Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Life as a Work in Progress

If you want to know how I'm feeling on the inside, just take one look at my surroundings. Up until yesterday you would have seen a messy house, messy car, and messy work bag. And I'm gaining weight. 

Inside, I feel like my to-do list is endless, things are coming at me too fast, and I'm completely exhausted all the time. None of this is a surprise. When I planned to open a school in 2014, I was only going to have one kid and s/he was going to be 3.5 when the school opened. That scenario would have been way easier. We changed our minds about the only child thing and then had to hurry up and have another baby before the school opened. A miscarriage happened and pushed back the timing even more, which means I'm trying to work time-and-a-half professionally, while also juggling an infant, a toddler, and a wicked case of sleep-deprivation. 

But I wouldn't have it any other way! I love my job and am so thankful that we were able to grow our family. It's just a matter of getting everything to a manageable place.

When I get to that point where everything feels cluttered and overwhelming on the inside, I usually start with the outside. First I started with my car. I pulled out all the trash, Henry's bike and helmet, the assortment of socks, the glass that has been rattling around for a week, and everything else that managed to accumulate. 

And then I moved into the house. I put away all the work stuff that started piling up. Once one system starts to go (e.g., once my car gets messy), then I lose all motivation to keep anything else organized. It's so much easier to take something out and not put it away. At the end of the night, I just want to crash rather than put in the ten minutes it would take to tidy everything up. 

It's the same thing with food. I eat when I'm stressed. Once I start getting stress pounds (apparently the German's call this kummerspeck), then I throw all abandon to the wind and eat whatever I want. Whenever I want. Which is all the time. 

Of course I like it in the moment, but it makes me feel terrible! I feel sluggish and uncomfortable in my clothes. 

So, I need to figure out the healthy eating piece. Matt and I are really having trouble getting to the store every week. Not going to the store leads to trying to piece meals together and also going out too much. 

When I want to make a change, I identify what the change looks like and when it occurs. 

Change #1 = I want to use my meal planning template to pick healthy meals for the week. I can take Henry and Tate shopping on Friday afternoons after I pick up Henry. 

Change #2 = Although I've loved my new smoothie recipe, I think it's time to move away from the peanut butter. I'm going to go back to my yogurt, orange juice, spinach, frozen mango, and banana smoothie. I'm going to start measuring the ingredients into blender to be more cautious of how much I'm eating. 

Change #3 = I'm going to purchase frozen meals to have on hand in case we don't have enough leftovers for lunch. I hate the packaging and the expense of frozen meals, but it's where I am right now. I'd like to get to a point where I could make frozen burritos on Sunday to eat throughout the week, but I'm not there right now. This is the year to make a clearing.

Change #4 = I need to figure out the exercise piece again. I had been going to the YMCA regularly, but now Tate hates the daycare and I can only squeeze in 15 minutes of exercise before they come get me. My goal is three runs a week. I can go to the YMCA on Saturday morning with Henry (while Matt runs with Tate). On Sunday, Matt can take the boys to the dog park while I run around the trail (since he plays soccer in the afternoons). Then, once during the week, Matt could switch his running time from 8:30am-10am to 3:30pm-5:00pm (if it works for his work schedule), and I could fit in one more run while he takes Tate in the stroller and I take Henry to the YMCA. 

Phew! I feel better just having a plan of action. Of course I keep coming up with a similar version of this plan every couple months, but I'm okay with that. Life is a work in progress. 

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Unknown said...

Goodmorning Sara :) As for the workout part, please do check out Mommastrong.com, it's the 15 min that you have available and it's awesome! She has a free workout on her website so you can try it out before signing up for anything. I have been doing it for a year now and still love it. Sorry we didn't get to see you when you were in Houston , I hope we will get the chance some time soon! Big hugs Lene

stacey said...

Do you have fresh direct or pea pod or some other grocery delivery service available in your area? We usually shop at the farmer's market and health food store every week, but during times of extra busyness fresh direct is a life saver.

andee said...

Once I made peace with the fact that life is just one continual adjustment I felt ok about this kind of thing. When I was younger I always held in my mind that at some point I would get to a place where I didn't have to figure out how to make on piece work! Ha! I was so naive. You are doing good, especially good at recognizing and initiating change.

Anonymous said...

you can try unsweetened almond milk instead of OJ for less sugar in your smoothie too

Beth said...

I second the person who said a grocery delivery service. I don't know what you have in Austin, but we have several options where I live and it has really helped me in several ways. Most importantly, the shopping happens. I can be at home doing other things, and groceries can be delivered to my door. Second, I actually spend a lot less money because there is no browsing and I only buy what is on my list. Third, I don't end up going after work when I am starved and buying random junk (also, my kids aren't asking for random junk). The Whole Foods where I live let's you order and then pick up. they will bring it right to your car. They let you make notes on the order like, "I want three green bananas," or "I want three overripe bananas." I actually do this service the most. Not having to get my kids out of the car makes all the difference and I prefer them to Fresh Direct. The whole process makes you plan your meals, too.

Carrie said...

Two exercise ideas:

1. I know people who drop their children off at the YMCA daycare, and then go for a run outside. You could perhaps drop Henry off and take Tate in the stroller.

2. Try the 7-minute workout that appeared in the NYT. It is a great bang for your buck, and you can do two or three if you really want to be in pain :-) There is an iPhone app for it, and you could do it at home when the children are somewhat occupied or in bed.


Maureen said...

I know you're not into workout videos, but I'm going to say it again as commenter #1 did: Mommastrong! Really, it has changed my life and it's SO up your alley! It's life coaching sort if along with 15 minute FUN workouts. I promise you'll love it. :-)

Kelsey said...

Two things that really help me:
- doing even a LITTLE bit of physical activity. Such as doing a 20 minute yoga YouTube video before Dash gets up. It re-connects me to my body and then I feel that I'm still keeping up my exercise routine, which really helps my mindset and keeps me motivated to do more.
- Sunday meal prep. If Chris takes care of Dash during this time I can have this done in an hour. Lately for us this includes a huge batch of quinoa, prepping salad greens and another large batch of something. I made some vegan black bean burgers (recipe on Never Homemaker) that were easy and delicious. Then for dinners we just "wing" it but with these healthy bases it's easier to consistently eat healthy meals.

It's a constant adjustment when you are so busy and week to week you have to shift your energy to different priorities. But trying out new systems and routines will help you find the ones that best work for you. You're doing great!

J-Law said...

I don't know if Blue apron delivers to your area but it is so worth it! They deliver a box of 3 meals of uncooked, fresh, delicious food to your door once a week. It's seriously changed our lives and actually saved us a lot of money. We don't have to worry what we're going to make for dinner 3 times a week and the veggie option is delicious! Check them out!

CB said...

Honestly, with how much you take on I can't believe your life ever DOESN'T feel like this. You do a lot Sara!

Regarding the workout piece - have you considered working out at home or trying to convert to very short, very intense workouts? Here are some ideas:
- I know some people who've had success with T25 (it's a home workout video series that has 25 mniute workouts 5x per week).
- I have become a big fan of doing short pilates videos available on YouTube at home. I like a YouTuber with a channel called Blogilates.
- The quickest workout I know is to do hill sprints. Walk to a hill in your area to warm up, then sprint up the hill & walk back down to recover. Repeat 5x. The whole ordeal only takes 20 minutes and will increase your fitness with minimal time invested.

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