I’ve been thinking a lot about how I manage my energy on a daily basis. Personally, it’s important I have enough fuel in the tank (because we all know it’s not unlimited), so to speak, as my day usually starts at 5 am and ends around 10 pm.
Like so many mamas, I give a bit of my energy to everyone and everything – Kaiden, Vishnu, my extended family, friends, coworkers, work, cooking (and everything that comes with it!), cleaning, laundry, exercise, etc. I’d say about 85% of my energy is spent on these people/things/tasks.
The remaining 15% is reserved for me – blogging/Instagramming, downtime, TV time, journaling, reading, etc.
This isn’t an exact science because I have plenty of days where I feel like I have 0 time for me, but generally speaking, this is what my breakdown looks like.
My breakdown also looks different on the weekdays vs. the weekends, days when Vishnu’s around vs. days when he’s working, etc.
The one thing I realized when thinking about all of this is that I have less control over how I spend my weekday energy, as there are some big things that demand my attention (i.e. work!). And honestly, while I’m bone tired by the end of the day, I thrive with a bit of routine, so I’m happy with how our weekdays run.
The weekends, on the other hand, take a bit more work. There’s so much I want to do, but everything is kind of up in the air depending on Kaiden’s nap schedule (one nap or two, 60 minutes or 90?), Vishnu’s work schedule, our must do commitments, the weather (this impacts everything!), etc.
Over time, I’ve realized I’d like my energy to be more balanced during the weekends. Obviously, Kaiden and Vishnu take up a lot of it (as they should), but I’d like to leave more time for free play and exploration for Kaiden, and I’d love to have some leftover energy for me to do more writing. Things like taking K to the park and the museum are super important to me.
With all of this being said, we recently said ‘not right now’ to K’s swim classes. They were taking way too much of my energy, and to be completely honest, I felt a sense of ‘not this again’ every Friday night and Saturday morning.
For those who haven’t taken a toddler to swim class before, let me tell you – it’s a lot of work. Before, during, and after. And this year, a lot of the work would have fallen on me because of Vishnu’s work/interview/boards studying schedule. While I love taking K on play dates and the museum, swim class left me exhausted and a bit frazzled. By noon every Saturday, I’d find that most of my energy was spent.
When my parents were here in September, my mom came with me to swim. Afterwards, she gently mentioned how we may want to consider pushing this particular activity back a bit. For my sanity! When she said that, I felt this immediate sense of relief because deep down I just needed someone to tell me that saying ‘not right now’ is ok. Thank you, mom!
Initially, we wanted to enroll K in swim because it’s an important life skill to have, something we can do with him, and a fun weekend activity. Well, it turns out that a 15 month can’t just learn how to swim, and this is something that can be deferred to age 3. Also, taking away swim leaves time for lot of different activities versus just one.
Another key point here (for me at least) is that with the winters we get in Chicago, taking K to swim every weekend would be a whole lot harder. Just thinking about lugging our winter gear around was stressing me out!
Vishnu was a little hesitant to quit, but when I explained everything to him, he definitely understood. In fact, his exact response was, “Maybe we can sign him up for soccer instead!” Oy vey!
It’s been a little over a month since our last swim class, and I can’t tell you how much more balanced I feel on the weekends now. This just goes to show that sometimes saying ‘not right now’ is the best answer for everyone because happy mama = happy family.
This is all to say that if the way you’re spending your energy is making you unhappy, change it! Say ‘not right now’ to a couple of things, and reinvest that energy into activities that are fun for you and your baby! As modern mamas, we want to do it all (at least I do!), but that’s not realistic and honestly not important. While swim classes sounded like a good idea at first, we quickly realized it just wasn’t the right time. And that’s ok. Your baby’s not going to remember this time anyways, but you will. And I’m 110% sure the future you will want to see a mama who’s energized and happy!