Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How to do it?

How do we do it - working, mothering,partnering- without losing our "selves" along the way?

My question comes from a place I've found myself in - a place I don't want to be in- but, nonetheless, I am.

I knew it wouldn't be easy to go back to work again, to three days a week, but I had hoped I would be able to juggle it, along with all the other roles I have, in an elegant fashion.

But, here I am, fumbling, dropping the balls, grasping desperately to pick them all up again...

Things coast along reasonably well when we get into a routine, when I stick to the "plan", but when events conspire against me, everything tumbles.

This past week has been difficult, and I feel exhausted. It is noone's fault. It is just how life can be.

The week started with Lily feeling sick. She is our most available and able, willing babysitter. With her out of action, the rest of us have to do a little more to keep our littlest one occupied.

Then both Freya and Charlie had colds. That meant more tiredness and misery.

I too fell down with the dreaded lurgy. Only I soldiered on, kept working, kept mothering, kept house-wifing.

Then Mike went away overnight on Friday and came home Saturday afternoon, sleep deprived and suffering from a terrible toothache. His toothache had him out of action all weekend, doped up on painkillers and feeling awful.

Then Freya got something in her eye, it was swollen and sore, and she really wasn't up to doing very much.

Add to this netball trials, grocery shopping, after school tutoring (I'm the tutor, and I finish at 5.15pm, twice a week), meals to be cooked, laundry and general mess and mayhem caused by a three year old.

I find my brow furrowed. I have to tell myself to stop frowning. I feel stressed. Getting dressed for work is so, damned hard...could I please just wear my sweatpants??? I fall into my chair at the end of a long day and fall asleep at 8pm. I can't find time to exercise, let alone meditate....

This morning my darling husband noted that, because I get up at 6 a.m, and he sleeps on til 7, that I should use that extra hour to get ready for work, so that the hour from 7 - 8 a.m (when we leave the house) won't be so stressful...I don't think he saw the irony in it at all- that hour is the only one that I get where I don't do anything much, other than drink a cup of tea, read my favourite blogs and forums.

When am I supposed to have some time to myself? How do you juggle it all? Any suggestions?

I'd love to be a stay at home mum, as I was the last three years, but I can't keep that up. The mortgage needs to be paid, and the children like to be fed. I also don't want to lose my permanent position at the school.

So, what I need is is useful, helpful ideas. Some family support would be nice, but that is sadly lacking.

Soldiering on.....


  1. Hi Ange
    I really feel your pain, as go round in circles at times feeling the same frustrations (and I am a stay at home mam!). It is so hard to balance the demands of your family/home and work and find the space you need to keep sane. We also totally lack any family support (they are all on the other side of the world). I don't have any very useful suggestions. I have been staying up late to get some time to myself, but this does have the negative effect of making you tired the next day. How about negotiating an hour or two at the weekend with your hubby to have a bit of time to yourself (I know from personal experience that this can be harder than it sounds).
    Another suggestion could be using half of your morning hour (oh, that precious hour!)to do an exercise video or go out for a walk/jog). Times in my life when I have been motivated to start the day like this have been good, as you feel refreshed and also have the sense that you have accomplished something for wellbeing of mind and body (you could have your cool down half hour catching up on reading).

    Sending virtual hugs your way and positive vibes to keep soldiering on. Hopefully too your family will all start to feel better soon as it so hard when they are sick . Best wishes

  2. Well it's the eternal problem, ain't it just - how to combine motherhood and work. I wouldn't fiddle with that free hour in the morning for anything - I do pretty much the same :)

    Is the tutoring extra work not connected to your job? Can you let it go, now you're back teaching? Perhaps make a list of stuff you do, and see if you can buy it in instead or get someone else to do it - so if cooking dinner on work days is the issue, for example, give one duty to Guthrie et al, one to the take out shop and one batch dinner from the freezer. Do you have cleaner?

    I know being exhausted is tough - but do remember, it's a good tired too. It is the tired of happy family life. It is only a stage - in the next year or 2, Charlie will need much less looking after. Many blessings to be counted here.

    Am tempted to recommend a nice steak, a bottle of wine and a chocolate pud - but I am sure they are probably forbidden on your diet! xx

    BTW - I saw Jollster's news and was so delighted for her - hope it all goes well for her.

  3. Thanks ladies, it means so much just to be heard and understood.

    Lou, I have considered exercising in the morning- it really is the most sensible solution to the exercise dilemma, but as much as I know that, I find it so hard to drag myself away from the hot cup of tea and slow start. I'm not always by myself either - oftentimes, Charlie is awake too, which means no chance of proper exercise - just a slow stroll.

    You are right Susan- it is a good tired- I'm so lucky to have a family, and this is the life I wanted, I just need more hours in the day, and more energy!

    Actually - the diet would allow me to have all those things - but the choc pudding would be sweetened with xylitol or something. I don't use fake sweeteners though, I occasionally treat myself, and have to admit to eating chocolate yesterday (on my day off, my little boy actually had an afternoon nap!Yay!)whilst watching a movie. Bliss!

    Yes, Jollster's news is marvelous. I too feel very happy for her.

  4. My juggle looks a lot easier than yours with only 1 child but I can suggest re work clothes : several dark coloured trou/ skirts ie don't show dirt along with few bright /print tops that mix and match. Works well for me because I know whenever I buy a work top it just has to go with black or the dark denim skirt I have and will look good and I have a couple of black cardigans to go with them. I try to buy stretch tops and NEVER buy items that say dry clean only. I end up with kind of a work uniform but takes the angst out of choosing clothes each morning that look good together. I also try hard to buy trousers and skirts with a bit of stretch in them so they feel but don't look like trackies.