Posted on September 18, 2014
by Heather Laura Clarke
I spent most of the day thinking that I was much, much busier than last week, but a quick check of my calendar shows that, no, I was this busy last week. And the week before. And also the week before that.
Busy is good. It’s excellent, actually, when you’re self-employed, because it means you are keeping clients happy and bringing in income. I love what I do, and I believe I do it well. But I think I’m taking on too much, at the moment.
“This week is a blip!” I tell Darling Husband, when I’m stressed out about deadlines and complaining about interviews not calling me back. “It’s one of those busy weeks where I get all crazy, and then the work gets done, and then I’m fine again.”
But these busy weeks are happening all of the time.
The tightness in my throat is there a lot. The worry about disappointing a client if I say no. The overscheduling myself because I’m sure I can write X number of articles or assignments in a single three-hour period, and then I can’t … so I have to work late into the night
. The anxiety about trying to make an impossible deadline, when none of my interviews will call me back. CALL ME BACK, GUYS! FOR REAL?!
People talk about how self-employment is great, because you’re your own boss (yup) and you get to set your hours (sort of). What they don’t talk about NEARLY OFTEN ENOUGH is what it does to your sanity, because … the buck? Yeah, it stops with you.
I used to just work during naptime/quiet time. But with Darling Husband’s current rotation, I spend the mornings with the kids — preschool drop-offs, pick-ups, gymnastics with C, errands, etc. — and then I’m racing down to my office at 12:31 (he gets home at 12:30) and I’m staying there until 4:30 or 5 p.m.
Two or three nights a week, I fly out the door to Zumba class
. By the time I get home (6:30), I have about 20 minutes to catch up with Darling Husband before he goes to bed (2 a.m. worky wake-ups are a bitch).
He’s in bed by 7 p.m., and I spend an hour or an hour and a half with the kids — including shower/bathtime, books, prayers, etc. They’re in bed by 8:30 at the latest, and then I’m trucking back downstairs to my office to work until 10:30 or 11 p.m.
This? This is my life lately. It’s exhausting.
Here’s what I’m going to do to try to make it better:
- Make more time for D. I’m going to block off a few hours a week (a good chunk of a weekday afternoon) to spend time exclusively with four-year-old D. I feel like I never get one-on-one time with him anymore, now that he’s in preschool three full mornings a week (and we’re hanging with his sis on the other mornings). He loves to make crafts and sew projects, so we’ll do that. Maybe even sneak off to a movie one afternoon, while Darling Husband stays here with a napping C.
- Be more intentional about my time with C. My girl and I spend three mornings alone together each week, while big bro is in preschool. We do a parent/tot gymnastics class on Monday mornings, and we’re going to be attending a Friday playgroup starting this week. Wednesdays, I’m keeping as our “free” day for errands and whatnot. But I’ve been guilty of letting her play on the iPad while I clean the house, check emails, etc. I want to plan more fun Mommy/Daughter activities for us.
- Find more alone time with Darling Husband. His work schedule and my work schedule are complete and utter opposites at the moment, which is really hard. We see each other for about 20 minutes, total, on too many days. Yes, this means we don’t pay for childcare, but it’s also rough on a marriage. I’m going to start blocking off the evenings when he’s off, so I can see them in the calendar and look forward to them. I also want to plan a lighter workload one day, in the middle of his rotation, so we actually have an hour to sit and hang out while the kids are down for quiet time. Talking to my husband for more than 20 minutes! Imagine that!
- Be more careful about scheduling my work. Yes, I’m insanely organized. My series of colour-coded Google calendars is legendary. BUT! I often think I can fit in more than I really can. I need to be MUCH. MORE. CAREFUL. about only taking on what I can handle. I HATE working after the kids are in bed, because (A) I work much more slowly, because I’m zonked, and (B) I need time to myself! (Or time to spend with Darling Husband, if he’s off that night).
Lofty goals, right? Let’s see how I do. Wish me luck!
I don't know how you do it! Good luck. I hope you get some 'me' time 🙂