7am, Saturday morning, and I’ve migrated out to the couch with my laptop and coffee. My daughter accidentally woke me up at 5:45, and of course, because that’s almost a whole hour after when I normally wake up for work, I can’t fall back asleep. I gave up trying honestly, and decided some “me time” was in order. I banished the short one back to her room with a book, and the boyfriend is still asleep since he’s working nights for 2 weeks, so what better time than now?
I am simply exhausted lately, and it doesn’t seem like sleep is helping. Work has been the root cause lately to be quite honest, and it’s been coming for a long time. Our shop had some issues when we changed how we run the office last year, and they finally just snowballed into one big giant headache. Then you know, Murphy’s Law, and everything went wrong at once. I went in last weekend to meet with some co-workers, a plan was made, enacted, and fingers have been crossed. However, like any good plan, it takes a little time to implement, so this week was crazy as well.
Lets just say, working for hours (<- not an exaggeration) at home for a few weeks, and then combined with working late, through lunch, yada yada yada, I hit burn out status this week. Finally. I thought I had hit it a few times before, but nope, I was wrong. I hit it this week. Full on depression, tears, anger, lack of appetite, and all of that fun stuff. There were a couple moments this week where I started to question if I really wanted to stay there. If I really wanted to stay in this field for my career. Hell, there were a couple of moments this week, where I thought about how nice it would feel to just walk off, to go home and hang out with my kid when she got out of school. To be real here, I really did think about it.
Thankfully, I already knew I was burnt out. I knew it, I had known it was coming for a long time, so when I freaked out and had to go smoke a cigarette outside I was able to chill myself out. I did want to leave, to go home and quit, but I also knew that things were getting better, that I do love my job and would really regret leaving. Thankfully, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, so even though this week was quite frankly, HELL, I know it’s going to get better. One benefit I have over the other girls, which my GM has over me, is that I’ve been around for a couple of years. I’ve been through good and “meh” times, I know that we can run smoothly, and that this nonsense with the shop isn’t forever. It’s been a hard time lately, (weeks? months?), but I *do* love my job, and I know how good it can be. So I pulled my 12 hour days and dealt with it.
Which brings me full circle here, back to “me time”.
With work being so hectic, despite the light at the end of the tunnel, I have been working a lot. Then add in, parenting, which since I’ve been working so much, I devote all the remaining waking hours, minutes and seconds to my daughter, and then once she’s asleep, I try to have one and one time with the boyfriend (which still is lacking) before I go and pass out. Now read all of that, and let me know if you see “me time” in there at all? Nope? Me neither. Lacking that, turns me into a very cranky person to be around.
It’s hard learning to balance work, home and yourself, and it’s nearly impossible lately for me. I bust ass at work, and since things aren’t going right, that leaves me feeling inadequate. Then I come home and try and spend as much time as I can with the short kid, but as you all know, as a used to be stay at home mom, I already have feelings of inadequacy pertaining to my parenting. I spend so much time working, where as my original plan (pre-divorce and scumbag ex husband) was to be a stay at home mom, I already feel like crap for being a working-mother. (Although I know there is a ton of pride to be carried for working AND being a mother.) Then, I have a boyfriend to attend to, we don’t go out a whole lot anymore (by choice) but with the work I have to do from home… welp, at least we like the same sci-fi tv shows. Oy. So I already feel sucky on all three fronts, and deem it almost “not-deserved” to spend time for and on myself.
So driving home from work on Thursday I had a melt down. I had had such a horrible day, after many other horrible days in the office, and I had just said fuck it. I didn’t want to stay late, I didn’t want to do anything, I wanted to go pick up my short kid, and go home. I lost my shit. I drove the back way home, with some gnarly metal blaring, and let myself loose. I yelled, I cried, I yelled some more. By the time, I got in walking distance of daycare I calmed down. It had popped in my head that all of this stress is temporary, but I had forgotten that, and more importantly I had forgotten myself.
I came up with a plan. I decided to pick up my kid and bring her back to the office, I had some paperwork to do, and could most definitely do it with her there. She loves it there, so it’s not a huge thing. I wanted to go back and finish up, I would bust my ass to get through the last two days of the week, and then the weekend would be mine. So I muddled through, and Friday was much better. I still had to do the bring the kid to work after hours thing, but with the GM buying pizza, she was occupied and I was able to get the shiznit done. So once she passed out during the car ride home last night, I finalized my plan, or idea, or whatever you may.
- I spend a lot of my time out of work with my kiddo, however, a good chunk of that is rushing to get homework/dinner/bath/chores/etc done. So I’m going to start making it a point to go OUT and spend more one on one time together. We are going to go out and bum around doing things that not only she likes, but I like too, so it’s not only the daily rush with our time, it’s *more* fun stuff too. That way, if we have more fun things to look forward to, our week-day monotony won’t feel so negative.
- When the boyfriend and I are able to spend time together, I’m usually working on work stuff during, or we’re doing every day stuff like grocery shopping, or whatever. We do have our nerdy sci-fi nights, which (hahah, he totally digs!) is great, but I’m also going to make sure that we go out more, for dinner or whatever, to spend some kid free time with each other. If we can’t go out, then we’ll do our dorky sci-fi nights or something along those lines.
- Work is for the work week. I have enough work on my plate that I can easily work several hours each night from home, as well as on the weekend. I need to banish work from my home-life. Now, working from home comes with the salary, so I can’t get rid of it completely, but I’ve already made sure I don’t do work stuff unless Nood is working on homework (we have a portable desk that she sets up next to mine) or she’s in bed. And then, only for an hour or so. During the weekend, I’m limiting the time if not banishing it completely. I have to spend time on the family, and in all reality, after this week, there shouldn’t be much to do on the weekend, so it can wait until Monday. I can’t slack on work, but I can’t let it be more important than everything else.
- Lastly, I have to have “me time”. If I have to schedule it into my day, then I will. I am a full-time employee, a mommy and a girlfriend, and I cannot succeed at all of those if I don’t take care of myself. My writing suffers, my work suffers, my home and family suffer, and my job suffer if I don’t spend some time with me. So I’m making sure that I have some alone time with myself (since I’m so AWESOME), whether it be writing and coffee on a Saturday Morning, a night out with the girls on the weekend, or just wandering the mall or something during the week while Noodle is at school. I’ve put in my vacation time, and two days are scheduled for non-holidays. One is for Remicade, the other I have another doctor’s appt, but I took the full day off so I can hang out alone while Noodles at school. Start fresh. I think it’ll help. I plan on going to my favorite spot and writing, all by my lonesome. It’s needed. Regardless, I need to start taking care of me.
Just having a general idea makes me feel better. Knowing that I finished all of my work from the week, that I have a whole weekend to start fresh helps. I have to turn this around, because this burnt out feeling? Totally not cool, but it’ll change, and next time? I’ll be a little bit more prepared.