A year ago, in a very similar room to the one I am sitting at the moment, I wrote about guilt. It was our second year at Club Med, and little did I know that it would be our second year in a row with Baby S with pneumonia. I felt guilty to leave him at the club, guilty to book holidays where I would not be all the time with my children, guilty for the moments in between things when I was not skiing. Guilty for not attending classes, guilty for not using up the week to its extreme. I am tired of writing about so much guilt. I want no guilt.
This year, I have been saying out loud how I do not want to spend all my time skiing. I know, it is odd, why do you go skiing then? Well, I definitely want to ski, but I don’t want to be bound by the schedules of group classes. More importantly, I don’t want to be bound by feeling that all the time my kids are at the club, I HAVE to ski.
Economically speaking, it is a sunk cost. And as an economist, it is impressive how often I forget this. A sunk cost is something you paid to get a product or money you have invested in a business and, even though you may not like what you bought or the business you are in is burning cash, you keep on thinking you have to get your money’s worth . Like me skiing, I have to get my money’s worth. But let’s face it – I have paid for it already. I am here already. No extra amount of suffering will make this spend any better. It is a sunk cost and so it is up to me to do what I feel with the time left.
Baby S more often than not just does not like the club. Even though he has told me tomorrow he is not going to cry, he has also told me before falling asleep he does not want to go. Now, who wants to go on their second day of skiing anyway? Well I certainly know that I don’t. But I know that being in a club like this will be the best way for him, given my absolute lack of ability to teach him how to ski. So that is how I resolve that part of the guilt. Rationally, he is better off by being there.
The other part of the guilt, I decided to resolve by having him next to me more often than usual. I picked him up early for lunch, we played outside, I picked him up early for the afternoon and we had pancakes and candy together. I also don’t have to be bound by having to let him there the entire day. And that made my guilt be much smoother. He is mostly there to learn how to ski – not only so that I can ski. In time, as he starts enjoying the Petit Club, then maybe he will be like Little Girl C, eating her pasta at a speed never seen before so she can quickly leave the table and go watch the evening show. Then, guilt will have no company.
Self-care with no guilt
So now we have sorted that I feel less guilty about leaving the children at the club. I even feel less guilty about giving Baby S the kindle full of Paw Patrol at dinner time (at least I am not putting him back at the club right?). But there is one last step to be taken, one that many mothers struggle. Self-care. What if I just chose not to ski for an hour and go to the pool, go read a book, go swim, go sleep, go do nothing. Last year I thought I’d do it, but really I only did so because Baby S had fever so I had him napping and used the time to be at peace. But this year, what do I do with the feeling the best thing for me will not be being on my skis the entire time.
It is hard. I only get to ski a week a year, and I know I will miss it when I am gone. But let’s face it. When is the other time when everyone around me is having such a good time (well mostly), I don’t have to work and I can chose to do what I feel like. None really. There is always a trade-off. At least here the rules of the game are very well established, so I should know exactly what and when to count on things. If only I can take the extra step.
Yesterday afternoon, as I chose to wait for Baby S’ class, I chose to come to the room and spend some time on the charity. I know you are thinking – working, that is not self-care!! But for me, that kind of is, because having things done in UPG is something that makes me feel accomplished (though the reverse is always true and happens more often). I know I had the excuse that I was waiting for Baby S class to begin, but in fact I could have skied 2 turns on the long run in front of the hotel and probably still be ok.
A small goal
This holiday, I want to give myself a break. I want to find a new way of being with myself. One where there is a place for me on the list as well. I have a good starting excuse. I have been suffering a fair amount from my back and don’t think I can cope with the pain of skiing too many hours in one go. So that should get me started to limit my hours on the slopes.
And even on the slopes I am taking it easy on myself, knowing that I can ski all of them but really rather not. But these are all excuses. The big goal is to do at least 1 hour doing something for me, without feeling the need to make up a reason.
I want to rather have time with me. Write. Be here. I will tell you how I did on the next Viewpoint edition…