Getting exercise into my schedule is (as I've mentioned before) not as easy as it used to be. Sure, I could still go to the Y, but I leave Elle for 11-12 hours a day, five days a week, and I'm really not in the mood to add several hours a week on top of that. So I've gotten more creative. I use my much-loathed exercise bike, I've started the 200 situps challenge, and there's a yoga class once a week near my office. (I don't get to the class every week, not by a long shot, but an occasional yoga class is better than no yoga at all.)
The problem is-- and there's always a problem, isn't there?-- that the only time I reliably have to myself is after Elle goes to bed. Most of the time she's a good, sound sleeper, so when she falls asleep by 8 p.m.-ish, I have the evening.
Which sounds luxurious, doesn't it? No other kids to wrangle, no spouse to talk to. Just me.
Except it's me and all the dinner dishes, and then getting food ready for the next day. It's me and the bills. It's me and checking my e-mail. It's me and work I brought home. It's me and exercise.
Given that I should really be IN bed and on the way to sleep by 10 p.m. at the very latest, which therefore includes pre-bedtime ablutions, that's really not much time.
And it doesn't exactly work in any down time.
I was feeling really whiny about this the other day-- I need "me time," and always have. Being a parent, though, means that "me time" is last on a long list of things that matter. My time away from work, right now, is important as it relates to parenting Elle-- not as it relates to me having time to laze about on the sofa eating Cheetos and watching Law and Order reruns.
But sometimes, couch time is really appealing, and much-missed. Gym time, too. (I really loved the gym.)
I've been turning this over in my head the past few days, and what it's really come down to is that yeah, right now I have little or no time to myself. But given how quickly Elle's first year of life has gone (and it has gone so quickly that I can hardly believe it), the next 17 or whatever years will probably go by just as fast, if not more quickly. (And once she's older, even when she's still living at home, my time will of course be more flexible.)
In other words, the fact that right now I can't be as lazy as I'd like to be is just not a big deal. It's the blink of an eye, and she'll be out of the house before I know it, and I'll desperately miss the days where I was necessary. I'm pretty confident bad TV will still be around in 20 years, after all.
I think the same thing, really, about the various difficult developmental phases we've gone through-- yeah, it's awful for a day or a week or even, in some cases, a month. But then it ends and they're on to the next thing.
(NOT looking forward to the seemingly endless resentful teenager phase, but I'll cross that bridge when I have to.)
So yeah. By the time I finish up my nightly tasks and exercise it's well after 9. If I only get twenty minutes or so to myself, whatever. It's more than nothing, right? And my little girl is upstairs sleeping, and I can see her little dark head on the video monitor any time I want to. She is safe and sound, and her food for the next day is waiting for her, and her mom is in the basement hoping that an annoying exercise bike will keep her healthy enough to be around for many years to come.My whiny need for down time is a first world problem, indeed. And I wouldn't trade Elle for all the bad cable TV in the world.
Now, if you'll excuse me, the exercise bike is calling.