taking a step back

September 24, 2012

one of the things i try very hard at
is to recognize when i’m stuck on the wrong path, formulate an appropriate plan, and FIX THINGS so that i can be — well, happier.

i think that’s why gretchen rub in’s writing [her blog as well as her books] has spoken to me over the past few years.  it’s not that she advocates doing anything that is mind-blowingly original or shocking.  it’s just that she makes me feel NORMAL for undertaking my own happiness quests every so often — big or small — and even writing about them.

last week wasn’t very much fun.  fatigue played a significant role, and unfortunately i don’t see annabel’s sleep situation miraculously changing overnight [though i DO have tentative plans for sleep-training once she hits 6 months — which is soon].  but there were also a number of little things that were bothering me [perhaps because i was tired and therefore had a shorter fuse, but still . . .]

i laid awake last night and wrote a list [on my phone, in the dark]

specific things annoying me:
✔ our messy apartment.
✔ my failed attempt at cutting down on sugar.
✔ an overwhelming to-do list at work, including some rather painful [and gross] grunt work in lab.
✔ feeling very disorganized about said to-do list.
✔ too much time wasted on the internet.
✔ disorganized, disjointed wardrobe.
✔ not enough time — especially focused, present time — with annabel.  and feeling like her babyhood is just flashing by so quickly.
✔ a feeling of always feeling rushed.
✔ missed workouts [1 yoga + 1 run].
✔ overflowing email inboxes.
✔ schedules that i had to figure out [date nights, work schedules, etc — all important if i want to have things to look forward to!]

yeah, it’s a lot.
but somehow it really helped me to SEE all of this — to know exactly what i want to work on to improve things.  i’m not aiming for the elusive “all” or some sort of mommy perfection.  i am not trying to reach some special victorious destination.  i just want to feel better in the moment, while life unfolds all around me.  

so.  i’ll work on it.  i can spend a few minutes each night weeding through my wardrobe.  i WILL check off the looming work tasks, one by one.  i am going to stop worrying so much about sugar for the time being and just try to be reasonable about it — honestly, i found myself craving it MORE when i tried to give it up, and i think this goal may need to wait until after i’m no longer breastfeeding.  i am going to take a deep breath and try to FORGET all of the to-dos when i have time with annabel, and i am going to try to wake up a little earlier [and go to bed earlier!] so that mornings aren’t so rushed.

and i will give myself credit for every day, not just the ‘good’ ones.  because my intentions are good and  i am doing okay.

oh, and i also ordered a new planner.
i did enjoy using the bound for anything planner [see the link for my review], and i would still recommend the product to anyone looking for a compact package and custom experience.  plus, i’m proud of the company coming out of durham NC!  the quality was definitely there, but it honestly wasn’t enough space for me.  i found myself having to carry around additional lists, and trying to cram a million to-dos into the daily spaces.  i could have used the notes pages for this, but i don’t like having to flip back and forth.  
so in a moment of weakness last night, i pulled the trigger on an erin condren life planner.
photo from their website
this planner is a departure to my usual style and it’s definitely pricey for a planner, but something just pulled me in.  it’s girly, colorful, and TONS of space for goals, appointments, and to-do lists.  i customized mine with a family photo on the front [to bring me back to what is REALLY important every time i whip it out] and of course i’ll share my review once it arrives.

call and late night list-making aside,
this was actually quite a fun weekend.  other than the above splurge, highlights included:

♥ a 10.5 mi run at ??? pace [mapmyrun says 8:52/mi but i am pretty certain i’m not going sub-9.  do others find this app overestimates speed?]

♥ 2 whole foods trips with annabel [what?  it’s her favorite]

♥ 2 brunches out, with josh and a.

♥ a fun movie [what to expect when you’re expecting, which josh even admits he liked plus new music from aimee mann, ben folds five, and the head and the heart

♥ a decent amount of floor time

i love her serious ‘concentrating’ look . . .

♥ one new diabetic, but otherwise not a whole lot of pager action

♥ kitchen extravaganza tonight, including two batches of baby food [apple + carrot!] plus this uberhealthy real simple recipe:

quinoa with kale, sweet potatoes, and pesto

onward and upward!


  • Reply SArah March 10, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    Good choice on the planner! I have tried others and I keep coming back…it is just a happy planner with plenty of colors and quotes!

  • Reply anon March 10, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    love your list of what was bothering you. Isn’t crazy how such ‘little’ things can cummulatively make such a dent. Keep at it, its such a journey and your little one is just the cutest, cutest! She already seems like she will do great things with her intensity; reminds me so much of my daughter at her age==btw, she never slept either.

  • Reply Postdoc March 10, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    Not sure if anyone’s mentioned this yet, but cutting down carbs + sugar can *really* mess with your moods in the beginning. I had to go reduced-carb and sugar-free several years ago, because I kept getting really sick, and then was diagnosed with reactive hypoglycemia (5 hr GTT was not fun!) Those first few days of trying to keep my blood sugar stable with low-carbs and sugar-free were just *awful*. I swear there’s a physiological component where your brain and body is just used to higher levels of glucose, and trying to reduce this led to… not even just psychological cravings, but almost like trying to wean yourself off of a drug. I’d have crazy mood swings and be in a foul mood and really irritable and temper flaring and… well, it was just not pretty! (And usually I’m a pretty even-keel personality, so I was just as shocked as everyone else was at my crankiness.) I also would get more tired than usual. After a while of weaning down from carbs/sugar though, things definitely got *much* better and settled down! Since you’re an endocrinologist, I might be preaching to the choir here – but I wonder if your cutting down carbs/sugar is also playing a role in your moods/energy levels here (of course everyone reacts to these things differently, so you might not have the same reaction to this that I did). So I can totally understand if you don’t want to worry about it now. If you ever do tackle this again though, it definitely *does* get better, but those first few days can be brutal – so I really sympathize!! (PS – Annabel is more and more adorable each day, and you’re doing great! 🙂

    • Reply Postdoc March 10, 2019 at 7:17 pm

      (And yes, during this time, I was really craving a muffin like I assume a drug addict craves their next "fix"!)

  • Reply Anne March 10, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    You have a very smilling baby, since she was little… I think A. is very happy and beaming !

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

      she is extremely smiley 🙂 it makes me so happy!

  • Reply Lindsey March 10, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    Great choice on the EC planner! I love mine and will be ordering a 2013 one soon!

  • Reply Alison March 10, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    My list of annoyances is almost identical to yours…and at this moment I’m having mommy guilt for dropping off my babe and then turning around and coming back home to shower/dress/do dishes/tidy because I was too lazy to get my butt off the couch while she was sleeping last night. So, instead of quality time with me this morning, she got dropped off an hour earlier than necessary because I’m so obsessed with my to-do list and the dishes in the sink! Eeeep.

  • Reply Emily March 10, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    Hi Sarah!

    One thing that’s been really helping me with a lot of this-just lately, so maybe this comment is premature-is clearing out the things I don’t need. Mostly it’s been physical objects-the less stuff I have, the less time I spend cleaning, the easier it is to keep clean, the happier I am because I’m in an ordered environment, etc.-but I’ve also been thinking about priorities. What do I love doing and what’s not worth it? For example, in an *ideal* world I would love to be the person who cooks a healthy meal from fresh ingredients every night, but honestly cooking has become a chore for me and is not something I’m happy doing. So, I’m working on trying to ‘outsource’ it by batch cooking with my friends and swapping meals (I’m a college student) and making super-simple stuff/eating out/eating prepared food the rest of the time. So that’s something you could think about-what do you actually enjoy doing and how could you just eliminate what you don’t? Anyway, I thought you should know *I’m* always impressed with how much you do get done-I see all the pictures of delicious-looking food, happy Annabel, and notes about your runs and it sounds like you’re doing pretty well. Hope this week goes better!

    Haha and sorry for all my long comments-I’ll have to figure out how to say more in fewer words. 🙂

  • Reply kate March 10, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    map my run is THE WORST, go with the Nike+ GPS app, i think it’s free…

  • Reply Emily March 10, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    "and i will give myself credit for every day, not just the ‘good’ ones. because my intentions are good and i am doing okay."

    i really needed to hear this today. i’ve started a new job that is a huge challenge for me. i am not giving myself nearly enough credit for just getting through each day. thanks for this reminder.

    • Reply svettigamamman March 10, 2019 at 7:42 pm

      I agree, that sentence really spoke to me too. Sarah, you are doing so much. You DO deserve some credit. I think you’d give any other mother doing what you are doing credit, so be as kind to yourself too. You are inspiring!

      • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:42 pm

        i meant it! and you both should say it to yourselves, too 🙂

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.