Category Archives: Work-life balance

Finally… the Bliss of a Sunday Don’t-Cram-in-the-Fun Day

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Photo by Linda Tanner, Flickr Creative Commons

Photo by Linda Tanner, Flickr Creative Commons

Today was one of those days when the whole world seemed to slow down. As I watched my children play I was acutely aware of how quickly they are changing, growing up so very fast.

For the past 13 years my husband and I worked full time, which for me also included every other weekend and holiday. It seemed like a reasonable schedule until my first daughter was born. My reasonable schedule then became hectic. When my second daughter was born 19 months later I found that my hectic schedule then became frantic. When I actually had a weekend off did we relax? Absolutely not. Weekends were precious and few so we crammed in a month’s worth of fun into every one. By 9AM we were usually on the hiking trails, biking trails, beach, playground, or Costco! We had done laundry, made beds and picked up toys before sprinting out the door with me screaming “get in the car” so we could have “fun”.

Thankfully, a year ago I finally hit the wall and apparently that wall knocked some sense into me.  I was overworked, overextended, and exhausted. I was missing Christmas mornings and leaving my sick children at home so that I could take care of someone else’s sicker child. I was passionate about my work, but it was time to find a replacement; preferably a doctor who didn’t have a 3 and 4 year old at home and a full-time working spouse. My children needed their mommy and I needed them. We decided to downsize our lives and cut back my work hours. It took almost a year to find my replacement at the hospital but I am finally home. Almost every day I take my kids to school, I get to pick them up 3 or 4 days a week, I am here at dinnertime, I am here to tuck them in at night, and I am finally home most weekends.

Despite all of these positive changes I have found my frenetic pace hard to break. Last week we finally slowed down. My kindergartener and preschooler were off for spring break and we headed south to visit a dear friend. My friend’s kids are a few years older than mine and it was eye opening to see how much changes in those few years. They don’t need you. I mean they need you, but not in that every second of the day baby/toddler/preschooler kind of way. Our girls immediately took off with her big girls and we only saw them for brief moments throughout the day. They painted their fingernails, learned to make lip gloss from YouTube videos, watched movies, and whined-cried-fought all of zero seconds! We relaxed, they relaxed, and we all slowed down.

We returned home a few days ago and today I feel like I just experienced my first real Sunday since we had kids. We did YOGA. Seriously people my husband and I, with the intermittent company of our daughters, actually did yoga in our living room. It took about 1 minute of yoga for me to pull a muscle but still… we did yoga! We then hung out until the late hour of 10:30AM and had a relaxing brunch with the aunties and grandmas, took a brief walk, and then came home to do almost nothing. I actually dug out the rubberband bracelet kit that Santa had brought my eldest and we made bracelets. I realize it is nowhere near Christmas anymore but we just hadn’t made the time. Later they played in the dirt while my husband and I read the paper on the front porch, we listened to music, cooked dinner together, and only “accomplished” 1 load of laundry. For a checklist kind of girl I have to say it was a little unnerving, but fabulous.

Don’t get me wrong there were still the occasional grumpy mommy moments, but overall it was a slow pace, snuggly kind of day. It was filled with laughter, smiles, a ridiculous number of kisses and hugs, and more “I love you Mommy”’s than we typically get on our hyperactive Sundays supposedly-fun-days. I can’t promise that this will be our new normal, but as I spend more time as mommy and less time as Doctor Raja I hope we discover the beauty in slowing down. My kindergartner chose Someday by Alison McGhee as her bedtime story tonight. She knows that I can’t get through it without my voice cracking and the tears flowing. I think she knew how special today was too.