On Juggling…

Posted in motherhood by

Today has been a very hard hard day… thankfully, I don’t have too many of these but, today was a truly shitty day of the very special kind.

I really wonder if I’m alone in feeling this way, of if there are other working mom’s out there who sometimes feel completely abused and over extended? Wanting our cake and wanting to eat it and all that jazz?

There are days when I feel totally over extended and stretched to the limit that I just don’t know how to cope and today was one of them. Granted, it was also partly my own fault.

See I feel pretty much time urgent almost all of the time. I put SO much pressure on myself to be all things in all the rolls I play within my life… mother, wife, home maker, working girl and sometimes I have so many balls up in the air that I’m trying to juggle, that well, some of them simply fall down.

I have found that the key to keeping all the little balls up in the air is to be organized, super-duper organized, especially because I work reduced office hours, boring I know, but hey, it works and today was a reminder of just that.

I chose a super social weekend and did not get all my balls lined up in time for the starting gun on Monday morning and I suffered as a result. Today I had to do the following:

  • Go to work
  • Attend sales meeting
  • Check off all the items on my to do list at the office
  • Ensure that all my deliveries for this weeks Triple A releases are on track
  • Buy nappies
  • Buy new make up
  • Buy food for the week
  • Take Ava to swimming lessons
  • Cook supper for Ava
  • Cook supper for Walter and I
  • Write on my blog
  • Research more nursery schools for Ava
  • Book accommodation for our July holiday

Now normally, I wouldn’t need to be finding the time to be buying nappies, food & make up during a work week, but because I chose to start the week in such disarray, I have gotten off to a very bad start. After arriving at work this morning, I had 4 additional MAJOR to do items added to my already long to do list and it threw me into a total spin. Add to that, I’m reliant on others for the information in order to complete my 4 additional things on my to do list… and … well I had a day that went for a ball of shit.

I wound up so time urgent that I landed up leaving the office late, after only finishing the 4 items on my to do list, crying in the car on the way to the shops, while sending a sms to cancel Ava’s swimming lesson. Arriving home to find my child, sick, hungry and crying. Trying to get our dinner going, which was nothing no less than a full on lamb stew, while seeing to her dinner, all the while with my notebook set up in the kitchen, trying to do work in between. Shouting at my husband when he eventually did arrive home and now, sitting in our braai room, finally updating my blog while drinking wine and SMOKING!!!!! 🙁

Working Mom’s – please tell me I’m not alone in finding some days just so totally overwhelming?

The questions I need to answer for myself is why I put so much pressure on myself to be so much all of the time?

April 18, 2011
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18 Comments

  • Reply lea2109

    I would imagine you are putting so much pressure on yourself because you are in all likelihood a perfectionist. And certainly life was simpler before Ava came along.

    Maybe plan your meals a bit differently so you have quick meals for week nights. Things like spaghetti bolognaise or chicken tacos (one of our favourites). Not sure if you get it there, but we get a rice risotto box set which is so yummy and all it is is flavoured rice, you add cooked meat or chicken if you want and a bunch of frozen veggies. So yummy, healthy and quick. Maybe investing in a slow cooker (although I had one in South Africa and never used it, but some swear by them). This way you don’t still spend a good hour or two preparing meals with a hungry toddler wanting food NOW!

    It is tough, but maybe just learn that some things can wait a bit. Okay, nappies can’t wait, but maybe the holiday booking or the nursery schools could wait a day or two or maybe on those very busy days just focus on tonight’s meal instead of for the whole week.

    When you move to Australia, you won’t have somebody like your nanny and then on top of your list above you’ll have to add cleaning the house, ironing and laundry and it will be tough, but I guess that’s when you look at the big picture and say some things are simply less important than others. My house is messy at times, but I’ve learned that there is no point in letting it irritate me because I ran out of time or had too many other things on my list. It is not the end of the world and tomorrow is another day.

    It is challenging now. Toddlers are quite demanding and when you juggle all these other things, it is hard. But they do get older. For instance my kids can dress themselves. They can help themselves to a quick snack if supper will still be a little while. Bianca can pack her own lunch box. I can ask them to help me with some minor chores. Even at the shops I can ask Bianca to run ahead and choose a bread. I remember the toddler ages to be quite challenging, but soon you’ll see it will become more manageable again.

    Courage does not always roar. Sometimes it’s the quiet voice at the end of the day gently saying “I will try again tomorrow” – Maryanne Radanbacher

    April 18, 2011 at 10:31 pm
  • Reply Tanya Kovarsky

    Um, can we go for a drink to discuss this? You are not alone…

    April 19, 2011 at 7:43 am
  • Reply waiting4amiracle

    I feel that same time urgent rush rush rush feeling all the time. Sometimes I go with it and sometimes I actually restrain myself. I can identify with the feelings in this post because I feel them too even though I am not a mom yet. The only advice I have is to give yourself a little bit of a break. As in, you don’t have to be perfect all of the time. I am currently working through the exact same stuff at the moment……so I don’t mean to sound trite.

    April 19, 2011 at 7:52 am
    • Reply Sharon

      Brace yourself Ginger, you can increase your time urgency about 10 fold when you throw a child into the mix…

      April 19, 2011 at 9:52 am
  • Reply To Love Bella

    You are NOT alone!!! I think this is what everyone refers to when they say “don’t try to be a superwoman”. You sound similar to me, in that you don’t want to delegate, as you feel you do a better job than someone else. Let’s face it, at most, that is the truth. But that can be to your own detriment. And will inevitably cause a fight with your spouse – yet another stress you don’t need (says she, doing it pretty often!!).
    When I feel in a pinch, I simply say to Travers – “you’re in charge of supper”. 9 times out of 10, we end up with pizza, pasta or sushi takeaways. But it has at least freed up some of my time.
    I bitch about this ALL the time and the other day he had a bit of an epiphany when he’d spent quite a big chunk of the afternoon entertaining Isabella and said “Choppie, it’s actually quite hectic, isn’t it?”. There you go. So lately, he has been helping out alot more.
    Why not suggest alternating household chores with W? This is the only thing that keeps both Travers and I sane. Took a while to get there, and the system still is not perfect, but it has eased a few woes!

    April 19, 2011 at 7:59 am
    • Reply Sharon

      Walter has one of those all consuming jobs and the problem is he’s also studying for his masters degree which puts added pressure on both of us. While he’s very hands on, bathing Ava and getting her ready for bed, as well as all the tyding up of the kitchen duties fall to him, he still has to do a minimum of 4 hours of studying every evening.

      April 19, 2011 at 9:50 am
  • Reply wiseguyomoshiroi

    Oooh… I am so sorry to hear that. I understand how tough juggling motherhood and work must be.

    Especially when your performance and efficiency depends on someone else, it gets very irritating to be left behind because of the bottleneck created by someone else.

    Hugs. Hoping you get some respite from the hectic.

    April 19, 2011 at 8:13 am
  • Reply mayflowerladybugs

    I am actually dreading today… I had to leave the house early (all the kids still asleep) and leave daddy in charge of dressing and the school run, so I could get to work early, work my hours, rush off to meet my cousin at 1pm, pick up the twins at 2 pm, pick up D at 2:30, take her to ballet, back home, drop her and pick up R for her speech therapy at 5pm. THEN supper and bed time. I am tired already!

    I actually officially have to little hours in the day.

    April 19, 2011 at 8:52 am
  • Reply catluvagp

    Hey Sharon,

    Shew thank goodness for our BB dinners that’s all I can say because I think we are all in the same boat. I, superwoman that I am (not) am busy juggling packing up my townhouse and all the other jobs involved in moving house. I am also moving all insurance to a new broker and trying to sort out an accident my husband had before the end of the month so we can move to said new broker.

    On the tired hungry baby thing, I always have a box of Oatee’s in the house so in emergencies the kids can have a few of those while supermom is busy in the kitchen 🙂 they are also great for an anytime healthy snack option. Ava-Grace should love them if you haven’t tried them already. They also now come in a 4 pack strip so I have them in my handbag, nappy bag and both our cars.

    I have decided that after my move, I am going to give PNP internet shopping a try – that should help me with my shopping so you should try it too.

    Love Ang.

    April 19, 2011 at 9:27 am
    • Reply Sharon

      Hey Ang
      I’ve tried the internet shopping with Woolies & PnP… its ok! I’m not crazy about it because they often don’t have exactly what it is that you want, or in the sizes you want or you land up forgetting things. I don’t mind it too much for my monthly shop but don’t like it for the weekly food shopping.
      Ava has Oatee’s but I don’t like giving her snacks right before her dinner as she’s not the worlds greatest eater and will then refuse her supper.
      Good luck with your move!

      April 19, 2011 at 9:48 am
  • Reply marina1605

    Sorry you had such a crappy day. There are good tips in the comments above. I am very lucky to have a hubby that is super hands-on, so he helps me a lot, when he’s not working. He works in the film industry which means the has some time off inbetween film shoots. At the moment he’s working on a 4-week job and is literally home to sleep and shower, sometimes has dinner, otherwise I’m alone with Claudio most of the time. It’s hard, and I’m exhausted, but I make my life a little easier by cooking simple, yet healthy meals, things that can go in the oven and cook while I see to Claudio. I also cook Claudio’s food in batches over the weekends and freeze them so it’s a matter of heating and eating for him every day. Woolies is my best friend 🙂 and I use their online shopping which is fantastic and so worth the R40/R50 delivery fee. It means I don’t have to waste time shopping with a bored toddler on the weekends. You are definitely not alone. I have learnt that I can’t be everything to everyone all the time. And it’s not a bad thing to ask for help if you feel over-extended. I hope you have a better day today.

    April 19, 2011 at 9:43 am
  • Reply Mash

    I am learning to give myself a little break here and there, so when one of those days hits, I have a couple of Woollies warmups in the freezer and I can drop the ball in terms of cooking. This weekend I had NO arrangements, not one, and I spent Sunday getting organised for the week, which is a rare luxury for me. Loved the feeling it gave me!

    April 19, 2011 at 9:50 am
  • Reply trishdg

    I am in the same boat. I made my full day job into a half day and lately I feel like I am trying to squash it into a quarter day. It seemed to get worse with both kids at 2 different playschools (due to age)Picking up and dropping off and sending all the various things to school as requested and attending the mom’s mornings and art days and birthday rings and baking days as well as external activites like soccer and swimming and add some potty training into the mix and you have a stressed mommy. My husband has the big important job and is also doing an MBA and since I decided to work half day I feel I should do all the childcare and home stuff and let him focus on earning the money but sometimes I resort to takeaways and Woolies meals. I agree that organisation is the only way to cope but sometimes I think that I may have to leave my job and try focus on the kids but I am torn.

    April 19, 2011 at 12:57 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      That’s exactly the point… since I started working shortened office hours, I’ve found I’m even more time urgent because I’m trying to cram into less hours what used to take an entire day.. and then there’s all the other pressures as well!

      April 19, 2011 at 1:31 pm
  • Reply coachmarcia

    Oh Sharon! Your day does sound super-overwhelming.

    I know you know all the things to do (delegate, get things delivered, etc.) but I think you’re spot on with your second question – why DO you put pressure on yourself like this? Why do you feel the need to be “perfect”?

    I ask because I had to go through a lot of the same and now call myself a recovering perfectionist 🙂

    April 19, 2011 at 7:54 pm
  • Reply elna3

    I know exactly what you are saying. It has taken me nearly 18 months to just figure out that I can not poosibly do everything in 3 days at work that I used to do in 5 days. With that comes the feeling that I am not doing my work well enough because of my ‘hightened’ expecations of myself. One needs to adjust ones own expectations and that is the hard thing. Fortunately, or unfortunately we live in a time where we are career women, but also moms and we want to do both well. I am sure you are doing a great job juggling, it is just days like monday when everything comes crashing down that you question everything again. These days will happen – try and accept them and keep on juggling(smile)

    April 20, 2011 at 10:25 am
  • Reply pandoragelb

    Oh, yes! I have run myself ragged trying to do everything, including the housework. It is just not possibleto do that and be happy as well. I don’t want to be a grumpy mom. So now I freeze little meals for during the week, when we cook for us, I just add extra to make a few for her. I also have let the housework slide a bit, as I would rather spend that time in the evening with my child. I have help 1 day a week to do the ironing etc. At work, I do as much as I can, and I don’t bring work home. Mainly because by 9pm I am ready to fall into bed!

    April 20, 2011 at 6:20 pm
  • Reply orbit365

    Oh honey. You are NOT alone. It gets better as you find your groove but you are probably still going to hit a wobbly now and then. Just take a deep breath. And start over.
    Hugs.xxx

    April 23, 2011 at 11:35 am
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