Friday, November 16, 2007

Sloooooowly Sinking...

I've been exhausted for a long time now. I take care of my kids all day every day and then work on the computer after I put them to bed. Then on weekends, when I should be enjoying the days of co-parenting with Alex, I work and he takes all the kid-work. I've counted my hours and I'm working almost full time on top of staying home with my kids.

When I tell people that midnight is an early bedtime for me, they are generally surprised.

I have had many well-meaning people tell me that I need to cut something out so I'm not working all the time. But I honestly don't know what I can get rid of. Maybe you have suggestions.

The SAHM gig. I'm pretty sure people with court orders would come take my kids away if I gave up on this part of my life. Plus, I love my kids more that I love the other jobs I have, so this one is a keeper.

The part-time data entry and Internet research job. What began as a "Hooray! Found money!" sort of thing has turned into a "They cut your check two days ago; why isn't it here yet?" kind of thing. This probably takes the bulk of my evening time, but for the most part, it's mindless and easy and actually kind of relaxing. There are a couple aspects of it I'd rather not do, but I've never been very good at telling employers that I can't do something. Not to mention that I will NEVER find another part-time, work from home, work whenever the hell I want to, with mellow bosses job.

Blogging. Oh, hell no, you're not taking my blogosphere away. I feel like I just found you. And, honestly, writing every day, in the style that has always come easier to me than any other kind of writing? And with the added benefit of new and fun interactions? Plus the benefit of "meeting" a whole slew of other smart women out there writing for themselves too? Nope. Not giving that up. I've already cut down on the time I spend on this (mostly apparent in shoddily written posts), but it's one of the things I enjoy more than anything else. And my point was not to cut down on my fun time, but to cut down on my stress time.

Volunteer positions. I totally got saved from a PTA job I volunteered for. Somehow by offering to help stuff the teachers' mailboxes with copies of the PTA newsletter, I was awarded the job of being entirely in charge of the printing/copying and distribution of the newsletter. In a twist of sublime fate, the newsletter editor's son got a spot at one of the spanish immersion schools, requiring her resignation as editor of the newsletter. I was at the PTA meeting when the president announced this and shrank in my seat, afraid that she would point at me to take over. Instead, two other people raised their hands and said they could edit and distribute it. Ah, sweet ex-newsletter editor, friend though you might have become, thank God you're no longer at this school.

I have a position on my MOMS Club board, and I do five minutes of work every three months, whether I need to or not, so I think this is something I don't have to cut out.

I am the Membership VP for my kids' preschool. I think I may have mentioned this before. This takes a fair amount of work, including checking the voicemail every single day, giving tours of the school, talking to every. single. person. who wants to go there, and generally making sure that the school is full every year. I can't quit this job mid-year, but I'm resigning at the end of the year and making my friend H do the job. Thank God! I mean, you'll love it, H. (On a related note, if you live in my area and are looking for a kick-ass school, let me know.)

Continuing my admittedly half-assed job of being a wife. I probably shouldn't give this up, because Alex is a good guy. And he does the laundry and feeds the kids breakfast. And, in fact, the whole point of this plan to reclaim some time is to give some to me, but also to give some to Alex. So it would sort of defeat the whole purpose if I slashed this area of my life.

My videography business. I've put this last because it is something that gives me both tremendous joy and tremendous stress. I could link to all sorts of posts to prove that second assertion, but I feel far too lazy and am pressed for time because I have one particular project I just want to get done. And done tonight. Because if I get it done tonight, maybe the little ball of tight stress in my chest (just below and to the right of the heart) will go away. There are certain types of projects I love doing. But there is one particular type that, while professionally lucrative and potentially satisfying, causes me a great deal of grief. (Not due at all to my clients, who are possibly the most understanding people I have ever met in my entire life.) I just want to do a good job for them, and the job is at the very top of my comfort zone, so I am pushing all the time. I think maybe if I take some time off from big projects I might feel better. And honestly, because this is the work I mostly do during the days on weekends, eliminating this for a couple of months might really improve my state of mind. Of course, I've sunk so much damn money into this endeavor that I can't give it up before I get back in the black.


Please don't construe this post as whining (although I am). I realize how lucky I am to have these sorts of opportunities, and I'm glad that these are my worst complaints. I just sort of want to get it out on paper (or computer) and see where it leads me. I'm also curious as to what you would all tell me to do. Honestly, my plan is probably to cut small chunks out of each of the above categories (except maybe the parenting and wifing ones) and see where it gets me. What do you do when you feel like your responsibilities are starting to suffocate you?


  1. First and foremost: PLEASE do not stop blogging.

    I feel your pain. I'm trying so hard to learn to say no and "prioritize" my time. It's much easier said than done.

    You'll find a way to cut back, but I know it won't be easy. Luckily your Membership VP position will be gone by when, spring? That sounds like it will open up quite a bit of time right there. And frankly, if you don't care so much about the part time job, ditch it. It's clear that your passion is with your new videography business.

    But again, please do not stop blogging. (and congrats for getting out of the PTA job...that's the last thing you need right now)


  2. here's the deal... screw multitasking. It's impossible when you have 3000 things to do, they require tons of energy, and they involve different parts of your intellect (or none at all). Divide your life into fours. Three items are the constant priorities (at least this is all I can handle--mine are kids, husband, and paid work). The three things aren't usually evenly divided either, but I try to give equal time in the top spot! The fourth space is for what I call the shuffle! Everything else goes in this space. It's kind of like an IPOD (or what I imagine an IPOD to work like since I don't have one)... sometimes you choose the song and other times it's just what pops up. I am usual good to go unless my shuffle space is guiding me more than my priorities.

    Good luck! I really related to this post!

  3. I've always said I don't know how you do it, Stimey ... besides all the other stuff you do, you are a GREAT MOM. For a very long time, I was utterly convinced that you were the perfect mom. (Now I know better -- there is no perfect mom!) So cut yourself some slack and find some time for yourself somewhere. I don't see things like reading in the list ... is there a way to spend LESS time on the weekend work or preschool VP position? I know it's hypocritical of me to mention (since I took one of your FABULOUS tours last week) -- but maybe you could consolidate them more, do them only once every week or two to save time? It sounds like a really time-intensive job.

    (And yes, the school is totally awesome. Totally.)

  4. Speed. I've got some in my drawer at work from the doctor that can't figure out any other way to help me lose weight. Okay, I'm kidding. I mean, I DO have it, but I'm not sharing.
    I have no idea what you should do or not do. I got tired just reading your description of your activities so I'm no good now.

  5. Oh, I feel you on this. I took on our PTA's monthly newsletter in 2006, thinking it'd be for a year. WRONG! It's a two-year position. It's ten hours ot of my month that I KNOW could be put to good use elsewhere.


    I wish I had some answers for you.

  6. Let's put it this way: I don't know how anyone who does any work for money besides caring for their kids manages to also do volunteer work for the PTA. I guess I have always been selfish that way and still always felt overworked.


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