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KEWebb18
March 1st, 2010, 09:08 PM
I have been struggling lately finding balance in my life. For short period of time, I was able to focus most of my time on my family, but I wasn't doing enough for myself and I was not happy. When I decided to focus more on myself and swim more often, I wasn't very happy with how much time I was spending away from my family. The past few months, work interrupted my swimming schedule and other life happenings required most of my focus; now my swimming has been much less than what I want it to be. I want to find a happy balance between all three. I know that compared to some of you that I am still young, but I worry that my life is slipping away and I am not enjoying it as much as I can.
I am curious as to how to find that magical balance and be happy with all three, or if I am looking for something that does not exist. Thanks.

Allen Stark
March 1st, 2010, 09:37 PM
this is the big question for every Masters Swimmer and there is no one size fits all.The only thing I can add is that when I get irritable or in a funk my wife says"you need to go swimming."

JimRude
March 1st, 2010, 09:41 PM
this is the big question for every Masters Swimmer and there is no one size fits all.The only thing I can add is that when I get irritable or in a funk my wife says"you need to go swimming."

My wife says "you need to eat something".

swim25
March 1st, 2010, 10:00 PM
I feel the same way. Sometimes I feel like I take my swimming to seriously and less for my schooling. It's tricky I swim three times a week in the mornings and twice on fridays; one in the morning and one in the evening, but I ve been running on my off days. I don't have a job so school is my work and I feel like i put school on the back burner because when I should be doing school work I am out exercising. On the contrary if I don't exercise as much and have the interactions with my master's teammates I would suffer in school and be less happy. If anyone finds a way to solve this I would like to know as well.

Midas
March 1st, 2010, 11:02 PM
Anybody who figures this out should write a book--they'd make millions! I almost never achieve a good balance between work, family and swimming. Perversely, of the three it's almost never work that suffers. When I do pull off a good balance, I definitely feel the most satisfied with my life... I haven't been in a pool in over a month and I'm not a happy camper about that! :(

BigNoodler
March 1st, 2010, 11:08 PM
this is the big question for every Masters Swimmer and there is no one size fits all.The only thing I can add is that when I get irritable or in a funk my wife says"you need to go swimming."

Same for me (husband tells me that!) :)

Bobinator
March 2nd, 2010, 12:10 AM
I recently started getting up and swimming at 5 a.m. It gets me home after school and I have time to cook, organize, and maybe even read a book if I like. Getting to bed early is a struggle though.
Do you have little kids? That makes working out tough. Good luck Katie!

joshua
March 2nd, 2010, 01:13 AM
I can only relate my experience. I am now 56 with 4 grown up kids. I am at the peak of my career and have attained most of my career goals. I am of good health and pretty good financially (but still unable to retire). I now swim nearly everyday. But it wasn't always like that. Like when I had 4 young kids and we were struggling to make ends meet.

What I'm trying to say is take a deep breath. It won't alway be like this. At different ages you will have different priorities. That's just the way it is. I would make two suggestions:
1. Set realistic goals for your situation.
2. Swimming is time consuming (getting to the pool, the session itself,shower and driving back) and you are also time constrained by the pool. I would suggest something I have done in the past and still do - a body weight exercise circuit done at home. You need minimal or no equipment, it can be done in 20-30 minutes and will give you a great w/o. Go here to see what I mean: www.rosstraining.com
Doing two bw sessions a week + 2 swimming sessions will keep you in great shape.

Lui
March 2nd, 2010, 04:48 AM
I would suggest something I have done in the past and still do - a body weight exercise circuit done at home. You need minimal or no equipment, it can be done in 20-30 minutes and will give you a great w/o. Go here to see what I mean: www.rosstraining.com
Doing two bw sessions a week + 2 swimming sessions will keep you in great shape.

I can also recommend Ross Enamait's book on BW exercises: Never Gymless which you'll find at Ross' website.

5out6aintbad
March 2nd, 2010, 07:18 AM
I'm just like Joshua - it takes time to find a balance but it's worth persevering.

I also have four kids and find the strains of that, running my business, being there for my wife and 'me time' a challenge. The answer for me is swimming at times when the family don't need me and what this means is as follows;

Early mornings
Late evenings
When the kids are also swimming!

swimshark
March 2nd, 2010, 07:33 AM
Katie, I struggled with your dilemma for a while, too. I have a 4, soon to be 5 year old at home and don't work out side of the house. My son goes to pre-school 3 days a week but it's not really enough time for me to get in a workout while he's in school. When we first moved here I was going to the pool at 5:30, when they opened to the public, and swimming on my own for 30 min before the masters got in. I'd swim until 6:30, get out and be home by 7. But that meant my husband was getting to work 30 min late on my swim days. Not good. So.. my solution was to ask the local age group team if I could swim with them. I now get up at 4am and swim from 4:45-6:05, I'm home by 6:30 and my husband can get to work on time. This is a way where I can still get in my swimming and yet no one in my house is affected. I do swim on Saturdays and my husband is home. It's my "mommy free time" as we call it. I figure after being home all week and Matthew, 3 hours on Sat for swimming is good for me :) If I worked out of the house, I don't know how my schedule would change, though.

As for meets, I just make sure to ask my husband if it's okay that I go to a meet and make sure that he doesn't have any reason to be gone that day. So far that hasn't happened and he's been fine with me gone. I try to get him to come to my meets as well but to him, they aren't exactly fun.

What ages are your kids? What time do you have to go to work? Can you work from home so you can swim more?

KEWebb18
March 2nd, 2010, 08:20 AM
this is the big question for every Masters Swimmer and there is no one size fits all.The only thing I can add is that when I get irritable or in a funk my wife says"you need to go swimming."

I agree that there is no one size fits all. I am just trying to see how other people try to make it work for them, hopefully to find something that works for me.

KEWebb18
March 2nd, 2010, 08:21 AM
Anybody who figures this out should write a book--they'd make millions! I almost never achieve a good balance between work, family and swimming. Perversely, of the three it's almost never work that suffers. When I do pull off a good balance, I definitely feel the most satisfied with my life... I haven't been in a pool in over a month and I'm not a happy camper about that! :(

Too bad I am not a writer, because if I figured it out, I would definitely want to share it.

KEWebb18
March 2nd, 2010, 08:26 AM
I can only relate my experience. I am now 56 with 4 grown up kids. I am at the peak of my career and have attained most of my career goals. I am of good health and pretty good financially (but still unable to retire). I now swim nearly everyday. But it wasn't always like that. Like when I had 4 young kids and we were struggling to make ends meet.

What I'm trying to say is take a deep breath. It won't alway be like this. At different ages you will have different priorities. That's just the way it is. I would make two suggestions:
1. Set realistic goals for your situation.
2. Swimming is time consuming (getting to the pool, the session itself,shower and driving back) and you are also time constrained by the pool. I would suggest something I have done in the past and still do - a body weight exercise circuit done at home. You need minimal or no equipment, it can be done in 20-30 minutes and will give you a great w/o. Go here to see what I mean: www.rosstraining.com (http://www.rosstraining.com)
Doing two bw sessions a week + 2 swimming sessions will keep you in great shape.

Thanks for your very helpful tips. I appreciate your input.

KEWebb18
March 2nd, 2010, 08:33 AM
Katie, I struggled with your dilemma for a while, too. I have a 4, soon to be 5 year old at home and don't work out side of the house. My son goes to pre-school 3 days a week but it's not really enough time for me to get in a workout while he's in school. When we first moved here I was going to the pool at 5:30, when they opened to the public, and swimming on my own for 30 min before the masters got in. I'd swim until 6:30, get out and be home by 7. But that meant my husband was getting to work 30 min late on my swim days. Not good. So.. my solution was to ask the local age group team if I could swim with them. I now get up at 4am and swim from 4:45-6:05, I'm home by 6:30 and my husband can get to work on time. This is a way where I can still get in my swimming and yet no one in my house is affected. I do swim on Saturdays and my husband is home. It's my "mommy free time" as we call it. I figure after being home all week and Matthew, 3 hours on Sat for swimming is good for me :) If I worked out of the house, I don't know how my schedule would change, though.

As for meets, I just make sure to ask my husband if it's okay that I go to a meet and make sure that he doesn't have any reason to be gone that day. So far that hasn't happened and he's been fine with me gone. I try to get him to come to my meets as well but to him, they aren't exactly fun.

What ages are your kids? What time do you have to go to work? Can you work from home so you can swim more?

Alison, I like how you have been able to make everything work for you and your situation. It is good that you have a very understanding family!
The main problem for me is that my work schedule is unpredictable. I work long hours, and working from home is not an option for the type of job that I do. How busy we are at work really dictates how much energy I have to devote to other things. I really feel that after work, I don't want to take time away from my family (no kids yet, but a husband and a dog) to spend swimming. I had been pretty good about going early and swimming, but my work schedule changed so that I was either going in to work early or working late. Something had to give, and it was swimming. I know that there is a better way to do it and I just want to know how other people are able to do.

Rykno
March 2nd, 2010, 08:38 AM
For me work has to come first. if I don't put in the time to do a good job, then I might stress over what I didn't do while at home with my family.

My swim and other training is scheduled around my kids (and wife's day) I swim at 8pm so my kids are either down for the night, or are in bed getting a bed time story. my wife then has two hours to do what ever she wants while I'm swimming. I also swim sunday mornings, which works out fine, because I'm home by 10am and have all day with the familiy.

twice a week I go into work early, and I can either get in a lunch workout, or work an extra hr.

meets are planned up to 1 yr in advance. if it's not on the family calendar it's most likely not going to happen, or it will cost me big time to negotiate an extra meet.

Lump
March 2nd, 2010, 08:40 AM
I'm pretty lucky at the moment as the pool I train at is really close to my office. I practice 0600-0730, give or take 15 minutes, 5 days a week and then usually do "something" on the weekend, usually dryland, but once in awhile I'll swim. Generally the early morning is the best time I find as you get it done and then don't have to think about it the rest of the day or trying to fit it in your schedule. I think you are much more likely to not train in the evening after a rough day. I like starting my day off right and in the water. Plus I have NO issues going to bed at a decent time at night!

I think EVERYONE pretty much struggles with this balancing act, even people that have all the time in the world will have issues that come up in some part of their life. If we didn't have these stuggles we wouldn't be "living", we'd just be existing. Just remember that its how you come out the other side and when you reach a goal it makes it that much sweeter!

swimshark
March 2nd, 2010, 09:48 AM
Alison, I like how you have been able to make everything work for you and your situation. It is good that you have a very understanding family!
The main problem for me is that my work schedule is unpredictable. I work long hours, and working from home is not an option for the type of job that I do. How busy we are at work really dictates how much energy I have to devote to other things. I really feel that after work, I don't want to take time away from my family (no kids yet, but a husband and a dog) to spend swimming. I had been pretty good about going early and swimming, but my work schedule changed so that I was either going in to work early or working late. Something had to give, and it was swimming. I know that there is a better way to do it and I just want to know how other people are able to do.

I know it's hard when work is late. When I did work, I hated being away at night for swimming but then I realized I was a better person because I took that time to swim. Can you try it a few nights a week? How early is early is early for the morning swim?

uknick
March 2nd, 2010, 10:54 AM
Wow what a massive subject… This is VERY close to my heart right now as I am in “negotiations” with my wife as to what is reasonable or healthy in terms of training/exercise! Over the last few years the volume, intensity and seriousness of my training has increased and I am now dedicated to turning myself from a reasonable to a competitive swimmer in my 50’s. So what does this mean to me? Well it means focus, dedication and sometimes sacrifice…

Like others here I have a growing family (2 x boys 14 & 16) and of course a wife! I have a demanding job in the corporate telecoms sales sector looking after a high value sales team. It is a triangle – family, work, self. For me the “self” is pretty much defined by exercise and swimming. I have been criticised in the past as being obsessive and I guess this is true but I would say in a good way :)

So the question is - is it valid for people like me (and maybe you) to strive for excellence through sport when we have other commitments (family/job). Now I know it won’t be the same for all of you, but I want to do the best that I can do – and to do that I need to train a lot of hours.

So how do I do that? My alarm goes off at between 4:40-5:10 each working day :bed: and I train for up to 90mins before work. This means I don’t see my family in the morning but this is a relatively small price to pay. I then work permitting I try to get out to the gym or the pool at lunchtime as often as is possible and sometime train on the way home which can make me late – but this is only once or twice a week. Then at weekends I get up early both days as I try to minimise the impact on the family. If it fits in with everybody else, I might try to swim on one or both days!

Writing this down does make me realise how tenuous this all is – it is very hard and of course there are other consequences too! As any full time athlete will tell you, training very hard makes you very tired and when you are tired you can be more stressed. So the hidden consequences of excessive exercise (yes I have admitted it) is in relationships, quality of interaction and of course energy and stamina for other things…

So I guess if you are like me and want to train as hard as is necessary to reach your goal, then you need to find a very kind and understanding person who “buys into” your dream and will support through the good and the bad times. Maybe it’s not quite as dramatic as I paint it, but as I said at the top this is a massive issue for older athletes with multiple levels of responsibility!

joel schmaltz
March 2nd, 2010, 10:54 AM
We may never win the battle of balancing life.

I do believe that everyone need time to escape life for awhile everyday. Whether that time is spent reading, swimming, jogging ... whatever. Without this time to ourselves life will start to win the battle.

I am able to swim three days a week first thing in the morning while my wife and children are sleeping. I also swim two evenings when my children are of with my wife at their activities.

It really helps to have a understanding spouse.

knelson
March 2nd, 2010, 11:06 AM
I know this isn't going to work for everyone, but if you can try to work as regular a work schedule as possible. I know lots of times things come up at the end of the day and you end up working later. When possible, just say no. Set a time that you are going to stop working and stick to it. That work will still be there the next morning and, most of the time, the world won't end of you don't get around to it that day!

__steve__
March 2nd, 2010, 11:23 AM
I am very lucky in this regard because where I work fitness is not only encouraged, but required. I get an extra hour to use for fitness, three times a week in conjunction with my lunch. So I get a 2.5 hour lunch on Mon, Wed, and Fri to spend at the pool. Unfortunately very few actually participate in fitness with the program so I am left with envious coworkers trying to sabotoge my planned schedule, but it's nevertheless just a minor nuisance.

Still relatively new to balancing competition with family but for my first meet my family (wife, and two kids 11 & 13) came along. I only swam Saturday's events and the remaining weekend was spent having fun doing family things like pranks on each other at the hotel, dining, going to a museum, running around on the beach, listening to the kids fight. They're definately looking forward to Atlanta.

knelson
March 2nd, 2010, 11:34 AM
I get an extra hour to use for fitness, three times a week in conjunction with my lunch. So I get a 2.5 hour lunch on Mon, Wed, and Fri to spend at the pool.

That's awesome and I wish more employers got on the band wagon with this!

swimshark
March 2nd, 2010, 11:37 AM
That's awesome and I wish more employers got on the band wagon with this!

My husband's employer actually pays for his gym membership. He has a gym in his building. It's not much but has a treadmill, elliptical and weights (and tv) and they pay the $600 or so a year for him to be a member. My husband works out there a minimum of 3 times a week during lunch hour and then drinks a protein shake and eats almonds for his lunch while back at his desk. I'm actually a bit jealous of it since he can escape during the day.

mctrusty
March 2nd, 2010, 01:05 PM
What I'm trying to say is take a deep breath. It won't alway be like this. At different ages you will have different priorities. That's just the way it is. I would make two suggestions:
1. Set realistic goals for your situation.
2. Swimming is time consuming (getting to the pool, the session itself,shower and driving back) and you are also time constrained by the pool. I would suggest something I have done in the past and still do - a body weight exercise circuit done at home. You need minimal or no equipment, it can be done in 20-30 minutes and will give you a great w/o. Go here to see what I mean: www.rosstraining.com (http://www.rosstraining.com)
Doing two bw sessions a week + 2 swimming sessions will keep you in great shape.

This is not too far off what I've been doing these days. Wife and I had our first in November and since then I've been swimming 2-3 days per week and getting an extra 2 days of running or bw if/when I can squeeze it in.

My pool time is either spent doing drills or trying to go fast. I don't think I've done an EN2/3 set since we had our daughter.

Karen Duggan
March 2nd, 2010, 01:07 PM
Agreed, if someone could write a book that tells us how to live our lives, they'd be set. And, obviously, no one else can tell us how to live our lives, so there is no such book!

Katie, I was under the assumption you had kids...

Anyway, I have 4 kids (2-9), teach full-time, and try to work out whenever I can. My husband also works full-time (albeit we are on opposite schedules so the kids don't have to go to daycare), and he would also like to swim.

My suggestion, since it's the two of you, is that you wake up early and workout. That would free up the rest of the day for work and hubby time.

There is no balance per se. But I know that there is a whole lot of guilt, at least for me. I can't give 100% to everything, so I do the best I can. My priorities are: kids, hubby, swimming, work. My work won't always be part of my life so it is the least important to me. My kids and my husband are the most important, so they often win out over swimming and sometimes even work. I drop everything for them. I've missed a couple of Nationals (airfare up in smoke) because of kids' events, and while I wanted to swim, I didn't want to miss out on a special event at home. There will be other swim meets, but I'll never get the Kindergarten Mother's Day tea back again.

My personal struggle with working out is that I like to do 3 different types of workout: running, weights, and swimming. I like to go to the gym, but I never make it there. I have to prioritize again, and I try to make sure I swim. I often swim when I have a long break at work. Most often it's at night from 7-8:30. I no longer feel guilty about letting my husband do the nighttime routine with the kids. I do it 4x/week by myself.

Sorry to ramble. One last thing though. I have recently discovered that I really need to get away from home about once/month. I went to Long Beach in Dec. and discovered this. I didn't realize how much I needed to take a break, just for me. So I went to the Las Vegas meet in January, with a friend for the day, also. Perfect.

I have found that it is critical: to sort out what's the most important in your life, do the best you can, try to be guilt free, and enjoy your life. As Hannah Montana sang, "Life's what you make it."

:2cents:
:2cents:
(since I rambled I figured that that was worth 4 cents) :D

KEWebb18
March 2nd, 2010, 02:03 PM
Agreed, if someone could write a book that tells us how to live our lives, they'd be set. And, obviously, no one else can tell us how to live our lives, so there is no such book!


I have found that it is critical: to sort out what's the most important in your life, do the best you can, try to be guilt free, and enjoy your life. As Hannah Montana sang, "Life's what you make it."


Karen you really hit the nail on the head. It is so hard to figure out what works for each person individually. It's like with food, just someone tell me what to eat that will be the best for me and I'll eat it. I don't do so well when I have a million choices to make. I appreciate your insight, and everyone else's, on how to balance things and what you do to make it work.
I also enjoy going to the gym, running with friends and coworkers (it is a little more of a social sport than swimming). I want to try to get into healthy habits now so that I do not hopefully have to face some of the same health problems I see at my job each day.
The way that my schedule is now, most days I have to swim on my own at 5am so that I can get an hour workout in to get to work on time. This is not desirable as I really miss being a part of a team. There are a few days when I can make it to a 6am group workout, but that is not consistent. After work is out of the question for me, as I am too physically exhausted to face the pool. I can get in a quick jog with some coworkers after work if I haven't exercised yet for that day, but it is not the same as swimming. I am sure that most of you would agree that you feel your best after a workout in the pool.
Part of the reason that I brought this thread up was to try to see how others do it. I want to get things sort of figured out now, so that when my husband and I do have children we will be able to figure it out then a little easier (or so I hope!).
Everyone has been so helpful in their advice.

KEWebb18
March 2nd, 2010, 02:06 PM
I am very lucky in this regard because where I work fitness is not only encouraged, but required. I get an extra hour to use for fitness, three times a week in conjunction with my lunch. So I get a 2.5 hour lunch on Mon, Wed, and Fri to spend at the pool. Unfortunately very few actually participate in fitness with the program so I am left with envious coworkers trying to sabotoge my planned schedule, but it's nevertheless just a minor nuisance.

Still relatively new to balancing competition with family but for my first meet my family (wife, and two kids 11 & 13) came along. I only swam Saturday's events and the remaining weekend was spent having fun doing family things like pranks on each other at the hotel, dining, going to a museum, running around on the beach, listening to the kids fight. They're definately looking forward to Atlanta.

That would be a great way to break up the day. I wish that more employers would see the benefit in doing something similar!

orca1946
March 2nd, 2010, 02:06 PM
In balance - sometimes it's and others it's down. enjoy the ups !

Karen Duggan
March 2nd, 2010, 03:03 PM
Katie-
I am in the same boat as you. I hate making some choices.
I am actually seeing a nutritionist right now because I was not eating enough, and yet my weight stays the same (well, actually, according to the nutritionist, I am starving myself- unintentionally). Where that was going is, I wish that someone would say, "Eat this," or better yet, make my food for me! Eating is such a pain!

I also hate having to choose between my workouts. I know I need to do all three of the workouts I mentioned to swim my fastest, but I just need to change my mindset and tell myself a couple of things: I'm lucky to be able to workout (at all), and what I'm doing is good for my body. If I focus on what I can't do, then that sabotages all of the positive things I am doing.

Reasonable perspective should have been on my list of how to live my life.
:agree:

Just keep making the choices you think are right for you. If you find out they are not right for you, change 'em.

joel schmaltz
March 2nd, 2010, 03:23 PM
A friend of mine gave me some advice awhile back in regards to balancing my life.

No matter what you do give it 100%. If you are spending time with your family, focus on your family. If you are at work, focus on work.

We will never find time to fit everything in. Therefore, try and make the most of the time allowed for each activity.

Bobinator
March 2nd, 2010, 03:27 PM
Here's another way to look at it:

I was a single mom w/ 3 kids. We divorced when the kids were 3/6/and 7.
Back then I was a runner; running is alot easier to fit in than swimming.
Anyway my runs were extremely important to my mental health!!! I did whatever I had to do to fit them in. (usually arrange a babysitter some time in the evening) I usually ran 6X per week, including a long one on Sunday. Between kids activities, teaching school, and fitting my obsession into my life I was crazy busy but normally a happy person!
Wow, the time flew by soooo very fast. Now the kids are 18/21/22 and almost totally independant and living away from home. I could workout every night from 5 till 10 p.m. or in the morning from 4:45 a.m.-6:30 if I had the energy. The time frame in which your family needs you so intensely is really short lived and precious. Some nights I wish I had someone at home that needed me to take care of them.
Don't get me wrong I do like some of this newly found independance but every now and then I find something around the house that reminds me of my crazy-busy work-out days and I long to have them back. Wherever you are in your life enjoy it and live in the moment because in the blink of an eye the dynamics will change!

The Fortress
March 2nd, 2010, 03:28 PM
Karen you really hit the nail on the head. It is so hard to figure out what works for each person individually. It's like with food, just someone tell me what to eat that will be the best for me and I'll eat it. I don't do so well when I have a million choices to make. I appreciate your insight, and everyone else's, on how to balance things and what you do to make it work.
I also enjoy going to the gym, running with friends and coworkers (it is a little more of a social sport than swimming). I want to try to get into healthy habits now so that I do not hopefully have to face some of the same health problems I see at my job each day.
The way that my schedule is now, most days I have to swim on my own at 5am so that I can get an hour workout in to get to work on time. This is not desirable as I really miss being a part of a team. There are a few days when I can make it to a 6am group workout, but that is not consistent. After work is out of the question for me, as I am too physically exhausted to face the pool. I can get in a quick jog with some coworkers after work if I haven't exercised yet for that day, but it is not the same as swimming. I am sure that most of you would agree that you feel your best after a workout in the pool.
Part of the reason that I brought this thread up was to try to see how others do it. I want to get things sort of figured out now, so that when my husband and I do have children we will be able to figure it out then a little easier (or so I hope!).
Everyone has been so helpful in their advice.

This is SO HARD. And, sorry to say, it doesn't get easier until kids (when you have them) are grown and you have more time. The two keys to success for me are maximum flexibility over when I work out and discipline to work out. The latter is easier if you love to train or work out, which I do.

I have experienced many of the same struggles and issues as Karen as a mother of three. Since I've been a grown up, it's kinda gone like this:

1. Working full time at corporate law firm with no kids and hideous hours: runs after work or hit the gym late or run on my lunch hour. always work out on saturday and Sunday. I also walked back and forth to work, which was 3 miles.

2. Kids come along: Switched from full time to part time (66%) and became an Of Counsel instead of partner. I tried to do what Kirk suggested above and left work on my part time schedule no matter what. Sometimes this pissed people off but I cared more about my kids then them. I would run during lunch, I often went to the gym at 8:30 pm when I tucked my kids in and I would try to work out on the weekends. I didn't swim then, which is much more time consuming, I know. I didn't love working out at night, but I did it anyway and felt better. You may have no choice but to do that if you want to stay fit. I also had times when I worked a ton (including 10:00 pm-2:00am) and didn't work out and vice versa.

3. After kid #3, I quit the corporate law firm. I worked very part time as an independent contractor. I would sometimes often take my kid the gym/pool. I would sometimes hire a babysitter. And I would always work out on the weekends. Now, I am fortunate that all my kids are in school full time, so I try to work or do errands in the am and work out in the early afternoon. But I still have to maintain maximum flexibility. My kid work shift is now 2:30-9:30 or later, plus mornings. My husband has the early morning exercise slot and travels frequently, so I take other slots and often schedule them around all my children's practices. I've found that I can do yoga or drylands or stretching at home as well.

I guess time with hubby takes the biggest hit for me. But he is an athlete too, so understands. I also agree with Karen that it is key to get away every once in awhile to a swim meet. You have to take care of yourself. Also, mommy guilt -- which has been utterly wrenching for me in the past -- does abate over time.

ourswimmer
March 2nd, 2010, 03:59 PM
Speaking as a fellow perfectionist, I think you may be setting your standard for "balance" too high.

If you are serious about a profession that you enjoy and in which you have pride, and especially if you are self-employed, sometimes your professional obligations are going to rule for days, weeks, or months at a time. If you are serious about good relationships with other people, those people are going to need you more some times than other times. And if you are serious about personal pursuits that require "me" time, those too will ebb and flow.

Part of achieving a healthy balance is accepting that the balance is going to shift from time to time, and is rarely going to stay perfect for long stretches. You're going to have some metaphorical wobble. Not to say that the ideas you've solicited and received here are not valuable, but if you're going through periods with a few months' intense focus on one aspect of life and then a few months on another and a few months on another, you're probably achieving pretty good overall balance.

chaos
March 2nd, 2010, 04:07 PM
sell the kids.
eat your pets.
quit your job.
buy a VW bus to live in and swim whenever you like.

The Fortress
March 2nd, 2010, 04:11 PM
Speaking as a fellow perfectionist, I think you may be setting your standard for "balance" too high.

If you are serious about a profession that you enjoy and in which you have pride, and especially if you are self-employed, sometimes your professional obligations are going to rule for days, weeks, or months at a time. If you are serious about good relationships with other people, those people are going to need you more some times than other times. And if you are serious about personal pursuits that require "me" time, those too will ebb and flow.

Part of achieving a healthy balance is accepting that the balance is going to shift from time to time, and is rarely going to stay perfect for long stretches. You're going to have some metaphorical wobble. Not to say that the ideas you've solicited and received here are not valuable, but if you're going through periods with a few months' intense focus on one aspect of life and then a few
months on another and a few months on another, you're probably achieving pretty good overall balance.

well said!

pwb
March 2nd, 2010, 04:12 PM
sell the kids.
eat your pets.
quit your job.
buy a VW bus to live in and swim whenever you like.That's the retirement plan I've been trying to convince my wife of!

pwb
March 2nd, 2010, 04:18 PM
... I think you may be setting your standard for "balance" too high...

A serious comment now (not like my last one): a wise person once told me that at any one time you can get 2 out of 3 things "right" in your life: work, family/friends and personal pursuits. Which 2 things will ebb and flow based upon demands and your interests, but just aim to do 2 "on target." It's rare for me to get them all. I try hard to make family always one of those things "on target," but don't always make that happen ... sometimes I have to reprioritize work to the top of the list. For me, balance is not about getting the same proportions right every single day, but getting them mostly right over a longer time period.

Swimosaur
March 2nd, 2010, 04:30 PM
I think EVERYONE pretty much struggles with this balancing act ... Just remember that its how you come out the other side and when you reach a goal it makes it that much sweeter!

I went to a meet recently where they were having trouble handing out the ribbons. It was some kind of administrative or data handling snafu that made it hard to find which swimmer went with which ribbon. Someone asked me, "Do you really want your ribbons?"

Immediately my mind went back to age group swimming, where there were trophies by the dozen, medals by the hundreds, and ribbons flew like confetti in the streets of New York on New Year's Eve. Did I want my ribbons? Did I care about a couple of 25 cent ribbons?

It's not the same anymore, is it? To win those ribbons I had hauled my sorry ass to the pool every day for a year, lost an unmentionable amount of weight, planned several months in advance to free up enough time to go to the meet, then hauled my sorry ass three hours down the road, stayed overnight in the Bedbug Discount Inn, paid $40 bucks to enter the meet, and swam whatever frakkin yards were in the event.

You bet I want my ribbons! It ain't about the ribbons. It's about what it took just to get to the meet and swim the event. But I want them just the same!

Karen Duggan
March 2nd, 2010, 04:34 PM
Chaos, are you buying?

:lmao:

Karen Duggan
March 2nd, 2010, 04:42 PM
A friend of mine gave me some advice awhile back in regards to balancing my life.

No matter what you do give it 100%. If you are spending time with your family, focus on your family. If you are at work, focus on work.

We will never find time to fit everything in. Therefore, try and make the most of the time allowed for each activity.

This is so very true. I all too often find myself waiting to do the next thing. If I'm at the kids' swim practice, I'm not all there as I'm wondering what we'll have for dinner and when I should pick up the Girl Scout cookies, and, and, and...

That kind of thinking is SO overwhelming. I've really tried to just be in the moment that I'm in. It's a lot less stressful, and I don't feel as guilty b/c I am actually enjoying whatever I am doing instead of thinking about what I will be doing.

I really like the saying that goes something like this:
Yesterday is history
Tomorrow a mystery
Today is a gift, that's why we call it the present.

swim4me
March 2nd, 2010, 08:01 PM
My daughter is away at college. Husband is a die-hard runner. We both work full-time. I am morning person, he is night person. I tried working out at night, but all I can think about is going to sleep. He can't get moving in the morning. Not the best of schedules, but I get up at 4:30 am for a 5:00 practice M-W-F. I shower at the pool, dress, drive to work and complete hair and make-up in the locker room at work. Tue and Thur I am at the gym (at work) at 5:00 am. Saturdays I swim at 6:00 am while Hubby is still sleeping. Hubby works out after work (we work at the same place). He usually gets home at 8:30 and I am sometimes in bed before he gets home. So we see each other on weekends, most of Saturday (I am currently taking a pottery throwing class after swimming Saturday mornings and don't get home until 1:00 p.m., he complains much more about the pottery than about my swimming (but my mom asked me to take the class with her and I could not refuse her)), and all day Sunday. We have different sports, different time schedules, but still make time for each other and really enjoy that time, even if it is doing chores and running errands together.

KEWebb18
March 2nd, 2010, 08:42 PM
sell the kids.
eat your pets.
quit your job.
buy a VW bus to live in and swim whenever you like.

Best piece of advice yet. Too bad I can't get the husband to agree!

KEWebb18
March 2nd, 2010, 08:49 PM
A friend of mine gave me some advice awhile back in regards to balancing my life.

No matter what you do give it 100%. If you are spending time with your family, focus on your family. If you are at work, focus on work.

We will never find time to fit everything in. Therefore, try and make the most of the time allowed for each activity.

This is some really good advice.

I often make things much worse by cramming too much stuff into the day. Workout, morning meeting, work, another meeting, family time, social time...now I remember why I didn't mind training for hours every day when I was in high school and college--I really didn't have all of those other things pulling on me.


A serious comment now (not like my last one): a wise person once told me that at any one time you can get 2 out of 3 things "right" in your life: work, family/friends and personal pursuits. Which 2 things will ebb and flow based upon demands and your interests, but just aim to do 2 "on target." It's rare for me to get them all. I try hard to make family always one of those things "on target," but don't always make that happen ... sometimes I have to reprioritize work to the top of the list. For me, balance is not about getting the same proportions right every single day, but getting them mostly right over a longer time period.

I like that. Getting them mostly right is probably what I will have to aim for.

jessicafk11
March 2nd, 2010, 09:56 PM
Really glad to see posts on this topic. We recently adopted a dog and we're trying to adjust our schedules with the new family member. It is nice to hear from so many people on what they do to find balance and the struggles they can have with it. There are days I read through the blogs and I feel like a complete slacker and wonder why can't I do it all??? It's good to be reminded that for most people it takes work to find a good balance and that life can get in the way of certain things and that when it does, that's ok, it happens to us all sooner or later. What is important is how we deal with it.

I'm hoping to get back on a more regular schedule next week assuming the new pup continues to make progress in her training, for now I am enjoying coming home to her after work, taking walks through the neighborhood, and watching her go crazy at the dog park!

The Fortress
March 2nd, 2010, 10:30 PM
Katie, you might browse the WSJ's The Juggle. http://blogs.wsj.com/juggle/

In today's issue there was a column on people who attempt to do it all on very little sleep.

aquaFeisty
March 3rd, 2010, 10:32 AM
So tricky to achieve that balance. I'm currently operating under the "Chef's Choice" method... which means I never know exactly when I'll work out.

I work very part-time, and have two small kids (ages 4 1/2 and 15 months). My husband coaches/swims at 5:30 am M-Th and Sat so most mornings are out.

I had a TERRIBLE time getting back into the workout routine after child #2 was born. Since Jan, I've been doing a much better job of it. I try to balance swimming, weights, and PT exercises (for knee, mostly). I usually swim Sat-Sun since the hubby can watch the kids, then if I can squeeze in a night swim after the kids go to bed once a week and maybe a daytime swim another day if my mom can watch the kids. That gets me to a goal of 4 swim workouts a week. There is NO way I can do weights at the gym (my gym time is dedicated to the pool) so I try to do a dryland/weight routine at home a couple times a week while the baby naps. Knee PT is also squeezed in during naps or after the kids go to bed.

It helps to be flexible, always try to have your gear together, and lower your expectations when things get crazy with work or family. My swimming can go into survival mode at 2x/week... but over Nov/Dec it dropped to 0x/week and that sucked. Good luck.

KEWebb18
March 3rd, 2010, 08:25 PM
Katie, you might browse the WSJ's The Juggle. http://blogs.wsj.com/juggle/

In today's issue there was a column on people who attempt to do it all on very little sleep.

I'm trying to bank as much sleep now so that when I have kids I won't miss it so much. :)

Seriously though, my sister (a runner) has been known to wake up at 4:00 am to go to the gym while my brother in law sleeps/stays with the kids. Then when my sister got home, he would head to the gym. That was when they were both training for marathons. I am afraid that is what we are going to have to do when the time comes for us to have kids.

pwb
March 3rd, 2010, 08:54 PM
Seriously though, my sister (a runner) has been known to wake up at 4:00 am to go to the gym while my brother in law sleeps/stays with the kids. Then when my sister got home, he would head to the gym. That was when they were both training for marathons. I am afraid that is what we are going to have to do when the time comes for us to have kids.Yes, indeedy. Balance becomes even trickier if your spouse is an athlete. My wife and I not only negotiate/juggle kid responsibilities, but workout times. We both prefer/need to exercise in the morning given our jobs, so we generally alternate days during the week. However, that changes seasonally. For example, in the wintertime, if I drive the kids to school, she can run after I swim. In the summertime, she HAS to run early or else it's too darn hot (part of the reason I almost never seriously compete in LCM), which means I swim on different days. We literally talk schedules of my swimming. her running, kids carpools, kids swimming, etc. on a daily basis. It takes a lot of compromise and creativity (e.g., I've learned how to swim solo workouts over lunch when I can't make the masters workout in the AM), but the end result is worth it. More importantly, I think it's a great example for our kids to see both parents committed to exercise.

Bobinator
March 3rd, 2010, 08:57 PM
Home equipment is wonderful!
When my kids were young I had a treadmill (I hate running on them but it's better than nothing if you can't get out of the house),weights, and dvd's to exercise by.
I remember one day I couldn't leave the kids and it was beautiful outside so I ran laps around my yard/cul-de-sac for 75 minutes! My neighbors were sitting on their deck having cocktails; needless to say they made fun of me the whole time!
Just get creative and anything can be yours!

uknick
March 4th, 2010, 12:13 AM
Home equipment is wonderful!
When my kids were young I had a treadmill (I hate running on them but it's better than nothing if you can't get out of the house),weights, and dvd's to exercise by.
I remember one day I couldn't leave the kids and it was beautiful outside so I ran laps around my yard/cul-de-sac for 75 minutes! My neighbors were sitting on their deck having cocktails; needless to say they made fun of me the whole time!
Just get creative and anything can be yours!

Hear hear - I have a Concept 2 at home and have been known to spend two hours exercising on it before starting a "normal day". It is possible but not easy. :applaud:

aquageek
March 4th, 2010, 07:44 AM
There is zero balance in my family's life and it's a concept I have no interest in trying to achieve. I believe you do what you want and do it as hard as you want. Like pwbrundage and Fort, our lives revolve around fitness. Many non fit people would say it's totally out of balance but, to us, it seems normal and we all dig it.

thewookiee
March 4th, 2010, 07:56 AM
There is zero balance in my family's life and it's a concept I have no interest in trying to achieve. I believe you do what you want and do it as hard as you want. Like pwbrundage and Fort, our lives revolve around fitness. Many non fit people would say it's totally out of balance but, to us, it seems normal and we all dig it.

Agreed!

stillwater
March 4th, 2010, 10:44 AM
Agreed!

I agree with wook* too!