This week's balance challenge.

Last night I took my first HTML class. I want to write more about that, but today's topic is what happened after the class.

Background: I worked late a bunch of nights last week and Chris has been working late a bunch of nights this week. I'm also taking on new responsibilities at work. When I got off the subway last night near our apartment, I checked my work email and immediately regretted it because I knew I'd spend the rest of the night distracted by the messages and mile-long to-do list that grew since I'd last checked in.

Do you guys do that? Check your work email at night or on the weekend? I used to have a strict NO policy on that, but then I let it slide. There's something awesome about being able to move decisions along while you're standing on line at the movie theater or impressing new candidates by getting back to them so quickly. But for me those pros have one major con, which is that I become distracted from my environment and the rest of my night, particularly when the emails are about large, thoughtful decisions I need to make the next day at work.

In any event, I walked in the door and wanted to be super-excited about my little HTML page I'd made, but I was distracted. And then Chris went to mess around on his computer for a while, so I sat and ate microwave popcorn on the couch, worried about how I'd get up to run in the morning and thinking about work. The knot of stress worked itself bigger as I brushed my teeth and got in bed to read my Cornelius Vanderbilt book. Then I tried to read a magazine. Then I tried to do a crossword. And I still felt like a stress-ball.

So (as is inevitable) I finally padded out to the living room and got my husband up to speed. By that, I mean that I told him the long (long, long) list of things I'd committed myself to and things I was stressed about. There were tears. There was the concern that I was disappointing everyone on planet Earth. (I get a little dramatic.)

And then we made the list- I wrote every single thing that I'm responsible for or concerned about on a piece of paper. I was only allowed to choose three to prioritize; the rest would have to wait for a few weeks. I would take a photo of this list, but it's embarrassingly long and detailed.

Example? I'm having a baby shower for a friend in October and I wanted to rip out of all of the summer garden vegetables and replant flowers so that they would bloom in time for the shower. I think we can all guess that THAT got axed.

In the end, I circled three:
1. Husband time
2. Eating healthy
3. Work

"Look!" Chris said. "Health, wealth and relationships. That's the three fundamental things that people prioritize."

And he was right. There's something about coming out normal that's damn refreshing.

The fall-out of crossing off a million other things is that the baby shower will be decorated with fresh-cut flowers. I'm going to run when I can, but not commit to anything just yet. The cats can wait a month to go to the vet and organizing our finances can chill for a bit while I get used to my new responsibilities at work.

Also? We're going to look into getting a cleaning person.

That sentence makes me embarrassed. Why do we need someone ELSE to clean up the cat hair and litter that abounds?! And yet here's what it comes down to: if we can afford it, I would much rather spend the few nights a week that we're home doing something together vs. cleaning the apartment. To prioritize quality time and allow someone else to worry about the mess, this is both luxurious and common sense. My practical, German roots rebel against the idea, but it's time to make good decisions for our little family, not hold stubbornly to past traditions.

Crisis averted! Until the next time, when Chris might just get one step closer to sending the laundry out to be done. Ahhh, the ways we change.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I totally support the cleaning person! We originally couldn't find one (I was being too honest about the amount of fur at our house), but I have a person coming tomorrow morning to give us an estimate. Wahoo!