There is only one of me!

by on January 27, 2012

A very good friend of mine once said that she was going to get the words “there is only one of me” tattooed on her forehead. I have to confess in the last few weeks I’ve been tempted to do that myself. Since before Christmas I’ve been working on a very high profile project at work, which has kept me exceeding busy, and I have found myself uttering those six words with alarming frequency…

There’s been a few changes at work in the last 4 months. We’ve had another restructure, which has meant I had to reapply for my own job again, which is always a stressful experience. Thankfully this time I managed to secure a role, and the plus side was that gave me the chance to have a chat with my boss about the future direction my role was going to take. Long and short of it is that I’ve had a change of responsibilities, and I’m now doing a job which suits my personality and skills a LOT more, so I’m a lot happier with that.

However the downside is that the job I’m now doing is particularly busy at the moment. And although I only work part time (alternatively 3 days and 4 days per week) sometimes the way deadlines have fallen have meant I’ve had to do some work on my off days, or at least be available on the phone. I’m working long days when I’m in the office, which means that my evenings consist of getting through the door just before the kids’ bedtime, straight into the bedtime routine, and then worrying about dinner for the geekdaddy and I. In addition as one of my new year resolutions I am now trying to cook us a proper meal from scratch every evening, rather than resorting to ready meals and takeaways which is what we were doing before Christmas. We frequently don’t finish eating until 10pm, and then I’m really not capable of doing very much.

My main stress at the moment is that every other Thursday I’m supposed to be off work with both kids at nursery. This is supposed to me my “me” time. My recharge time. My blogging time. My tidying the house time. However I haven’t had a day off since Christmas. I missed the one in Christmas week as the geekdaughter was too poorly to go to nursery, and then two weeks ago was the day both kids were sent home from nursery with nits. Yesterday I ended up working for 7 hours, which does not make much of a day off. I didn’t get anything done off my home “to do” list, even my number one priority (have a shower) went uncompleted.

Consequently my house is even more of a tip than usual. I’m not getting as many blog posts written as I would like, and I’m feeling generally run down.

I know I’m not alone in feeling like this, it seems that balancing even a part-time career and running a house and caring for kids is hugely stressful. I’m constantly on the lookout for hints and tips as to how to manage the situation better. But when all else fails I just resort to saying “there is only one of me”. All I can do is prioritise, and try to use my time as best I can.

 

Image: Pong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

mari January 27, 2012 at 8:47 am

I feel for you Ruth, firstly though congrats on getting the great job I’m sure you’ll be enormously successful at it. I don’t doubt you for a minute.
My only advice is to put your family first, make sure you have quality time with them otherwise what’s it all about, the house can wait (mine does!) as for food invest in a slow cooker, it takes a half an hour to throw it all together and dinner is delicious, home cooked and ready on time That gave me huge amounts of time when I struggled with the twins in the early days.
Break housework down into smaller parts ie a room a day, a task a day and don’t forget to say well done to yourself when you do manage to do well.

Here when you need to talk and if I was closer I’d run your hoover round xx

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geekmummy January 30, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Oh bless, thank you Marianne :) I am very lucky that my Mum lives 10 minutes down the road, and she has been an absolute star coming over and helping me get the kitchen under control.

I am trying to use the slow cooker a bit more, and to cook extra and freeze spare portions too. I’ll get there :)

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Kelly January 27, 2012 at 11:38 am

Without getting into my own work situation, let me just say I know how you feel.
In my case, I think the solution is for me to leave the company (I’ve been there for nine years).

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geekmummy January 30, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Oh that’s a hard decision to make Kelly, I really feel for you. Not an option for me sadly :(

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Ruth @ Minibreak Mummy January 27, 2012 at 12:03 pm

This sounds very familiar (though I have a husband who is able to take on most of the childcare and cooking so you’d think life would be easier for me)

I’ve been finding the ‘Getting Things Done’ approach helpful recently. Also, it sometimes helps to drop your standards!

Good luck with finding your own balance!

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geekmummy January 30, 2012 at 9:36 pm

My standards have dropped quite a way, it must be said!

I do have the Getting Things Done book, but haven’t made time to read it yet!

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Ruth @ Minibreak Mummy January 30, 2012 at 9:53 pm

I think you’re probably already doing some of the ‘Getting Things Done’ techniques.

The single most useful thing that I now do as a result of reading the book is to apply ‘the 2 minute rule’. If I can do something quickly I do it straight away then that’s one less thing to add to the to do list. This has made my inbox much less of a nightmare.

Now all I have to do is find time to write that blogpost about GTD that I’ve been meaning to write ;-)

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Hilary January 27, 2012 at 1:42 pm

It’s tough. This will sound familiar to a lot of people. The thing that helps us a bit when things are mental is to double cook – ie double up quantities and fill the freezer with ‘spare’ meals when you can, for when days don’t go to plan or you just don’t want to start cooking at 8pm and finish eating at 10 (which we also often do, though A does a lot of the cooking as he’s often downstairs from bedtime first). When A is away it’s brilliant to be able to have a few meals in hand, or when we’re both working long hours or need to work in the evenings.

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geekmummy January 30, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Yeah, I have been trying to do this a bit. Must figure out what is filling my freezer up, as it’s crammed at the moment, but not many meals in there…

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claire January 27, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Ha, I believe I’ve been quoted! :-)

I’m becoming convinced that there’s no such thing as a “part time job”, just a full time job in part time hours. Certainly feels like that’s what I’m doing at the moment.

My only ‘resolution’ at the start of the year was to enjoy the time with my girls more, rather than resent it because I can’t get things done. I’m particularly trying to make the most of the time with Lizzie before she goes to school. (Although I have a nasty feeling that when she does, I’ll just end up working an extra 3 hours a day for no extra money.)

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geekmummy January 30, 2012 at 9:38 pm

You recognise it! :)

Yes, I agree with you – what I’m doing would certainly expand to fill a full-time job if I let it.

I was saying to the geekdaddy the other day that we need to take the opportunity to do some things as a family all together before the geekdaughter starts school – it’s our last chance to do stuff outside school holidays and I’d hate to waste that!

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Kristin January 27, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Ruth, the only way I’ve survived my full time job, commute, and now 9 mo old daughter is to use the “once a month” cooking method. Also, I have a lady come to do the major cleaning (bathrooms, floors, etc) every other week -out although I know that’s not an option for many. It’s hard not to have time for yourself. My only “me” time is during my commute and 20 minutes of tv before bed. But seriously, check out a once a month cooking cookbook. You spend 8 hrs cooking on a weekend and put meals for a month in the freezer – 2 if it’s just a couple eating.

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geekmummy January 30, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Sounds interesting – I’ll check that out, thanks Kristin. Although I’d have to invest in a new freezer – my current one is both very small and crammed full already!

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breadwinnermum January 27, 2012 at 11:18 pm

Cook 2 dinners worth of food on Sunday and then you’ve got Mondays home cooked dinner but with no fuss other than reheating.

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geekmummy January 30, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Yup, definitely something I need to do more of, thanks :)

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