Tuesday, August 13, 2013

8:43 PM
My Priority
I decided today that I want to start working out less.

It's not that I don't love being active and have lost any desire to be an accomplished athlete. Its just that, for a short time at least, I want to change how, and how much, I work out. Other elements of my life are pulling at me, demanding my attention, and I want to be able to respond to them. Because time in a day is a zero-sum game, something has to give. I am lucky that I have choices as to how to spend and prioritize my time. This summer has been full of adventures, and races, and streaks, and play. I am satiated for the moment and want to spend more time in togetherness and stillness.

My daughter just turned five and starts kindergarten in a couple of weeks. She has been more emotional of late than normal, and I feel as if she is struggling a bit in the midst of a big life transition. I too am struggling with the thought of my little one going off to a big school, facing social issues and pressures from which she has been sheltered from to date. She needs me right now and I need her. The gift of time spent is what I think we both need and what I can best provide.

My son turns two this week. He is becoming a boy before my eyes, riding a skooter for miles a day, trying to ride a bike on his own, and forming new words and ideas by the minute. He is my last baby and this time is precious. The softness of his body will soon harden into the firm musculature I feel in my daughter. His milky breath and slobbery kisses will be things of the past. I need him now, all the soft wonderfulness of his little body and liquid eyes. If I am not fully present for this time, I will regret it.

My husband is a strong, quiet man, who asks little of me other than to be who I am. We have been a good team through the years, and carried each other through the hard days and nights of raising children. Now, as we enter into the more sleeping, less crying part of raising our kids, I want us to be able to carve out more time for us. Having a strong relationship with my husband is the best thing I can do for my children and myself. It is also something that takes focus and time and energy, and I need to have some of that in reserve for him, and for us.

In addition to the above, a recent back injury and the couple of books I read during vacation have prompted me to want to spend more time in friendship, reflection, stillness, self-care and reading. All of these elements are critical to a happy and meaningful life, and are unfortunately things that get forgotten in the pursuit of...whatever...

As for my working out. I am not going to stop, but I am going to change. It will likely mean replacing my somewhat leisurely 8-mile runs with 3 to 4 miles done at race pace. It will mean shorter duration and higher intensity. It will mean focusing on particular efforts, as opposed to casually doing a bit of everything. It will mean doing an average of one hour per day instead of closer to two. Everything I have been reading suggests that this might be a better way to work out anyways, so I am curious to see the results. Perhaps I will be able to prove to myself whether I truly would have so much more time for other things if I exercised less.

In the immediate, this adage does seem to be true. As an example, because I worked out less for the last two days, I was able to get my hair cut and a pedicure - two self-care errands that I had been putting off for weeks in lieu of fitting in a run. I also had the energy and wherewithal to spontaneously plan a mid-week, picnic dinner party that will simultaneously allow me to celebrate my son's birthday and spend some quality time with friends that normally would not happen unless it was a weekend, or not at all.

I wrote recently about some of the key things I had learned on this MommyTasker adventure. One of them was:

Take Time to Assess and Recalibrate. At whatever interval is appropriate for you, take the time to take stock of the big picture of your life and re-prioritize your activities/time-allocation, if needed. Some periods are more demanding that others, both on the work side and the life side. Knowing this, it is okay to be flexible with your time-allocation on a week to week, month to month, or year to year basis and temporarily increase the focus on certain elements (e.g., to deal with work deadlines, training for a big race, or major life events), as long as that is done mindfully, and you give yourself the opportunity to recalibrate as needed.

That is what I am doing now - recalibrating. It feels deliberate and it feels good.

Please contact me at mommytasker@gmail.com, MommyTasker.com, or connect with me on Facebook.


  1. Recalibration is crucial in being a mom. The kids are changing all the time and we have to as well. Not to mention the time you will have for your other passions (husband, friends, and fun). I bet you are aren't going to change physically that much (you look great already), but will feel much more "balanced" (if that is even truly achievable).

  2. I love this and entirely, absolutely relate to it. Thank you.