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 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