Last year the stress of the previous 5 years caught up with me.
I kind of fell apart.
Not that you’d have known it to look at me. I still looked like a professional.
But inside, I was always anxious. Always discombobulated.
Husband saw the shift in me too.
When he asked what I needed, I said the first thing that came to mind. The thing that every mama – maybe every human – needs: time. I needed more time. Time to get my head together. Time to check off some goals. Time to regain control and create a new vision that made sense for this season of my life.
So we decided that I would pump the brakes for the next school year and just teach in the mornings.
The excitement I felt about this plan was palpable!
Imagine all the things I would be able to do with three hours a day to myself:
Re-commit to working out regularly!
Finish revisions on my novel and get it published in time for Christmas!
Create a strong and engaging program for my students, one that accounted for all the learning levels and gaps!
Become zen and bendy with a daily yoga practice! (Truthfully, I think it was the ‘get bendy’ idea that sold Husband on the leave.)
I would finally be able to catch my breath and figure out how to simultaneously be a good teacher and a good mom.
Time, time, all that glorious time for self-care and personal growth and meditation and reflection! It would be life-changing.
And now here we are, at the beginning of December. I’m 30% of the way through my half-time leave.
Shall we do a progress check?
I can count the number of workouts I’ve done on one hand.
My book will not be ready for Christmas.
And I am no bendier now than I was three months ago, despite Husband’s not-so-subtle prodding to get into the studio and
learn how to contort myself stretch.
So what have I been doing with my afternoons for the past three months? (Which, by my rough calculations, add up to nearly 180 hours of non-teaching, non-mothering time.)
I did a lot of laundry.
I purchased many, many things I didn’t need.
I returned many, many of the things I bought.
I binge-watched Dead To Me and Workin’ Moms.
I culled and organized every space in my house. Multiple times.
A few afternoons were spent caring for sick kids, or preparing for visitors. But overall, those hours amount to a whole lot of forgettable busy work.
I’ve barely made a dent in my goals for this year.
I read somewhere that people who say they don’t have time to work on their goals need to change the wording to ‘It’s just not a priority’ and see how that feels.
Here’s the thing: This year, I do have time. And I know I have time.
So if time isn’t my roadblock, what’s holding me back? Why am I wasting my afternoons?
After a lot of thought, here’s what I came up with:
It’s easier to do laundry than it is to revise a novel.
It’s easier to binge-watch the amazing Christina Applegate than it is to sweat my face off doing HIIT workouts in the gym.
It’s easier to complain about not having enough time than it is to actually use the time I have to make progress.
I’m more comfortable being full-throttle-busy with needless tasks than I am facing my
demons goals. Or maybe it’s facing my fear of not achieving my goals that I’m actively avoiding by frequenting HomeSense and purging every drawer and closet in my house.
It’s easier to distract myself with busy work than it is to do the real work. The work that matters. The work that will result in a calmer mind, more presence, better health, better teaching.
It’s easier to talk about doing, than actually doing.
Fast forward to September 2023, when I’ll be returning to work full-time.
How do I want to feel when I look back on this year of gifted time? Because if I continue in the manner I started, I predict I’ll be feeling a whole lot of regret.
Taking a leave is great, but if you don’t create an intentional structure for how you will use your time, and if you aren’t disciplined enough to honour that structure – if you don’t show up for yourself – then it’s a colossal waste.
I made the mistake of thinking I could change my life without a plan.
So now, my plan is to create a plan. One with a clear focus, targets, and deadlines. One that I will show up for every damn day for the next seven months.
This half-time leave is probably a once-in-a-career opportunity for me. – Oh…OK…yep…Husband confirms this is indeed the case.
I don’t want to waste it.
I want to be a
ridiculously fit, calm, and present mom and teacher.
I want to be a published author.
And dammit! I want to be bendy.
Let’s do this.