Tuesday, March 25, 2008

What is This "Down Time"?

Warning: The following post is going to sound a bit like a distant, annoying bird whose call is "rantrantrantrantrant squawk!" Please accept my apologies in advance.

Down time. What's that? Do you ever get any?

Before I begin, let me just say I realize I am a lucky girl. Great family, great support, flexibility and skill to work from home at a job I love.

But - it's cold and snowing again today and lately I have been the last woman standing in a crowd of
unhealthy people (Groom-boy caught the barfies, too), so I'm feeling a bit cranky. Not to mention I am finding it hard to keep up with my deadlines when people aren't napping as usual or aren't going to bed and staying in bed as usual or aren't going to school because of the barfies or a wonky schedule, etc.

In fact, I feel a bit panicky sometimes about this whole work-from-home thing. While most days are extraordinarily blissful, some days just aren't.

Let me be clear: I love what I do and I don't regret this path. I am building my career and my family together. It seems to be rubbing off. My son told his Nan today that when he grows up he wants to work from home - and type. "Type what?" she asked. "Just type." Aw, he wants to be like his mom. Dare to dream, boy.

Some days, though, I just need a little whine with my cheese - especially when we still have four feet of snow (and counting) at the end of March. That's just cruel.

Something that has cropped up before but that seems to be really irksome lately is a distinct lack of down time in my life. Mommy By Day, Typist (apparently) by Night is how it feels. My mom helps two or three mornings a week, but otherwise I work when children sleep, and when they don't sleep well I get stressed and have to work later. My downtime is watching the news and staring at blogs on the computer before bed, which I know is about as relaxing and regenerative as repeatedly smashing oneself in the eye with a heavy rock.

I'm not very good at relaxing. I'm routine driven and like things to be just so. (Can we say Type A much?) So when I do have some rare spare time, I often spend it feeling as if I'm forgetting to do something. That seems, well, not cool.

I've definitely got to change something there. There's needs to be a bit more foot rubbing, novel reading, movie watching, long walks in the park kinda stuff going on - things that will recharge a battery.

I've been at the work-at-home-mom thing for six years now and it has been going swimmingly, but there are cold snowy days in March when I sometimes wonder when I'm going to crack up and run screaming from the building...because it's only a matter of time [insert maniacal laughter].

I think this lucky girl could use a few days at a spa. Or a B&B. Or in a rubber room. Whatever. Just so long as someone else is doing the cooking. And it's quiet. With no hairballs. Or diapers. A little vacation from my beautiful life.

There. That felt better.


momma's heart said...

Winter in March is getting the best of us here in Ohio, too. I have spent three days researching places to live that have four seasons, are affordable, and would allow my hyper kids time outside all year long. They went outside the last two days, but not long enough to give me that recharged feeling.

Plus, my fifteen-month-old, who slept throught the night for six nights in a row recently, suddenly stopped sleeping well, apparently to birth out a couple of first-year molars, that are taking their good sweet time coming in.

Parenting young children is so rough on the nerves for us type A's. I love their incredible sweetness and world-wonder, but the noise, constant diapers, "Wipe me's", and other never-ending requests, really take a toll. Trying to live in the moment takes every once of will power I have, and then some. And I know that even five years down the line, I am going to be mourning and regrettig if I can't manage to start doing a better job of living in the moment.

Maybe we live in the moment as grandparents, when someone else is taking care of all the messy, repetitive, endless tasks?

Always enjoy your blog!

Steph said...

Thanks for your comment, Pam! I love seeing those spring flowers on your blog...sigh!

I beat myself up a lot about the living in the moment thing. On the one hand it seems so easy, and yet impossible on the other. Still, it feels good when it happens.

I hope spring finds us soon. I think that will help a lot. :)

Mama P said...

Regarding your comment that you need to do "Things that will recharge a battery..."? Well, that's just another reason why we are the SAME person. I am there with you. I was seriously just going to blog on this, and there you are talking about staying the in the present, and how important that is, but how hard it is with kids. I know. I know. I really think you'd like this other blog by someone called Monnik. She's at frazzledbutlovingit.blogspot.com. If that's not right, I'll send you another link later.

I do think, and this is the hardest thing, that you need to find stuff with less batteries to recharge your own. No computers. No phone. No tv. Something just for you. Whatever that is. It's not the same as a vacation, I know, but you need down time.

Let's talk later about this?

And let me tell you again how fabulous you are. You will never need a rubber room because you know when you're losing it and are trying to help yourself find balance. Besides, if you'd USED a rubber in the first place, you'd have more time... but you didn't. And look what you have??? Yeah for kids!

But you need your own time, too.

I am rambling like a fool. Because I SO GET THIS.


Steph said...

Mama P: I now understand why I have been feeling so brain damaged lately - clearly you are using the other half of my brain! I feel so much better knowing this. ;) I wish we lived closer so we could smash our poor brains together and lament in person. And drink coffee. Or vodka coolers. Whatever.