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.
Cooking and cleaning. Ha! I couldn’t possibly spend less time on this. Moving on…
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 I’m conflicted. 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?