If you are feeling like you are drowning in life; like you are stretched as far as you can stretch between parenthood and work; and if you are catching your breath as you think about everything that is coming, I want you to know that you are not alone. This message isn’t meant for everyone and it’s not a proclamation of what is “right” or “wrong” about any particular type of job. It’s not a political jab at any one side or even an over-generalization about how people, especially women, should run their lives. The purpose of writing this is simply to wrap my words around others who are feeling like I did and to say that I get it and maybe I can even help. If you are flying high, enjoying every moment, and balancing responsibilities like a champ, then I am sitting here clapping for you. Don’t change. But, if you have found yourself wondering when it’s going to slow down, how to calm your mind for the next round, and if there is any hope for an alternative reality, read on.
For me, working full-time felt like a constant and never-ending marathon. I was always behind. I could never complete all of my projects with the integrity and perfection that I desired. At work, I felt like I was robbing my family, especially when a child was sick or a parent was in the hospital. At home, I felt like I was robbing family by being ‘at work’ in my head. When I would miss work, I felt like I was disappointing my colleagues and students. It was an on-going struggle and I would love to tell you that after twenty years, I mastered it, but the truth is that I never did. Summer and winter break were just a role-shift from chaos to full-time parenting with an intent to “make-up” for the hurried and slack job I did during the school-year (as if that’s possible). Anxiety can be a serious and life-changing experience. There are many ways to address it and, for me, I needed to consider not only my own needs but those of my family.
The truth is that I continue to battle the anxiety and patterns of stress that I created over those twenty years. Now that I am working from home, my ability to manage tasks, responsibilities, and stressors has improved immensely. But, I have moments every single day when I start breathing heavily as I think about everything that I have to do. For a moment, I am taken back in my mind to working full-time out of the home and that feeling of “SOMEONE HELP ME! I CAN’T DO IT ALL!” washes over me. I literally stop in my tracks, slow my breathing, and talk myself out of it. I can feel the tension melt away down my neck, across my shoulders, and down my back. It takes a few minutes but it goes away. I remember that I’m not in that race anymore. I put on some essential oils and get back to work.
Working from home doesn’t mean that I suddenly have all the time in the world. I remember when Addison was born in 2007. I took a year’s leave of absence from my school district to be with her and Baylee [something they no longer allow, by the way]. I still had to work part-time to please my then husband, but for the most part, I was at home. I remember how insane it was trying to nurse the baby, homeschool the kindergartner, cook three hot meals a day, keep the house clean, and work. I remember thinking that working outside the home was a lot easier! So, don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to pretend that working from home is the cure-all to every problem. It definitely depends on the circumstances, life-season, and goals of the individual.
What has changed for me, now, is time-management. I had several personal goals when I quit my outside the home job: become a more well person (eat more wisely, exercise daily, meditate, pray, appreciate, be more disciplined in wellness in general); be more available for my oldest child (who can legally leave my nest in less than three years!!) and my two younger babes; get back the creativity and passion that I lost somewhere between moving to Virginia and teaching to the test.
So, it’s been four months now. What have I learned?
- I am a more well person. I drink a nutrient rich smoothie every single day. I nibble on vegetables and drink lots of water. My favorite part is that I can sip Bulletproof Coffee at my leisure without having to chug it and run. I eat when I’m hungry and I don’t have to scarf lunch down in a 15 minute window, nor am I eating whatever processed crud that I could stuff into my lunchpail from my fridge at 5:30am. I am meditating, doing yoga, getting some fresh air, praying, and appreciating every single day which is amazing! I’m able to manage my stress better and I can make time work for me now.
- I am available for my oldest. I feel like we are both “de-toxing” from the crazy lifestyle that we just dumped behind us. I’ll admit, she had/has a huge fear that I am going to suck at working from home and we’ll be homeless. She might be right. I’m game for getting an RV and traveling to trade shows, but she says no way…:hahaha. But I am now home when she wakes up and when she goes to bed. I make available any opportunities she needs for homeschooling. We talk a lot. I was really grateful that I wasn’t working outside home when she was admitted to the hospital for a week and had her gallbladder removed. I’ve also been able to be at the hospital with both my parents multiple times this year. On a lighter note, I get to drive my two youngest kids to school and pick them up every day when they are at my house. I make them breakfast and there is no frantic freak-out if someone can’t get done in the bathroom in time; we just get there when we get there. I don’t have a manager lecturing in the office that the children need me here on time and I don’t feel guilty and I don’t have to drive 70 mph to get to work after I drop them off. We stop for a bagel once a week now. In the car, we talk about school and friends and life. When they are at school, I usually grind away at work, but when they get home I am all theirs. I cook hot meals. We go to the park. We play board games. I am able to make up for that time on the days that they sleep at their dads. I work a little longer, a little harder. As a matter of fact, I’m so rejuvenated from the time away from work, that I am eager and excited to get back to it. I attend to it with fervor and anticipation.
- So that leads to my third goal with a resounding yes! The passion and creativity that I had worried about losing has been here all along. I admit that I was a little bit worried that years of teaching scripted and mandated material had killed my inner being. Let me share some wisdom: that doesn’t happen. It’s still there. If you feel like you have lost your creativity or your passion, I assure you that you can get it back when you nurture yourself. Every single day, I wake up with gratitude and new ideas on moving my business forward. I admit that I am starting from the ground floor. No, the basement. I’m building everything from scratch. It’s a lot easier this time, though. I’ve had so many false starts during summers when I could get creative and had the energy of the sun on my side. I’ve grown Facebook groups, networking clubs, and written a lot of material that I never ended up maintaining the energy to follow through on. That is one reason that I had an uncontrollable desire to do it differently this time; to follow through and commit myself completely to the cause. In four months, I’ve revamped my website, written the HopeCoach Lifebook& published it, developed the framework for Beach Kids Wellness, and began to rebuild my business network.
I don’t think I am alone in my experience; in fact, I know I’m not. I talk to professionals all the time who feel the same way. Many of us are breaking out of the confines of a 9-5 job. Leagues of entrepreneurs are creating their own online retail and coaching businesses. Creators are finding innovative ways to leave conventional jobs and create their own work at home lifestyles. With a supportive family, it might be easier than you think. You may even be able to propose a telecommuting opportunity for the job you’re in now, though, in my opinion time flexibility is the key so consider that in your proposal. I guess my personal story is intended to inspire even those single moms with a shoestring budget. Even if you aren’t yet ready to make a change, just the hope of knowing that there is something different out there might be the gently reassurance you need right now. Working from home is a wonderful adventure for those with a spirit of adventure!
If you are craving more tips, encouragement, or personal coaching; contact me directly. I love working with like-minded adventurers who see beyond ‘normal!’
Originally published at www.myessentialsolutions.net