My days have been busy with having a day job, spending family life and getting my online business off the ground.
Even if this wasn’t enough, I have been an athlete, competing in marathons and triathlons as well. These hobbies are very time consuming – especially if you want to succeed.
When it comes to my successes in these sports, the results varied.
Sometimes I was able to climb up to the highest ladder on the podium (for example I became a Finnish championship in cross triathlon in 2008 with 1 km of swimming (0.6 miles), 15 kilometers of riding a mountain bike (9.3 miles) and 7 kilometers of running (4.3 miles)) or running a marathon with in a very decent time (3.15.28 is my personal best).
Then, things changed as me and my wife had a baby in 2011. My plans for racing my first IronMan distance triathlon had to go and I decided to slow down my exercising pace, since I wanted to dedicate more time with my family.
The racing season 2012 ended in October and I had made a decision that was a biggie for me but would also help my family: I decided to quit racing.
There is only so much you can do …
Let’s put things straight: I love sports and I love competing. For the most parts it’s against myself, but at times I loved how I had to give out 100% of me to reach the podium places.
At the same time, being an endurance athlete is very time consuming – especially if you want to do the job well. And even though if you aren’t a professional one, you still want to do your exercises and races as well as possible.
There is nothing wrong with this if you have all the time in the world, but having a family and building your online business on the side, either one is going to be affected. And truth to be told, I didn’t want to jeopardize the time with my family with mediocre racing results (yes, even if I reached some podium places).
I realized two things: I was spreading myself too thin and I couldn’t have it all – at once.
Having too many activities at once wasn’t helping me to focus on my family, nor was it giving me enough time for my online business.
Also, having everything right now wasn’t realistic. I knew that certain things could just wait and I could try them later if I wanted (like racing in an IronMan race).
Everything has it’s time and place
When the season 2012 started; I decided to reduce the amount of training. And even with this decision I felt guilty: Every minute I spent on exercising I wasn’t spending with my family.
So what made me still to hold on to exercising and to sports so tightly – even when I had a wife and a baby?
Well, I had changed my lifestyle radically couple of years ago – by turning myself from a coach potato to an athlete. I was thinking that if I had to give up racing, I’d end up being a coach potato again.
But there was another, bigger concern that made me feel guilty too and it was my spouse’s well-being. You see, our “me time” balance was somewhat out of whack.
I might come home from work, put my training gear on, leave the home and come back hours later after an exercise. This somewhat worked when there were just two of us, but now – after having a baby – things were different.
I was working 8 hours a day at the office, while my wife was taking care of our son at home during that time. And when I had my exercises in the evening, her own time was pretty much non-existent.
I wanted to improve our personal time usage for the better. This would result a better time balance inside the family and my wife would have at least a moment for her own time, once a day.
How to spend more time with your family
You might have a similar situation in your life too where something is taking a lot of your time. Then, when your family grows, you have to make decisions and change your priorities to reflect the new situation.
In order to have a better time balance inside your family, consider the following steps:
1. See from their perspective. Try to figure out what your spouse is going through. Talk with him/her and see what his/her day looks like. Then reflect that information to your life and see is everything you do really necessary right now.
2. Be unselfish. Don’t just think of yourself, think others too. Even if this means giving up on something, then this is how it’s going to be.
Some unselfishness will make a lot of good for your family and keeps everyone happy.
3. Feel grateful what you have now. Appreciate the fact that you have a family. Especially if your kids are still small, try to spend as much time with them as possible.
Also, make sure you and your spouse have enough common time together.
4. Things are just temporary. Realize that when you give up on something, it’s perhaps just temporary.
In my case the decision was to give up on racing for a couple of years, but at the same time I knew that I’m able to continue later again if I wanted.
This made my initial decision of quitting racing much easier.
When a baby arrives in your home, your life will change. It’s also important to understand, that sometimes you have to temporarily give up on something – even if you are passionate about it.
This is for the good of your family, as you are making an unselfish decision to focus on them – instead of your personal activities.
Spend more time with your family now – and especially with your kids. They truly appreciate that.
And by the way, ever since I made the decision to quit racing, I felt relieved. And now when I exercise (with much less intensity than before), I have more time to enjoy it.
Over to you: What was the thing you had to let go when you formed a family?