When I was struggling to get pregnant, I was seeing a therapist. At the time, besides the whole issue of infertility, I was struggling with just starting to have our own home and be a wife. In Aaron's family, every woman has an amazing garden. They can their own pickles. Aaron's aunt still irons her SHEETS. My mom always baked her own bread. Her house was perfectly clean, all the time. As I was struggling that with all the hormonal crap of infertility, I didn't understand how these people did it all! He helped me with a lot with his explanation that life as a pie. The size of the pie - it never changes. What you do with your 'pie' that is what shifts. He asked me - when do you remember your mom baking that bread? Was it when she was first married? With small kids? Just starting out her career? Doubtful. He reminded me to find what was important to me, and to have that be what I worry about spending my time on.
For Aaron and I, before we had kids, we were big into triathlons and working out. When I wasn't swimming or running or biking, I was knitting. And we used to go out a lot on 'dates' - out to dinner, out to movies, and spending time with friends.
Here would be my sample pie from a 'perfect' week. Working a normal day, a 1.5 hour workout (the 'health' part of the pie), sitting and knitting, and spending a small amount of time cooking/cleaning/laundry.
And then there is now. I've changed from working out 1.5 hours a day to hoping I can fit in about 5 hours of swimming a week (and those 5 hours include travel time to the pool). My only 'hobby' is really just reading a book before I fall asleep. I thankfully am at a time in my kids life where I still manage at least 6 hours of sleep a night - but usually 8. The housework is more - because we have a bigger house and more people to clean up after. So I've hired a cleaning service to help with that. And then there is the whole classification of 'kid stuff' - making lunches, giving baths, reading books, going to tee-ball, play dates, building blocks.
Sure. There have been weeks when my pie is totally taken up with unexpected things - caring for a sick kid, or Christ, dealing with grief.... things that need to take over for that time. But in normal life, when I get overloaded - I take a deep breath and visualize my pie. What is eating it all up? What do I need to change to get things back to normal? Manageable? What do I do that makes me feel better?
Just a year ago, I didn't spend ANY time working out. I spent that time sitting on my butt knitting or watching TV. But now, I use that time to swim. It's a vital part of my mental AND physical health.
It's a great visual for a statistics geek like me.