I’m not just a web developer, coding away my day, even though that’s technically what pays my bills. I’m also a full-time mom, chef, maid, laundress, private children’s entertainer, repair woman, nurse, chauffer and so much more. There were days when I didn’t have a minute to take a deep breath. I turned into a giant ball of stress and anxiety, driving my husband batshit crazy and causing myself even more stress making it impossible to relax. After a mild breakdown that involved tears, yelling and many grey hairs I have found a way to break out of the montony of code, vacuuming and changing diapers though that have seemed to calm my stress levels down…
Time outs for ME.
Yes, those very things every parenting magazine, blog and newsletter recommend are what I have finally understood the importance of. And not just for child-rearing. For work. Working at home is hard. Really hard. It’s hard doing it on your own, but amplified even more so when you juggling two full time jobs at the same time. Working at home you often forget to take breaks because your work is always there, just one computer screen or [insert your own work at home tasks here] away. Sitting down to check your email can very likely roll into a two hour work session.
Typically my day went something like this:
- 7am – Wake up! (Or, in my case – first alarm)
- 7:10am – alarm again
- 7:20am – alarm (ok, you get the idea. This happens until 7:40, when I jump out of bed and in a mad dash wake up my 4 year old, make breakfast and lunch while he gets dressed, brushing of the teeth, and then running out of the door by 8am for the bus.
- 8:10am – Work OR if my youngest Sesaly (almost 10 months) is awake – change, feed and play with her, until she is settled enough when I CAN start work.
- 11am – Sesaly nap time, mommy shower time
- 11:45/12pm – WORK MOAR
- 1:00pm – Sesaly awake. Change, feed, play.
- 2:30pm – WORK (possibly with a child(ren) yelling, whimpering or fighting in the background)
- 3:30pm – Bus pickup for Isaiah, afternoon snack
- 4:00pm – WORK
- 6:00pm – Dinner, Playtime, baths
- 8:00pm – Kid’s bedtime
- 8:30pm – WORK/TV time. And I don’t mean work OR TV. I mean working while I’m watching TV.
- 11/12 up until 2am – sleepy time!
As you can see, there was no Lindsey time. No breakfast or lunch times for me either. I was running off of Red Bull, cheese sticks and the occasional snack here and there.
Giving myself breaks a few times throughout the day and doing something for me has helped my head from exploding into a billion little pieces. My breaks aren’t scheduled now, but when my eyes start feeling strained or my kids are starting to get on my nerves, I take a break. Mostly I choose to do silly trivial things, like playing a video game, painting my nails, reading a chapter of a book or just zoning out while watching TV.
I’m not perfect. Taking twenty-thirty minutes to play a level of Mario, talking on the phone with my best friend or watching Judge Judy allow me to breathe and not annoy my family with nagging and trivial rants. If that means dinner is late, so what? Doesn’t make me a bad mom or wife. So what if I missed my opportunity to vacuum for the day? I’m pretty sure sanity > cleanliness (except if you are my mother then sanity = cleanliness). The dirt will still be there tomorrow just waiting for me to attack. Dishes in the sink overnight? Oh well. Maybe my husband will see them and lend a hand instead of just expecting clean dishes to magically appear in the cabinets each day.
Don’t forget about yourself ever. I turned into a raging maniac for a while squawking about “doing everything”, but completely missing the point that the world will not end if I don’t have a tidy home every single day of the year, go to every event known to man at my children’s school or spend a few minutes just for me.