The first yoga quest: downward-facing dog.

I have taken to writing weekly goals – maybe three or four things that I want to accomplish each week. They vary from starting a food journal, to cleaning the office, to finishing a craft, to something exercise-y. I have yet to complete any of them even though I have been writing them for four weeks now.

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The one that I always write every week, without fail or complete conscious recognition, is “complete 5 downward dogs”. They have always been so hard for me and I’d love to disavow them, but because they are critical in the sun salutation – and mastering said move is on the long term goal list – I have to practice.

It seems to be such a simple move.

Hands and feet on floor. Stretch. Cake, right?

Then you google it to read how to get into the position and there are five steps that require some pretty intense focusing. One a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being like a perfect downward dog and 1 being not even trying, I used *used* to be a 6. I could get the tailbone/pelvis thing to happen. It was my arms that just couldn’t take it. That was 10 years ago. So now I am at about a 2.

But there is something about this pose.

It is the pose that makes me realize that I’ve got to keep going. It has a weird driving force. It can’t stop with one downward dog. It is a quick addiction. It sucks but I love it at the same time. My calves burn. My hamstrings too. And let’s not even mention the tension in my shoulders and back. But with each one I feel something let go.

But maybe that is my obsession with this pose. With one slow movement I can assess all of the stress being pent up in my body. With all of my focus on breath and proper alignment I can feel where my soul is out of whack. As structured as this pose is, I sink into it like no other.

So this is why I put 5 downward dogs on my to-do list every week. Because once I do one, I do two, then three, then… well… you see where I am going with this.

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The Shifting Paradigm

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Pre-January 6th, 2014, my family unit was a two-working-parent household (mostly). I shuttled our son from home to daycare, then daycare to home, 5 days a week. He stayed in someone else’s care ~10 hours a day. Dadda was gone in the morning when we woke up and home when we got home just about every day. When we were home for the night, we had about 2 and a half hours of family time before bed. And we were all so exhausted that we were ALL in bed no later than 8:30. This was our paradigm from when Little E was six weeks old. We crammed FAMILY LIFE! into our weekends like it was going out of style. And family life didn’t just include trips to the park, love, and rainbows. It also included laundry, cleaning, meal prep, traveling to see the rest of our family, pet care, this list is a long one…..

It was manageable – or at least sort of – until December of 2013. Then our paradigm shifted ever so slightly. We went from having a daycare that was less than a mile away from our home to one that was about 10 miles away. The car rides to and from were unbearable. Grumpy kid = grumpy mom. Everyday. I couldn’t ride my bike to work anymore. I’d walk in the door with a cranky child and collapse on the couch while Eric cooked dinner and managed little E. It wasn’t that the daycare wasn’t awesome, because it was – obviously we liked it or we wouldn’t have continued to add 2 hours of car travel time to our day. But just spending 1 hour in the car every morning driving there and then 10 hours at work, then another 1 hour driving to daycare and then home was killing me. That 8:30 bedtime couldn’t come fast enough.

Then the other shoe dropped. At the end of the day on January 6th, Eric was laid off. It was unexpected. Just like the last time it happened (only a year before that, different circumstances, but still unemployed). He came home with his last paycheck in hand and that was that.

I don’t know about you, but money – money is the source of all of my anxiety. It always comes back to budget.

Anyway – we needed to look at our options. Our paradigm was about to change. Drastically. We are 3 weeks into making this stay-at-home-dad situation work. It isn’t a flawless system yet and we have a lot to work out. But even at Week 3 of our paradigm shift, it seems that we are better off emotionally (in most cases).

I know that there are other people out there that have made this transition. What have you found to ease the shift?

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Knowing is half the battle.

I am 35 years old. I make mountains out of mole hills. Scratch that. I make mountains out of a solitary grain of sand. And I can do it in about 1 hour. At least twice in the last week I have said something out loud with such a frantic “How is this even possible?” – both times to get a response like, “So what. How exactly does this affect you?”

I paused.

And I realized, it doesn’t.

To the friends that have pointed this out to me, thank you. Thank you for letting me be *that* friend. The one who brings the circus of what ifs with her. Thank you for listening whole-heartedly before gently reminding me that I’m being ridiculous.

I am still sitting here wondering why it took me 35 years to realize that I’m that friend. I’m the friend who is so good at getting herself into a tizzy about silly things. I create drama, but at least I don’t cause a complete spectacle. Maybe I will figure out a way to change. Maybe I will be this way for the rest of my life. But at least I recognize it – and knowing is half the battle… right?

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