gets pushed aside for something more enticing, like spending time with friends or writing.
Cooking and Baking
I thought that these activities would drop off the face of the map once the baby arrived, but that has not been the case. I enjoy baking and cooking so much that they have remained among my top priorities. I made a roast chicken last night, and cook on a daily basis, though with breaks in between for breastfeeding. I have to say that breastfeeding is terrible for health and fitness because it requires me to sit still for many hours. I don’t think that this sedentary lifestyle is counteracted by the 500 calories that it supposedly burns up each day.
Things I Do Not Give A Shit About
I don’t want to spend a lot of time categorizing or discussing these things, since they do in fact bore the living crap out of me: sleeping, getting drunk, and shopping. The last item is at the bottom of my barrel. I suspect that I am at odds with many on this matter, at least if the people on ‘Til Debt Do Us Part represent the norm. Much to my shock, I also care less about design elements than I thought I did. Just look at the attached image to see what has happened to my dining room. And last but not least, I now spend little time on my appearance. I happily head out for a walk with Sebastian, to the gym, or to the grocery store while looking like absolute garbage. Nothing could interest me less, as is evident in the “baby selfie” below. My lame effort to slap on some rouge before taking this photo backfired rather badly. Still don’t care.