Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My Space?

Sometimes I think there is a notion that working moms get plenty of "me time" because they work.  And while yes, I have quiet time at my desk, the ability to go to the bathroom (alone) when I want, and child-free time in general, I can assure you that work time is not really "me time."  Sigh.  I know I'm personally lucky to have my own office and work in peace a lot of the time, but I am still at work which doesn't exactly feel like my time.  I'm working on projects, examining policy, compiling data, warning/dismissing students (oh the fun!), and dealing with the general red tape of the structure and policy of academia. And yeah, I do like it but it's not what I would do on the weekends for fun.  But I'm here for 8 hours a day just the same.

But lately I've just been feeling kind of low and empty.  I can't put my finger on it. Jason and I work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week and the rest of the time I feel like we are slaves to a schedule that just keeps repeating itself over and over.

Whether it's keeping the house together, laundry done, yard work attended to, kids to practices, groceries stocked, and all the other details of our life, it takes our full attention.  I feel like every day has a script and we just get into cruise control.  Getting the kids to bed much before 9pm lately has been exceedingly tough with Bryce's baseball games and various other things going on in the evenings and the days being so long now.  That leaves very little time after bedtime to accomplish much of anything knowing that getting to bed by 10pm is important if I don't want to feel like hell the next day (and that's assuming we don't have anyone waking up in the night which apparently is a tall order lately between thunderstorms and a nasty hacking cough going through each of the kids).  And sometimes, I just want down time.

I step back and look at our life and feel so trapped by all that we HAVE to do.  I don't feel as though we're really doing much frivolous stuff - I don't know how families handle multiple curriculars among multiple children..  You can't cut out mowing the lawn or getting groceries.  But I just feel like I have nothing that is mine that I do for me.  I guess getting up at 5:30am to exercise was for me but the bottom line is that now I realize one of the reasons that I stopped is that I was bored out of my mind on the treadmill or doing an exercise DVD.  Isn't "me time" supposed to be doing something you enjoy?

People always tell me, "You need a hobby."  Yeah, I probably do.  But what?  Jason has his beer making and plays golf on occasion and while he doesn't do either that frequently, he does enjoy them and does them when he has a chance.  I barely even have time to read.

I just feel so lost.  We don't see friends that often and in many ways I feel isolated.  Jason and I barely have time to talk it seems sometimes.  Who wants to talk when you're constantly being interrupted?  I find myself just being generally annoyed lately and resenting having set up such a well oiled machine that is our schedule and way of managing our life as a family of 5 with two full time working parents.  People have marveled how we manage to do it and sometimes I'm not even sure as I feel like it's all being held together by a thread.  I acknowledge that we wouldn't be able to do it without the support and help of mine and Jason's parents.  I also acknowledge that Jason does way more than the average male spouse in that I don't consider what he does as "helping" and that our combined effort is teamwork.  I can't imagine how I'd feel if I truly was doing it all like some women have to do when their spouse is essentially another child to take care of.

I don't know what the answer is.  I keep telling myself that this finite period of time is what it is and I just have to suck it up and get through it.  I remind myself of all the things I am truly grateful for and that I really don't have anything to complain about....yet I still feel like something is missing.  Or maybe my expectations are too high.  I'm not quite sure what the answer is.

I'll stop rambling now.  I just needed to get that out.


Erin said...

I just... yeah.... ALL THAT.

"I step back and look at our life and feel so trapped by all that we HAVE to do. I don't feel as though we're really doing much frivolous stuff"

Seriously. I feel like we have no time for anything beyond the daily "must dos".

When does it get better?

Also, my husband gets to go golfing now and then for five hours at a time or so... I need a hobby that takes that long outside the home to do...

Katie said...

Learn to play soccer!!! LOL!! Now you know why I cried so much for giving up soccer for a year. It is MY thing-- physically and socially and I NEED it for my mental health. I will have to think of something else in the meantime!

I don't know how you do it, but you do do a lot! I feel strange giving advice b/c everyone has different lives & priorities & interests.

My working neighbor was just echoing everything you mentioned and she has decided to pay their housekeeper to do more work so she can enjoy more weekend time. I know that is not an option for everyone though.

I have an idea for both of us-- maybe we can plan to meet up 1x a month for whatever-- yoga class, fun groupon activity, nails, shopping, jog/walk/hike or even a supper club type thing with the kiddos?? We could just put it on the schedule and make it happen with our w/o the kids! I would love that.

I think that a lot of people feel the same way, so don't be too hard on yourself. Things get monotonous, for everyone at some point.

Erika said...

Thanks, Erin & K - I appreciate your thoughts. I just don't feel like I have any interests anymore. Like work and kids should be enough. It's not. But what? I would love to start yoga again but there aren't any places nearby - none. That's what you get living in this area. No interest in little crafts, knitting, etc. I don't want to make stuff that sits around my house. Ha! I have enough stuff! But I like your idea, K. We need to find some time to chat!!!

Katie said...

Let's go see a movie! Snow White & the Huntsman???