So I’ve just recently started work again after a 4 months Long maternity leave period.
In fact, today was my second day back at office. After a long day, I had the option of choosing the following:
1) wait for hubby to fetch me as he usually does (but that will mean a tiring 30mins drive in bad traffic)
2) take the bus home – takes about an hour or so to reach home
Both would result in me reaching home at approximately the same time -but the former will mean I’ll be stuck in office longer waiting for my hubby and him having to make an arduous trip in crazy traffic and also less “me time”
The latter would be a more indirect way home but I’ll get to collect my thoughts and reflect a little more on what it is I’d like to do.
Lately, I’ve realised how overly ambitious I can be and how these lofty dreams and aspirations of mine often end up being unfulfilled because the dreams aren’t matched with one particular resource in particular- time and space. (Just realised how this could actually be a sign of anxiety – but that will be a topic another day).
For instance, I bought this thin rollable magnetic whiteboard that I’ve since stuck on my room cupboard just so I can track on a weekly basis-my progress on the important things to achieve for each of these aspects: prayers, self, fitness, family, investing in future, and self care. And just to give you an idea of how much I’ve fallen short- I fared at 32% or completed just 9 out of 32 items on my list. see image below. But of course, I console myself that starting is better than not planning/ aspiring at all- and so I push forth on this relentless path to progress.
And yet- I’d also like to move closer to that 100%. I’m aware of the many schools of thoughts there are to unlocking higher performance – like Stephen Corvey’s 7 habits of highly effective people that talks about the need for prioritization of rocks first, etc.
But fundamentally- after having evaluated my first week of embarking on this weekly list- I also realised the biggest factor for this GAP as the underestimation of time taken to care for a baby.
I love my baby- and everyday when I get to hold him in my arm, I’m struck by how lucky I am to have been blessed with this little miracle of life. And yet- I also crave for my time alone and for time to do my own things. I still want to achieve my fitness goals and cram in that torturous gym session that kills but makes me feel stronger and fitter afterwards, and I still want to realise my business ideas (which require uninterrupted hours of research and brainstorming – a luxury I’ve not had much of lately) even if that means not seeing him for half a day at least and I still want to meet friends and family (this has dropped down to the end of the list of priorities, for a while now) and socialise once in a while even if that means taking time away from him.
I don’t think I’m selfish for wanting these things but let’s face it- unless one has a strong support network (in the form of kind family members, or extra resources to fund infant care), their achievement rate of that aspirational list is likely to stay at 32% or in fact, I dare say way lower than that – unless of course, I lower my expectations on the aspiration list. My meagre 32% is already standing on the shoulders of countless of hours of support and sacrifice of my amazing Mother-in-law, my grandmother-in-law, Sister-in law, and 2 domestic helpers. So I know I should count myself fortunate- and yet, I can’t help but wish I had more time so that I don’t have to “curate” that list to make it a less ambitious one. But instead, to comfortably attain a healthy 80% week on week achievement without having to lower my expectations.
To achieve this- one of the following needs to happen:
1) I’ll need to sacrifice sleep (as it is I get about 5-6 hours of often interrupted sleep- so this is most likely a no-go unless I wish to turn into a human being with an overly caffeinated (read:hyperactive zombie) mind)
2) I’ll need to get more help:
(i) trouble my in-laws to support even more (as it is, they’re already shouldering at least 8-9 hours every weekday, and another 5-6 hours over the weekend)
(ii) trouble my husband to do more although that remains unlikely, because, as it is, his work has been taking up to 20 hours of his time a day so between the two of us – any additional free time ought to be devoted to catching up on rest and sleep, if anything.
(iii) send my kid to infantcare? (A possibility that will help free up the time of everyone but still anxious about the prospect of my little one being exposed to more illnesses, and the level of care of the child-carers, plus the financial cost of an additional $500-2000/ month at least)
(iv) reduce the time I have at work? (Swop to a part time/ flexi work hour thing?) so I can dedicate time to that list of aspirations, or
(v) review that list first – because maybe over-ambitiousness is great – but not all that practical when you havea little one to care for. ( OK to be honest, the items list is definitely optimizable – but the 5 aspects I highlighted are still key.)
Hmm – Let’s see how this goes. I will be reviewing my next couple of weeks and letting you know if that % improves at least!