How this busy par­ent will find bal­ance in 2019

Pay­ing at­ten­tion to health, busy-ness and fam­ily should of­fer a way to ‘nirvana’

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - FRONT PAGE -

New years mean new op­por­tu­ni­ties to know bet­ter, do bet­ter, be bet­ter – and who isn’t in need of bet­ter­ing? (Aside from Ja­son Mo­moa.)

I, for one, have so many things to im­prove, it’s hard to know where to be­gin. Let’s start with the ob­vi­ous, the No. 1 res­o­lu­tion on most folks’ lists: health. In 2017, I worked hard on be­com­ing a more ac­tive and fit per­son. I set a goal to run two 5Ks; I ran three. I ate more sal­ads and fewer carb-y things. I went to the gym.

In 2018, I ap­par­ently de­cided to work hard on be­com­ing a more sloth­ful and flabby per­son. I set a goal to run one 5K; I ran zero. I ate more brown­ies and far fewer green things. I for­got (on 364 oc­ca­sions) to go to the gym.

In 2019, I vow to do bet­ter! The older I get, the more I re­al­ize that healthy eat­ing isn’t a pun­ish­ment (even if avoid­ing most of my fa­vorite foods feels like it is). I ac­tu­ally feel bet­ter when I eat salad for lunch in­stead of a sand­wich. Turns out I don’t like hav­ing to stop to catch my breath and com­fort my knees when climb­ing a flight of stairs. And it’s much eas­ier to com­mand couch-po­tato chil­dren who are de­stroy­ing the house to go out­side and do some­thing ac­tive when I’ve shown them what be­ing ac­tive looks like. For these and so many rea­sons, I will un­earth my sneak­ers from the closet floor and get mov­ing again. And I’ll get this eat­ing thing un­der con­trol once and for all! (Af­ter I fin­ish the left­over sweet po­tato pie.) Next on my list: Busy-ness! Like most of us, my fa­vorite thing to say when some­one says, “How are you?” or “What’s go­ing on?” is “Busy as usual.” A close sec­ond to the busy bro­ken record: “Tired.” Some­times I dou­ble-whammy peo­ple: “Girl, you know – busy and tired!”

It doesn’t take a rocket sci­en­tist to fig­ure out that there might just be a cor­re­la­tion be­tween the two. I guess it doesn’t take a jour­nal­ist-turned-“com­mu­ni­ca­tions spe­cial­ist” to fig­ure it out ei­ther, be­cause I seem, in­ex­pli­ca­bly, to find ways to make my­self busier.

It’s not al­ways mind­less busy-ness. This year, for ex­am­ple, I spent an amaz­ing, jam-packed week vis­it­ing four cities in Morocco with good friends. I wouldn’t trade that ex­haust­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for any­thing, but when – af­ter the fourth night meet­ing/event/con­fer­ence call/ap­point­ment in a row – your first­born says, “Mommy, how come it seems like we never see you?” it’s time to re-eval­u­ate pri­or­i­ties and slow down the ham­ster wheel.

So please keep this in mind when I say no more of­ten than I say yes in 2019. I love y’all. But I love my ba­bies more. And I’m TIRED.

On a re­lated note, third on my list is fam­ily.

A cou­ple years back, I felt like I was drown­ing in the re­lent­less­ness of mod­ern par­ent­ing (nod to the New York Times ar­ti­cle go­ing around the par­ent­ing threads). I re­al­ized that in the rou­tine of work-home-kids-sleep-work-home-kidssleep, I’d lost my­self. And I made a point to get found. I was proud of the way I worked to make my­self a top pri­or­ity, find time for friends, read books, let the chil­dren eat frozen pizza on Fri­days and en­ter­tain them­selves. But like the Gem­ini that I am, I have a ten­dency to swing pen­du­lums too far when mi­nor ad­just­ments would have suf­ficed. So in the last few months of 2018, I took note, and I’ve been work­ing to get back to a com­fort­able mid-point.

It’ll take some work still in 2019 to get where I need to be – the pull of Me Time is strong! As are the pulls of out­side “obli­ga­tions” and salt ’n vine­gar po­tato chips.

But just wait un­til I’ve built some mus­cle at the gym and got­ten health­ier by eat­ing all. the. kale. I’m go­ing to pull that pen­du­lum un­til I get to the nirvana of all work­ing par­ents: Bal­ance.

When I get there, I’ll send you an evite to join me. But feel free to send re­grets. You know I’ll un­der­stand.

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