When I set my goals five years ago after the sudden death of my mother in law – goal number one was work less! Spend more time with my children. More time playing hairdressers and bouncing on the trampoline and making cakes and reading stories. Have more “dates” with my husband.
How have I gone with these goals? Well, right now it feels like I have failed miserably.
We tried to have a lovely family weekend away for our wedding anniversary (major error right there, who would have thought it would be a good idea to take a tween away for our anniversary!). It was relaxing (caveat the 12-year-old), we had fantastic food and tasted beautiful local wine. And then on Sunday, the anxiety started. Anxiety that I had dared to take Friday off work and now I need to catch up (read – bul*shit, I had already done my hours and more before well before Friday – there was no “time off”). Anxiety about work on Monday and Tuesday and the deadlines that were hitting and the wheels that were starting to fall off.
Then there was the Sunday night “To Do List” – order swimming gear for girls new swimming lessons, a new uniform for Miss T, confirm carpet order, text nanny and organise her for new after-school activities, book nanny for teacher’s only day, order vitamins, make lunches for Monday morning. Cancel Piano lessons (Miss T is trying to do too much – ironic??).
Then there is my week – it currently looks like this:
Monday. Up at 6. Miss T needs to be at school early for Road Patrol. Miss M to before school care. Nanny on after school duty. Both girls have swimming lessons after school. Get home. Do homework with girls (nice opportunity to spend time with them). Yoga (haha no I am not a saint – this is the first time I have made it in 6 weeks!). Grocery shopping at 9.30pm on the way home. Put groceries away. Spend time with husband??? Kidding right?
Tuesday. Up at 6. Have breakfast with girls and get to 7.30am meeting. Husband on before school duty. Nanny picks up girls after school. Miss M has swimming. I try to get home early – I manage to cancel a meeting and get home by 6 pm! Record.
Wednesday. Up at 6. Everyone out the door by 7.30. Nanny picks up girls after school. Miss T has swimming. Miss M should have soccer practice – but the team has no coach and as working parents we have no ability to volunteer. Quick family dinner before i’m out for a committee meeting. Will be home by 10pm.
Thursday. Out of town for the day – will need to leave the house by 6.30am. Home for family dinner. Miss T has Rangers at 6.30pm.
Friday. At work by 7am so I can finish work early and pick up the girls from school myself. The highlight of my week! Miss T has swimming lessons. Will try to get to the library with the girls.
This weekend coming up? Well there is a 40th, housework, shopping, making meals for the freezer as I’m away next week, arranging childcare and after-school activities, doing the washing, packing … and being ready for the taxi at 5.30am on Monday morning. I won’t be home until late Friday night (after girls’ bedtime).
So have I succeeded in working less? Hell no.
What happened? Good question. The girls got bigger, Miss M started school and I was offered an “amazing” new job. I convinced myself that I had worked part-time whilst I had pre-schoolers, and now they were both going to be at school I could go back to work full-time. And I guess it went from there. I am a self-confessed workaholic. I am driven by success. I cannot say no.
But is this sustainable? Clearly no. Does this lifestyle align with my personal ethics? No. Is this how I want to live my life? No.
Time to re-visit those goals.
NB Somehow I still have a loving and supportive husband who helps out at home and with the girls and without me needing to ask – we both work and we are both responsible for home and care.