I have a dream…. of a simpler life

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My day starts somewhere between 4am & 5am Monday’s to Friday’s and I have a bruising schedule that lasts all week. On most days, by 6am, I have packed lunches, prepared breakfasts, gone for a run and gotten back home and ready to start yelling/herding/nagging my children to eat their damn breakfast, brush their teeth and get dressed for school.

I enjoy a 20 minutes of peace and quiet, after I’ve literally done a high speed drive by of Hannah’s school and practically flung her from the moving car into the waiting arms of her teacher, where I sit in traffic, listening to the radio before I arrive at the office, yank off my mom hat in pull on my professional working hat.

I’m an account manager for an importer, we are going into peak trading season. This means that I spend most of the day just feeling overwhelmed by my work load and pressure, running from pillar to post and mentally trying to keep track of all the i’s that need dotting the t’s that need crossing.

Then I race out of the office, while yanking off my professional worker hat and haphazardly pulling on my mom/wife hat, trying to seamlessly transition from one role into the next. Afternoons involve last minute shopping/errands/extra murals that need to be taken care of and trying to fetch Ava from school and be home on time for our nanny to leave at 16h30.

When I get home, I try to give myself just a 10 minute breather. I usually make a cup of coffee and take it out onto the patio with magazine or my kindle.

kaboompics.com_Mobile phone, apple, coffee on the wooden table

 

I’m like donkey that keeps bashing my head in the same place. Stupid ass. I mean, really, I have two children aged between 2 & 5 plus 3 dogs, one of which is practically attached at my hip. My 10 minute break is usually a massive source of frustration for me. I land up screaming at the naughty dog to stop harassing the little dogs, I land up screaming at my kids to stop fighting, or to simply take a step back so that they’re not quite so in my face and I can actually sip my coffee, the whining, the fighting….

Then it’s time to start packing lunches for the next day, preparing suppers, feeding dogs, packing out school clothes and checking school bags, ensuring that all the extra mural bags are packed, all this while screaming at my kids to eat their damn food and yelling at the naughty dog to get away from the kids while they’re eating. Then it’s bath time and this is usually when Walter arrives home from work and he usually finds me standing sullenly in the kitchen, feeling completely overwhelmed and near breaking point. (no lies, last week, when I heard him arrive home, I took my iPod and went and locked myself in the toilet for 10 minutes with the ear buds jammed in my ears and the volume on full blast).

The first time I get to actually sit down is at around 19h30 to eat my dinner and by then I’m exhausted and it’s time to shower and get into bed by 21h00 so that I can do a rinse repeat the following day.

But the last couple of week’s, I’ve been feeling extra overwhelmed. It doesn’t help that I have Whatsapp, Skype and work email on my phone. I am busy literally ALL the time. It feels like I never have a moment to switch off. I’ve become extremely possessive of that hour between 19h30 and 20h30 when I can read my book and just be left alone.

Earlier this week, as I was rushing out the office, yanking my professional hat off and stumbling around to pull my mom hat on, I could hear my phone pining away in my bag… Skype messages from a client and I wanted to take my phone and throw it into the bushes in the car park. I wanted to burst into tears. I want to tear at my hair. I wanted to get into my car, turn on my favorite music full blast and just drive without ever looking back.

Do you ever feel like that? Just so overwhelmed with the everyday requirements of your life? I know my situation is not unique, I’m pretty sure almost every working mom can relate to my schedule. How do we do this, day in and day out, week in and week out, month after month, year after year?

I’ve been thinking a lot about ways to simplify my life recently. I feel like I have little to no time to just be in the moment. I feel like my life is a racehorse, galloping at full speed to the finishing line  and I’m the jockey who’s foot has slipped out the stirrup, I’ve fallen and being dragged along behind my racehorse life. Does that even make sense?

And then I think about what it would be like to be a stay at home mom and I know, I just know I wouldn’t be able to do it. I don’t think I could cope with that either. I’m tired. I’m frustrated. I feel over extended. I feel like everyone wants a peace of me and I’m slowly being ripped to shreds as they each take their chunk.

I dream of a simpler life, but honestly, I don’t know what that is or what it even entails.

August 26, 2015
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52 Comments

  • Reply Karen

    Half day work …. I think… This is from one over worked mommy to another. Just sharing my fantasy. 🙂

    August 26, 2015 at 11:59 am
    • Reply Sharon

      That would mean a pay cut though….

      August 26, 2015 at 12:00 pm
  • Reply Belinda Mountain (@BelindaMountain)

    I feel overwhelmed often too and I don’t even to have to keep to specific hours as I work for myself. I don’t know what the solution is Sharon! I’m hoping that our move to Cape Town will enable me to simplify my life but I think that is wishful thinking…

    August 26, 2015 at 12:03 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      My dream… albeit a completely unrealistic one… is to live on an olive grove outside Darling on the West Coast. Make my own olive products & just live simply. Stupid I know because there is no running away from our lives.

      August 26, 2015 at 12:15 pm
  • Reply laurakim

    I have been using Davids Samsung for a few months now – upgrade due in 10 days thankfully – BUT it has been so great in so many ways. I hate the phone. It has a crack in the screen and more often than not I can’t type on it, the battery never lasts. As a result I hardly look at it. It is always charging and by 20h00 it is dead. This means I am not constantly checking groups, feeds etc. I check groups a few times a day, often just to check if there is anything important, I seldom reply. I also don’t have my harassedmom or SAMomblogs mails on my phone so there is no constant bombarding of mails.

    I feel SO much lighter!!!! Obviously work committments are different but you know what? I still reply to mails, get work done etc etc. It is just not always in my personal space every single minute of every single day!

    I take bath time as my 10 minutes. Kiara puts the babies in the bath for me while she showers. I make sure I have my coffee made and then sit downstairs and decompress for 10 minutes. I can’t do it if the babies are not occupied so bath time works the best.

    It is hard though.

    August 26, 2015 at 12:04 pm
  • Reply paddatjiesema

    I’m bookmarking this to hopefully get tips. Specifically from full time working Moms without domestic workers. Might have to start looking at what Americans do, because they usually survive without domestic workers.

    Oh, and the other day my 7 year old asked me if I’m going to the toilet to get away from them….caught out.

    August 26, 2015 at 12:08 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      The thing is… I don’t think it matters where in the world we look, I think it’s just the nature of our lives in these modern times. There just is no down time. Granted, it would be a whole lot tougher without our amazing nanny Eva, but still… it just NEVER seems to end.

      August 26, 2015 at 12:18 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      Also… while I was locked in the bathroom with my iPod ear buds jammed in my ears, I could see everyone taking a turn to try and open the damn door. Walter wanted to know if I was hiding, I said yes!

      August 26, 2015 at 12:25 pm
  • Reply Denise

    Sharon! This is the Disease of Busyness! Our next retreat focusses on exactly this topic! How to find stillness in the chaos, we are so overwhelmed by information and duties that it feels like we never stop? The idea is to give normal people the tools to find and effectively use those 10 minutes. I think most moms totally resonate with this post

    August 26, 2015 at 12:09 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      I need a retreat like this.
      The disease of busyness… YES that! Exactly that. My only me time is when I run in the mornings, and then when I read for an hour in the evenings, but I don’t shut down or switch off, I’m constantly aware of what still lies ahead, of what still needs to be done.

      August 26, 2015 at 12:22 pm
  • Reply Jenny

    Enforce a hiatus – even if just a few hours daily – from Social Media – made the world of difference to my time and stress levels. I check in twice a day now and even that is too much for me but I have to for work. It has also forced me to check in with work emails less frequently as I used to go Twitter, FB etc then mail. I too long for a simpler life – I used to be very driven and now all I want is to work in a bookstore in a small town somewhere.

    August 26, 2015 at 12:15 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      Don’t laugh but sometimes I look at our gardener working in our garden and I think about what it would be like if I could spend my days outdoors, mowing lawns, weeding, in the sunshine. But then I remember that his life is no bed of roses either and while he may not be dealing with the same kak as me, he has his own mountains of kak to deal with.

      August 26, 2015 at 12:21 pm
  • Reply cupcakemummy

    I guess that technically I “live a simpler life” because I work for myself and usually keep that work load to the mornings but at the end of the day I’ve also had those throw your phone in the bush and drive away moment. When I was working corporate I was stressed but at least I could (for the most part) leave work at home. Now work is home and I have clients message and Facebook and tweet me all damn hours of the day wanting my attention non stop, even at bath or dinner time I sometimes have to let Fysh manage himself cause i have to work, and those early morning starts cause you have deadlines and no one cares that you have other work to do as well. Thankfully I only have the one kidlet and for the most part we don’t fight and we live well together, just the mornings “i don’t want to go to school” that sucks. But I get it. I totally get it. Problem is that if we had a simpler life we’d be frustrated and bored. I know that personally I can’t be still and just “be”.

    Sending you much love and hugs and all those other things. and lots of good strength and mommy vibes x

    August 26, 2015 at 12:16 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      You’re totally right! We would be bored… but still …. I’d love a little boredom even if was just for a few months!

      August 26, 2015 at 12:20 pm
      • Reply cupcakemummy

        if you were here i’d say bring the kids over for playdates so that you can have some wine and book time xxx

        August 26, 2015 at 12:42 pm
  • Reply Lise

    YES! This is my life completely (except the running!!!!). My husband said to me yesterday that I have turned into a person he doesn’t like anymore. But seriously, I am too busy trying to get to the next step to worry about being fun. Half day isn’t an option as I am the main breadwinner. Today I decided I am going to make a change. No more shouting. If things aren’t done the first time I ask, I will be going ahead without it. If I need to take Mark to school in his pj’s, no doubt it will be a one time occurance!!!

    August 26, 2015 at 12:20 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      The shouting… oh yes… the shouting….

      August 26, 2015 at 12:30 pm
  • Reply Lisbe

    I have removed facebook, twitter and my mail accounts from my phone and when the day is over, its over. I find that I deal with matters that I received after hours much better the next day than trying to sort it out on the run

    August 26, 2015 at 12:23 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      It’s a double edged sword for me. Because I feel like having constant access to my work mails and clients means that I feel like I’m staying on top of things & that helps control my anxiety. But then I never have down time.

      August 26, 2015 at 12:26 pm
      • Reply Eileen

        Sharon, I’ve been where you are and worse. When my 3 sons were teens and getting out of hand, I would shriek at my 4 males, jump up, grab car keys and drive out of our driveway. I would then, alone and calm, drive to ..anywhere..and sit in the car calming down.
        Always, on arriving home usually an hour later, my 4 males would eye me warily and relax at the sight of my calm face!
        Remove yourself from the room or situation and take time to pull yourself together. Does your spouse know how bad it is? Have you enlisted his help?
        Last but not least, talking from over *50 years* of corporate and self employment experience, do you actually respond to client emails after hours? I did. 24/7/365. Literally. It nearly killed me. These days, only semi retired, I have no email on cell and clients have learnt to respect my boundaries.
        All the best, xo

        August 26, 2015 at 1:46 pm
  • Reply Jodene

    I’m not a mom, but I am in awe. Wow, I can’t begin to image, so I wish for you a few moments of quiet and unexpected time just for you!! 🙂

    August 26, 2015 at 12:32 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      Thanks Jodene!

      August 26, 2015 at 2:22 pm
  • Reply kate

    Wow I can now see why you feel the way you do. Your day is manic!!! Could you not rope in hubby a bit more so that you can get some quiet time? Sending big hugs xxxxx

    August 26, 2015 at 1:10 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      He already does so much. He tidies up the breakfast things each morning & makes breakfasts on the mornings I’m unavailable, he also takes Ava to school each morning and unfortunately he has such a high pressure job that he gets home after 6pm most evenings and often will work a couple of hours every night from home too.

      August 26, 2015 at 1:12 pm
  • Reply Chereen Strydom

    Oh my word – I relate to this on so many levels! Just this past week, I’ve come to the realisation that I overcommit to EVERYTHING. Why do we do it to ourselves? Trying to cram work into nap times, saying yes to events that I really don’t have time to attend, organising play dates and activities when I’m on deadline… it’s exhausting!

    I thought that working from home would be the answer, but it’s not. I find that it’s even MORE pressure – and I’m often left feeling guilty that I’m not spending time with my child when working, and vice versa.

    August 26, 2015 at 1:42 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      I honestly don’t know what would make things easier. There is just so much pressure from every angle.

      August 26, 2015 at 2:02 pm
  • Reply wobbly02

    Reading your post and most comments you definitely not alone. I do the morning school run with the kids but am fortunate to have my folks close by to collect kids from school but at work we are very governed by time and deadlines so much so that I forget to “slowdown” when I leave the office. Lately i have also been feeling like I need a good “time out” and it really hit home when my three and a half year old came up to me while I was cooking dinner and asked “mom before I ask you any question did you have a good or bad day at the office today” when I asked why he was asking me he replied because somedays you sound so angry-really broke my heart to hear him say that

    August 26, 2015 at 2:34 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      Yes I’m worried about that too!

      August 26, 2015 at 2:45 pm
  • Reply Paula

    I work half day and yes it certainly is a paycut. Some places even pays less than half to discourage people. But it has been the only way I could keep head above water. I found that once my eldest went to primary school it only got worse. What with no aftercare unless you opt and pay for it and a lot, dear me a lot of homework I just couldn’t do it an other way. Next year jou of joys I will have 2 grade 1’s, and a grade 4. And I am told grade 4 is bad with exams starting. The only other option is an au pair and I even have one of those once a week as the girls’ activities are such that I just can’t be everywhere. And that is with making the twins do the same things although that won’t last for ever either. Oi wei. I am tired just thinking of all this!

    August 26, 2015 at 3:54 pm
  • Reply Merlize

    I resonate with you 100%! Being ADD does not help me becuase at the times I was that overwhelmed and by myself as my Husband works horrible times, I spiralled into depression really fast. But like they say, I decided to stop sweating the small stuff and realised that I am not superwoman. My Hubby now does the lunches and the school run becuase he works from home most days, I have a live in nanny for when I need time to myself at the gym after work, and I seriously hate washing dishes *hides*. But with 4 kids, a full time job, a part time job, my studies and running my husbands business, I really wonder how I found the time to even bath my kids. So I do what I can when I can and let the other people around do the rest.

    August 26, 2015 at 4:23 pm
  • Reply Gail

    I could have written this. And I’m finding this so much worse since we emigrated with no domestic worker and family support, I’m now desperately looking for something either part time or with more flexible working hours. Luckily that seems easier to do over here (and better paid). I’m so tired of rushing though my (and my kids’) lives! x

    August 26, 2015 at 6:55 pm
  • Reply ChevsLife

    The many hats we wear…I have no advice since myself have been feeling overwhelmed lately. A walk on the beach always works for Mr.

    August 26, 2015 at 7:13 pm
  • Reply Pandora

    I was here at the beginning of the year, feeling like there was just too much to do, and never doing anything properly. I don’t have a full time domestic, my husband travels a lot, and we have no one close by when my daughter is sick. I also had to be on call one week out of every 6, which was a nightmare, as I would be woken up at all hours to solve IT issues.
    We decided that I would give up work, so I did that from April this year.
    Honestly, I was dreading it a bit, not earning my own salary, and not having anything set to fill my mornings. But there was so much stuff tthat I had been putting off for years, this will keep me busy for ages.
    So now a few months on, I am actually so glad I did this. The best part is that I got offered part time work, at an hourly rate. It’s almost the same thing I was doing before, just no stress and no being on call, so it really suits me. It’s extra money, and I can keep up with things. I can set my own hours, and am only committed for a few hours a week. My daughter is thrilled that she no longer has to go to aftercare. We have started going to story time at the library and sometimes to the beach, or we just play games at home. Everyone is less stressed, and I feel so much better.
    I know this is not for everyone, I didn’t think it was for me, but I just got to a point where changes had to be made.
    I was lucky to find my dream job in terms of working hours, but really, I wish companies were more flexible with their hours, and that they would consider reduced hours, flextime, working from home, and even job sharing. It would reduce the stress for moms, especially when your child is sick and there is no one to help out.
    So I plan to do some volunteer work, to grow some veggies, read books, and make a gazillion photo books with all the photos I have taken that just sit on my hard drive. Oh, and work a little. That’s my simpler life.

    August 26, 2015 at 11:46 pm
  • Reply reluctantmom

    I would go off my head without our Live In Nanny.

    I do realise how “white suburbia” that is, but I seriously would not be able to cope alone at night or in the mornings. My little people have always scared me in this regard, because like you said you eventually find yourself doing a task, with your head down and waiting for the next person to ask you something or to tell you to do something, and you will go totally arse-butt crazy on them.

    My Priv acts as my sanity cushion.

    I really admire you Sharon —– I would be drinking by 08h00 if I was in your shoes.

    And in all of this you manage to still be a “nice” person who gives of her time to strangers, funny people who pop along on your blog and people who send you private messages.

    xxx

    September 1, 2015 at 1:48 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      Don’t admire me… really…. I feel like I fail in almost every area of my life on a daily basis!

      September 2, 2015 at 9:35 am
  • Reply August Roudup and Linky - South African Mom Blogs

    […] Sharon has a run down of her day on: I have a dream… of a simpler life. […]

    October 23, 2015 at 5:06 pm
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