I spoke about my eating habits in Part I, and have since made a conscious effort to improve what I eat. It's only been a week, but so far so good. I'll give you an update on that soon. I was going to do Part II as exercise, but I've actually made another change to my life in the meantime. It's all about my approach to work/life balance - which, to me, falls into the category of 'Healthy Living' as it improves my wellbeing. Anyway. Here's what I've done...
My life of late has felt like it's spiralling out of control. I wasn't being the mum I wanted to be, and nor was I achieving the work I aimed to do. I've been exhausted. I spent all day and all evening, every day of the week, almost glued to my computer, but not getting a whole lot done because I was stopping and starting and distracted. It took me ten times as long to do anything.
At first I thought it was just because I have a toddler. Makes sense, right? I persisted.
But then something changed. Abbey started acting clingy towards me. For the first time ever she was constantly demanding my attention. I wondered where my independent little girl had gone. I blamed it on being some two-year-old thing, and still I persisted with life as it was.
Then I put two and two together. I'm still slightly blinded by the huge flash of that light bulb moment.
I thought back and realised my most frequently used words to Abbey were 'Just a minute', 'Wait' and 'I just have to do this'. A two-year-old does not understand such phrases. She was becoming impatient with me, and I with her. I remembered that, lately, when I turned to my computer, she had started to cry and pull my hands away. I knew that when she asked me a question, she had begun to immediately follow that with the word 'Wait'.
This is difficult for me to say. I feel like a terrible mother.
I don't want to make it sound worse than it was, however. She was still fed, we played the odd game here and there... I wasn't completely ignoring her. But my principles about the amount of television she watches were slipping, and I was doing whatever was easiest in order to give myself more time to get things done.
When I was being a mum, I was half doing that and half focusing on other things. When I was doing other things, I was half focused on being a mum.
I was seriously exhausted. This, right here, is what I believe to be the root of all the problems I spoke of in my first Healthy Living post. The reason for my diet slipping, my exercise taking last priority and my terrible new outlook. Everything was based around the things I had to get done.
Something had to change.
I made a decision. My laptop was to remain firmly closed, until such time as the one - yes, back to one - show each day I let Abbey watch. Show over equals laptop shut. Until such time as Steve comes home and looks after her, or I arrange for someone else to help me out. At worst, my computer is shut until such time as Abbey is asleep.
I made a decision to do things properly. When I'm being a mum, I'm there for Abbey and I'm giving her everything I can. Having said that, I don't intend to completely annoy her by following her around and doing every single little thing with her. No, I still value her independence. I do other things that being a mum involves - cooking, cleaning, reading a book (research does say that kids need to see their parents read, and who am I to argue with that?), going for walks, running around, taking her to visit other people. But it comes down to this: my daughter is not something to be juggled in a balancing act.
And when I'm working or writing or whatever, I'll do that properly. I'll give that the attention it deserves. Because I'm not into bad quality.
I have some dreams I want to pursue, but it shouldn't be at the expense of my family.
It's a new outlook for me, but I feel better for it already. I think it's the right thing to do. Having gone from a stay-at-home-mum to a work-outside-home-mum to a work-at-home-mum, I'm still finding my feet here. I am far from finding the perfect balance, or the best version of my life, but I feel one step closer.
I think it's a healthier approach.
Do you have any rules you try to stick to in order to achieve balance in your life?