July 24, 2009

Niece-week lessons

1. If you can get the kid interested in the habit -- it'll happen. Turns out, my niece loves yoga. And waking her up isn't too much fun. The first few minutes in the morning, she is groggy, tired, whiny, etc. So, when I suggested we do yoga every morning, and she thought this was a great idea, I was thrilled. 10 minutes of physical activity does wonders towards killing the groggy, tired & whiny.

End result? I've done more Sun Salutations this week than I have since last winter holidays, when I was *on vacation* and headed to the yoga studio every day. No way would I have had the focus and dedication to do sun salutations every morning, especially the mornings after I'd already ran and we were pressed for time. But, if the kid wants to do up-dog, down-dog, plank, warrior 1, breathing, etc. before sugar cereals in milk (because, hello, I'm one of the cool aunts. I get to provide the sugar cereal treats!) -- then by all means, we're doing it.

2. I work more than I realize. This week, I finally realized that on an average week night, I send 5 emails between the hours of 7:00 and midnight when I think of myself as *not working.* It's too easy -- go to bathroom, check the email (both personal and work), write a quick response. Spend time surfing and if something comes in (either personal or work), write a quick response. Also, I've learned that regardless of what's going on, I explicitly check work email at least once before sleep and, usually, I end up scheduling at least one call to discuss the emergencies that have arisen and need to be dealt with the next day.

This week, with a child, I'm truly not working *for reals* for many of the hours between 7:00 and midnight. Not even the little bit that I didn't used to count. So those emails don't go out. And I'm less responsive. Clients are less happy. The next day is more stressful. In other words, if I were to have a child (which I'm not planning to do), areas where I don't even think of myself as productive would suffer. And I probably wouldn't be able to predict how it would affect me, because I wouldn't even notice I was productive in those areas until they were gone.

3. The entertainment value of a child changes the work-reward analysis. I found that it was much easier to get over my bad/boring/frustrating days at work this week because I came home to someone with an inquisitive mind with happy stories to tell full of wonder, questioning, and just general good will. She really caused me to think and question my viewpoint on a regular basis. It was so rewarding that, I understood, in a very clear way, how, if I had a (couple of) kid(s), I could choose a job or career options that are less fascinating, challenging or rewarding in exchange for more financial, temporal, or location stability because the kid(s) would be providing much of the emotional and mental stimulation that I needed.

I think that covers the big ones.

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