When I "retired" from my job almost 2 1/2 years ago, I had the opportunity to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. And I can't lie to you - I enjoyed every minute of it. Sure, I had deadlines for the book I was writing (self-imposed, of course), and I had to help Johnny with various things for his business, but being called upon a few hours a week hardly crimped my style.
Now that little Miss Thing has arrived, things are...well, they're different. Her call for assistance is, in fact, quite frequent, and often a little louder than I'd prefer, but she's awfully hard to resist. I'm enjoying my new responsibility as a mom, but every once in awhile I need a little refresher course on what my priorities should be (i.e. what I want versus what she needs.) While my heart leans toward the latter, habits are hard to break, and I find myself defaulting to the former. I need to remember that just like the sacrifices I used to make when struggling to stay healthy with Lupus, there are choices that need to be made along the way. It boils down to selflessness vs. selfishness, and like any good instructor, Deirdre is teaching me the difference. Basically, her take on the whole thing is this: she comes first, and everything else can go to pot. Or something like that.
Just recently, I found myself coasting along on selfish auto-pilot, thinking more about what I wanted to do rather than considering what or who really needed my immediate attention. Because I take a 2-hour nap and pump everyday while the babysitter is here, I try to make the most of the remaining hour and 1/2 to do stuff I want to get done, rather than waste it on routine stuff, like showering, working out, etc. Since Deirdre loves the sound of the treadmill and the shower, I've found that I can usually fit both in while she takes her morning nap. Granted, she's not sound asleep, but it's been working pretty well for both of us thus far.
One morning though, Deirdre wasn't particularly interested in falling asleep to the sound of the treadmill, but I was intent on getting in a workout. In fact, I had planned to shower and check my email while she was still in her treadmill trance, but things weren't going the way I planned. I wasn't even getting past my warm-up before she started whimpering. I tried to convince myself that she'd stop fussing once I started jogging or maybe after the first 1/2 mile, but she didn't. I tried talking and singing, but nothing was working. It didn't take me long before I realized a choice needed to be made, and I finally stopped the treadmill, went over to my little angel and said, "We need to do what you want to do right now, don't we?"
She, of course, agreed - and I scrapped my workout (and the shower and email) so that I could spend a little quality time with my baby doll, up close and personal. I enjoyed every moment of our time together, and quickly realized that whatever plan I had for the day wasn't as important as what I was doing at that very moment. It was just the same when my Lupus was flaring, and I had my list of "shoulds" that I thought HAD to get done. I was dead-dog tired, aching, and in no shape to be accomplishing things, and yet I had an agenda that I was committed to sticking to, no matter what the circumstances. At that time, it wasn't another little person I needed to consider - it was the benefit of my own health. I still consider that selflessness vs. selfishness, because when I worked myself to death, or ran myself ragged doing errands or the like, I left myself in pretty sorry shape to be a decent wife, sister, or friend. I made it so that others had to take care of me because I couldn't take care of myself - a pretty selfish thing to do, if you ask me. Good thing I've had 7 or 8 years to hone the art of making better choices - Deirdre will no doubt benefit from my years of practice.
Wonder what her highness wants to do today?