..I only just got round to posting Friday's comment and Saturday's arrived...so see Friday's epic on rights to work, leisure, development, family, health and...add right to sleep! Hope you're getting some rest amidst the project and thanks again for creating the space for us x
Today I am exhausted after a busy week and late nights, but usually I am ok and can manage my energy. I usually can't however physically work past 8pm as I am too tired but at times I find that I have to work to 9 or 10 if I am to manage the weekend with family, house, parties etc. and make sure it is protected. I think however that is part of the role of working in the 21st century and the working culture. I don't work on a weekend (and not should I) unless it is urgent but it does mean that my weekdays are at times manic and this image is often the way I look.
I do believe in keeping work at work, separate to home life, and having worked part-time for many years now, I can't claim to be exhausted at the end of the week. When I did have a
demanding full-time job I often worked until 6.30 or 7pm - which I couldn't have done without the support of my parents at the time - and I felt energised by work (hmm, I was, of course, younger then!) and probably chose to stay late at work because I *wanted* to, for myself; but still, the drive home from the office was the time to mentally file the day's travail and re-align to mummy-mode. I did used to go to bed earlier, often at the same time at my son! I need my sleep to function well.
Oh dear, this is something that I am very guilty of. I would like to keep work and home separate but that does not work so well for me. I prefer to be flexible and at the moment I am able to do that. There are times when I will leave work early to take the children to training or to go to sports days or parents evening and then work into the wee small hours after the children have gone to bed or at the week-end to make up for it. I know that I haven't quite got the work home balance right and the consequence of that is often exhaustion but I do appreciate the flexibility that this gives me and the opportunities that I have to spend time with my family as a result. I can always catch up on sleep when I retire.
If there's one thing that I've learnt is the need for work/life balance. There's nothing worse than working late, I become emotional, then to get home to pick up the mantle of mummy and not forgetting the domestic grind can lead to tears, mine not the children's I hasten to add. I do not multi task well when I am exhausted, I snap and do not achieve what is required of me.
Guilty as charged. I do feel for Barbie in this one. It is hard to get everything done and the only way is if you have support and help from family. I have recently realised that I have a right to sleep and a right to my health so certain things are having to slide unfortunately. As the new career is unfolding things get easier and I only work 1 day of the weekend now. It is so important to be able to function properly.
When it comes to me time- then that's spent ironing or cleaning. But this is a pleasant chore as it's away from the laptop or 100 books to mark. I do keep thinking that I can't possibly sustain this kind of lifestyle- but I am managing to. So whilst I can and I'm still happy and enthusiastic- I will continue. I don't feel my children are neglected- my husband is though. Oops.
My "paid" job takes up 32.5 hours a week - the time the girls are at school. My unpaid job wraps around these hours! The household chores! It's not much fun for me all the girls when I am already tired and rushing around like a mad thing on a Friday evening demanding that they change out of their school clothes pronto so I can get the washing machine on!
I used to have a spotless house and knew where everything was. Now it's make do with papers in piles and I'm never certain where things are. It bothered me for a while as it didn't sit well with my desire to control everything! I would be exhausted and bad tempered trying to get it all perfect so that when dad came in, it was like the adverts - you know the kind - children with happy clean faces running up to him as he came through the door, me in the kitchen just dishing up the supper with the table all set? It couldn't have been more opposite! I know you mums will all be laughing at this - tea time madness was always the most hectic part of the day! Anyway. On my own now and no one to try to impress, I decided that the girls would prefer to be happy in a mess than walking on eggshells around their ranting exhausted mother.
I tend to work long days but enjoy that, fortunately in the past I had children that went to bed and stayed there! Today my husband works away at least 1 to 3 nights a week and that is me time. But at the moment am exhausted with finding time for work, family, church and then me....
when my son is with his Dad I work on Sats to keep up my professional practice. At 2.00 pm I go and see a close friend and on Sunday we walk together. Tgat's lovely. On the weekends with Nat we now do the allotment together and it is Nat's time to see friends. I don't work on weekends with him but feel guilty if work is busy by I remember my inbox is not my friend.
I'm always exhausted. But exhaustion can be a good thing sometimes- I see it as you've worked hard and enjoyed (whatever role you are in that day!). It's an indication of living life to the fullest!
I love a good sleep! My favourite place is my bed ha ha!
With another little one on the way, I seem exhausted within 5 minutes of getting up but again I see this as a good thing. My body is working hard to bring another bundle of joy into this world!
I am given a great deal of flexibility with my work and so I don't resent working evenings. Truth be told I love my work so it is enjoyable to me. I get stressed when it mounts up and I feel I won't be able to get it done well. If it gets to that stage I now tell my boss and we look at ways to manage it. Knowing that is the case really helps me not to get into a panic! I try now to encourage the boys to sit up at the table and do their homework whilst I work. This way we are still interacting as a family and working is a reality even for the children!
Weekends are nice... They allow me to recover from the intensity of information flow and stress of the constant problem solving process. To speed up the recovery process I get myself involved in all sorts of pointless things that require minimum levels of brain activity.
I relax at weekends - watch daft films etc - but i also read or write or tend to do something that keeps my brain on the go. I like to explore things - but i've got to be in the mood - so if i want to write, read i will - if not i won't. Yes i'm tired at the end of the week and was more tired when the girls was younger - but that's life. I don't tend to indulge in self pity as i'm a lot fortunate than may people from my background - and there's nothing worse than a 'woe-be me'.
You get out of life what you put in - a cliche but it's true - so i knwo that i'm going to need to work when i'm tired if doing reserahc etc because when else can i do it. That said i will also drink plenty of of wine and relax and have a laugh too.
My husband also gets tired so it's not gendered - as i say we're both contributing in the house - so that makes it less relentless
Although when i've finished this email - i will work on a paperr - go shopping - make tea and then do washing. After this i will chill out to a film!!! Craig's playing football and the gilrl are out with friends so they will also need picking up etc
roll on Monday - when i'll miss Barbi xxx
I have not read the other comments before writing mine - but i am aware that my words will be exposed - that makes me slightly vulnerable as i am letting strangers into my world. What i would say that to have a follow up with interviews might reveal a deeper analysis of the themes you identify and i would be happy to do this if you ever need me Sarah.
Good luck with what you do
It is a great idea and beautifully executed x
It does feel strange Vicky, most of us would share this and then pass each other in the street without knowing it. I will miss these glimpses into other lives that often share across the generations some fears and delights of working women. I shall think of them as Barbi moments.
I had a strange working life in that working for ourselves there were no regular hours. If there was no work pressure then anxiety set in, what if the phone stopped ringing and we didn't have another client? We had no way of regulating the hours. Each job was different and we were constantly breaking new ground. In addition to the work we had new computerization to evaluate, government bodies to satisfy, regulation changes to implement, staffing to balance. A host of unpaid stuff I had not anticipated and resented. The burden on a small company probably remains disproportionate. Working late was normal.
I always fell short of my own standards in every aspect of my life and anxious and exhausted I would eventually blow a fuse over nothing much which wasn’t fair. I would trill as I blew past my lovely children in a tizzy, brief case in one hand, a tray of 6 kilos of homemade Bolognese in the other, pack of loo rolls under the arm, high heels clicking … “Open the door for me please; I am doing my best here.” They would quite rightly look puzzled. Delegating wasn’t the problem checking on the delegatees? Not my thing at all. That Little Red Hen story was my story – ? … Google it! I was that hen and apart from the crashes when my back went or I wept for a fortnight I enjoyed hoeing our own row. As my grandson says …another of your medieval sayings! We made the opportunity to keep trying, to keep learning and above all to love each other. We are still laughing, still hugging. I should have known better though than to try to fit so much into one lifetime but there wasn’t anyone to tell me there would be consequences. Phew.
I had my son when I was young (21) so I think I coped with the early mornings, late nights and everything that as a mum you have to do in between. I am now 51, my son is independent and I am in control of my working/sleeping hours. I have girlfriends who have started a family much later in their lives and are now juggling with careers and young kids and I think, how do they do it!!? I know I missed out on many opportunities by being a young, single parent, but now I am making up for it!
Working from home more often than not doesn't mean that I sit and watch daytime TV but I sometimes feel that's what others (my DH included) think. I end up also squeezing a bit of housework including food shopping and then find I've run out of time for the work I had intended to do that day. So then I go back to my desk after the kids have gone to bed. I'm not very productive then but I'm just trying to squeeze every last minute out of the day.
I enjoy my work and also set myself high standards. This can sometimes lead to unhealthy.unsociable working hours :/
And then some days I just give in and go to bed when the kids do and enjoy a really good loooong sleep.
I work hard in the week to protect the weekends and if I do work at weekends the rest of the family become ever so slightly grumpy with me and try to interrupt what I am doing with repeated questions about exactly when I will be finished. That doesn't mean the weekends become an oasis of leisure time, they can become a repetitive round of housework and ironing if I am not careful, especially in the winter. As an older mother I find it frustrating that the quality of my sleep is very poor at the moment and does not provide the rest that I need. I am now more careful now to protect myself than I was.
I try and keep my weekends clear unless I have a looming deadline. I've only learnt to do this as a working mum. Before I had children I'd work every evening and most of the weekend with no problem and I was very motivated then.
My priorities have shifted considerably now. I'm very conscious that my eldest who is nearly 16 might be upping and leaving in a couple of years to university. This means the weekends feel very precious at the moment. I don't want my gravestone to read that I worked late, I want it to read I was a dedicated mother, wife and daughter. Deep eh?
Oh how i sympathise with her. That is exactly how I feel. I have lost count how many times on a Friday evening after a full week and a 9-6 full teaching day, I have sat down to watch Midsummer murders and never saw who did it as I was fast asleep. No matter how much you organise yourself there is never enough time in the day and you juggle work home life and social life. I have found myself hiding doing work at home because I know it upset the family. I wake up early to work and work late at night, just to try to keep on top and to avoid upsetting my family who are just worried. Their worry and concern causes me more anxiety. The net result is exhaustion. I just think that is life in UK at present.