Moving closer to the Mountain Man’s office has been wonderful. He commutes by bike in 10 minutes, we’re in pleasant walking distance to the grocery store, restaurants, shopping… and there are sidewalks to walk on! We’re near friends and my activities.
I have been noticing that I seem to have so much less time in the day. I can barely get an errand done or a project in the house started between naps, and the next thing I know the Mountain Man is rolling his bike in the front door. My days have become condensed, and my writing time has taken a huge hit.
I realized: by gaining so much family time, I’ve lost a huge part of my day, and it was the time that I used for processing my thoughts, for sharing my experiences, for writing – my catharsis.
Last night I had a slow-cooked dinner ready when the Mountain Man rolled his bike in the door, so I continued to write. I sat in my modern-style folding chair at our tiny antique kitchen table and tapped away at the keys. A slew of characters poured forth on my screen while the Mountain Man and the Pie chased each other around the living room.
I got three pieces started, and felt like I had missed out completely. I had taken time for myself and let the Mountain Man take on childcare responsibilities, had spent an evening doing what I love, and left the table feeling like I had wasted my evening.
By the time I stood up from my computer, the Mountain Man and the Pie were brushing their teeth. I had tried to regain my day and had lost my entire evening.
I climbed into bed, feeling the sting of what I had given up. I didn’t feel ready for sleep, didn’t feel ready for closing the day. The push and pull of my time hasn’t found its balance yet.
I am so happy to have regained so much time in the evening – we take walks, eat a relaxed dinner, have time to sit and talk and snuggle and connect. But by gaining this time I have lost time for myself and for what makes me feel relevant, connected with the outside world, productive, accomplished. Now I feel disorganized, frantic to keep up with my responsibilities, desires, expectations of myself, and disconnected.
I’m still trying to figure out this balancing act of self and family. They don’t have to be at odds with each other, but I haven’t successfully made them happy housemates.
So how can I hold both family time and time for self on my hip when gaining one means losing the other?