Saturday, March 24, 2007

How to be good

I try to be good, I do. For the last couple of years I've been going to the gym to keep fit; it's worked, I'm over a stone lighter, look better, feel better. However, to do this, I've been getting up at 6.30am at least three times a week. I also want to be a good, attentive, fully involved father; I want to spend time with Millie and help get her ready in the morning. When she wakes up in the middle of the night I want to help settle her. I also want to be good at work; productive, hard working; I want people to think that I've put in a shift. I don't want them to think I'm one of those senior managers who make money for old rope.

I also want to make my contribution to saving the planet. When Millie was born our weekly rubbish doubled overnight. We're now voracious recyclers; all food goes in the compost, plastics, tins and papers go out fortnightly. Cardboard - which isn't picked up by the council - is put in a bag and taken to the recycling centre. I also want to have a nice house; clean, tidy and stylish. I want to buy fresh, organic food from local producers. I want to use public transport.

So, Millie wakes up in the night which makes me tired. Getting up at 6.30am for the gym becomes really hard. When I do manage it, I sacrifice the opportunity to get her ready in the morning. I could go at 7.30; which means going in a bit later, which is fine because it fits in with our flexible working policy. But people who come in late; particularly managers; are frowned upon, regardless of the policy. Even if I get in at 9.30 it means I have to work later, which again means missing Millie's bedtime. I would like to take the train to work, but it means getting in at 7.15 (ridiculously early and missing the gym) or 9.45am - which is frowned on and means having to leave late at night.

When I get home, we give Millie a bath, put her to bed, wash her bottles, and then eat. The temptation, especially at weekends, is to get a takeaway, most of the time we don't, we cook proper food, but we don't have time to go to a famers' market and we do have a broadband connection. This means much as I loath it; a Tesco online order is terribly convenient. Even when we cook, rather than scooping the waste into the bin we look to recycle. The recycling boxes are in the garden, on a cold dark night you don't really want to venture outside. So the tins and waste food are left ready to be put out when time and energy allows, which obviously makes the house a bit of a mess.

It's just not possible to be fitter, healthier, more productive all at the same time. All the same, I wouldn't go as far as saying I was a pig in a cage on antibiotics.


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