Small Talk

The perfect prescription

January 23rd, 2013

The doctor was right. Having the house to myself for nearly a week while my husband and child went on vacation was really the perfect prescription for fatigue. I had gone in worried about myself because it seemed like an unusually long stretch of time that I'd been tired. The doctor said I probably just work too much.

By coincidence, Claus wanted to go skiing in December and was intent on going even if I didn't want to. It was fine with me. I didn't want to devote an extra ounce of energy to even packing a suitcase and flying on a plane, even if it meant having - in theory- fun once there. We used to have a fair amount of help but situations change, and now we go it alone with the exception of a babysitter for a couple of jujitsu nights every week.

So they were set to leave, and I was both sad and looking forward to some Me Time. I wasn't filling up my dance card for every available time slot. My goal was just to have some quiet time, and hold down the fort.

Olivia in ski school

Olivia in ski school

To my utter surprise, all my energy came back to me right away, the very next day, which was Saturday. It was like the pre-mommy me.

I did what I wanted all weekend, didn't worry about cooking people's meals, didn't worry about someone getting kidnapped/hurt/hit by a car, wasn't required to think a step or two ahead, took a nap, went out with friends if I wanted, went out with my dog if I wanted, stayed out way later than I normally would, and in general, just really relished the freedom.

Keeping me company

Keeping me company

It was like crack for my calendar. A massage for my brain. Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy!

I took a trip with Olivia and we left Claus behind, in 2010. He said he remembers having more energy, but not as extreme a reaction as I've had. I think women are usually the primary caregivers to the very young children, but even if it were an equal split, I still think women's brains function differently than men's. Our multi-core processors are constantly engaged, whereas I think men are simpler, more linear thinkers.

I don't know. I could be wrong. Maybe it's because Claus is in better physical shape than me and therefore can withstand the demands of parenting better than I.

I'm shocked at how much parenting takes out of me. I guessed at it, but I didn't know until now!

The work week flew by, maintaining the theme of severely enjoying doing things on my own time. I didn't have to drop someone off at school or daycare. I didn't have to try to leave work by 5 so I could adhere to the family routine, schedule, and obligations. I carried on like the person I was before I was married.

I did not expect this much fun. I think I had more fun than Claus, frankly. He was tired.

Don't get me wrong. I missed them. It wasn't one emotion or the other; it was both. I missed them but I liked visiting with - as my friend Paul puts it - Fun Diane. It's been a long, long time. Five, six years?

Here's the thing. I think there's good and bad in every situation, and the key is to have balance. I wouldn't want to be single again. I wouldn't want to not have Olivia in my life, either.

I like my life. I also liked the week off because I knew it was a short-term deal, and that I'd soon resume my regularly scheduled programming - even if it wears me out. I enjoy raising my child, and I accept that the price of admission is lots of time and energy. I try to be in this moment as fully as I can because nothing lasts forever.

Although... I wouldn't object to another Daddy/Daughter trip in a year from now. Fun Diane wants to come out to play more than once every five years.

Have you experienced this?

4 Responses to “The perfect prescription”

  1. Ken Conklin:

    Thank you Diane for sharing these very important thoughts and feelings. You are a "woman who has it all" -- marriage, child, homemaker, friends, exciting and demanding career, community involvement, lots of hobbies, etc. As a woman who has it all, you are a role model whose life fulfills the dreams of the women's liberation movement. I'm sure there are many women and girls who take inspiration from you. And the inspiration you provide is not limited to females; because men (at least some of us) recognize that we also have a need for balance in our lives; and we also share responsibilities and pleasures at home as well as at work. Men are liberated partly through the liberation of the women in their lives.

    My life is very different from yours. I live alone, with no family and no "significant other." I'm also retired. So I have neither people nor job making demands upon me. But I'm not lonely, because I have a deep spiritual connectedness to both a transcendent Spirit and to its immanent manifestations in people, animals, and throughout the environment. And I'm not bored, because I'm actively engaged in meditating, research and writing about issues in philosophy, morality, and politics.

    Some say a wealthy person is one who has more than he needs. Many people today seek wealth by aggressively pursuing more and more stuff to satisfy their ever-growing needs. But my way of seeking wealth has always been to reduce my needs and live frugally so I can also reduce the pursuit of stuff while still having lots more than I need.

    Every person is unique and valuable, worth knowing and learning from. One of the reasons I came to live permanently in Hawaii 21 years ago is to enjoy and be inspired by our enormously diverse rainbow of races and cultures. I appreciate your sharing of your activities, thoughts, and feelings. Mahalo nui loa.

  2. Diane Ako:

    Ken Conklin, Thank you for that very thoughtful and kind comment. I take inspiration in your philosophy of wealth and spirituality. Very nice attitude, and one that I agree with.

    I think of this blog as an online community of friends who swap stories. These are the same conversations I share at the water cooler with my cubicle mates at work. If I happen to inspire someone along the way, I'm pleased and flattered.

    I"m not sure my life is superbly inspiring, because I think I'm just like thousands of other middle class, working parents who run the hamster wheel daily just trying to balance all the aspects of life. It's fulfilling but it is also draining. I am the first to say I do not do it all perfectly. I just keep trying. And I'm super lucky to have a partner - Claus - who helps me along the way.

  3. Rosette:

    Yes I enjoy my time when no one is home and my boys are older now.....YES I KICK THEM TO GO ON "HOLIDAY" WITHOUT soon as my boys turned 5 I toss them to daddy while I relax and no nonesense! YES DADDY entertains my boys I RELAX....have daddy to watch them on his days off! HEY I AM NAPPING GET LOST ALL OF YOU! funny!

  4. Rosette:

    yes that is why I choose not to work after my boys got older age five..HEY I TELL MY HUSBAND I AM RETIRED so you go to work sweetie...funny!Then when my husband comes home I TELL MY HUSBAND hey you go get lost with the boys so I can relax some more okay!

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