Wednesday, June 3, 2009
hamster wheel no more
I hit a wall last night. The kids wouldn't sleep, it was too hot. I had been with them all day and was really looking forward to sitting down on the couch and watching a movie. It took until 10:00pm to get the kids down, normally they go to bed at 7:00 and I really look forward to that time. As I was struggling to wait for the sleeping faeries to come for our little ones I began feeling resentful. I work all day long and once the kids are in bed, I work into the night as well. I wasn't getting a break and I knew in a few short hours that the little one would be up in the night...back at it again.
My day often consists of: dishes, laundry, groceries, emails, snacks, phone calls, picking up and dropping off at school, errands, emails, preparing for classes, following up on how families are doing, making meals, refereeing childhood squabbles, cleaning the house, writing on my blog or reading others, paying bills, did I mention emails? I am constantly juggling so many things in one given day and with my work, I don't set any limits. This is the challenge of the work at home mother, especially when your office is in the house, just off the kitchen. It is all too tempting to escape to my computer any chance I get. Often it is because I want to make sure that I am always available and sometimes it is just to escape to some kind of adult conversation or thought.
So as I was sitting on the couch last night, feeling like a truck ran over me, I had a moment of clarity. I need to set office hours. That's right. I'm going to be making a sign for my door so that I can see for myself, a reminder of when I should and should not be at the computer. A reminder that it is OK to just let the emails go for the rest of the day, a reminder to be present with my children, with the meals, with myself. If I don't do this, I think I will keep running on this hamster wheel of exhaustion which doesn't leave me the energy to do anything whole heartedly and I am going to return to that place of burn out that I am all too familiar with. It's hard for me to set boundaries like this, it will mean that I will have to sit with my children while they eat snack instead of using it as an excuse to run to the computer. This is my first step to finding balance as a stay at home/work at home mother. I'm starting to think an open/closed sign for the kitchen would be great too....
How do you create balance?