Wednesday, June 29, 2011

stream of ... unorganized thought

I've been out of work for almost three weeks.


I've slept for nearly two and a half of them.


After taking things very easy last week, I had every intention of returning this past Thursday, but when I woke up that morning with a temperature, I returned to the doctor where I was warned of a possible relapse.


Then I came home and slept.

I'm getting very good at it, these days.


When the doctor told me a full recovery could take several weeks, I thought for sure I'd do it in half the time because I'm nothing if not ambitious. Although previously suspected, it's now been confirmed by a medical professional, I'm also delusional.

I'm still on medication and will be for quite some time. For example, to combat my low cortisol levels, I'm on Prednisone. Actually, I'm thankful to still be on Prednisone because if I've been this fatigued while on a steroid, I have no doubt I'd be unconscious without that daily supplement. I'll be following up with a specialist next week and I'm optimistic they'll assure me that everything I've been experiencing is par for the course and I'll be JUST FINE.


Okay, so while I'm a delusional optimist, I'm also a realist and I understand that there could be some underlying issues that might not so quickly resolve. So during these past few weeks of recuperation, there has been a lot of introspection about what I need to do, going forward to ensure I stay healthy. Then, yesterday I read this blog post and it really struck me...

88% of working parents suffer stress-related health problems.

I've always suspected the number was high, but not quite that high. As I was reading this post, I was thinking, "Gosh, it's no wonder almost all the working parents (especially working mothers) I know feel like they've got the weight of the world on their shoulders!" After reading all the various statistics, one sentence jumped off my computer screen and made me stop, think, read it again and then nod in agreement.

Most jobs are made for people who have no caregiving responsibilities.


Even though Charlie is currently serving in the role as primary caregiver in our family ... I have caregiving responsibilities, too. And here's the kicker: I want those caregiving responsibilities. I don't want to completely outsource them. I want to get children off to school during the day and help them with their homework and talk to them about social challenges they're facing at school. Because, hello, even in kindergarten - THERE ARE SOCIAL CHALLENGES.

Gosh, it starts early.

As I often tell my husband, recall it was me .... ME!!! ... who prayed and begged for a baby every single day for more than a decade. And then boom, boom, boom ... BOOM! ... they were here. Within a span of less than three years, all my prayers were answered. And almost immediately, a whole new set of prayers began.


Um, Universe?

How are we supposed to manage this?

What do you mean, WE have to figure it out?!


I often ask myself, how is it possible that a person is supposed to work out of the home for 40+ hours a week, while also doing a good job raising a family and also taking care of domestic responsibilities? And then ... of course ... how do they also take care of themselves?


After living this high-caliber busy work life for the past year and looking at it from every possible angle, the answer is: They Don't Because Something Has To Give.

I know that Charlie and I are lucky in the sense that one of us is home with the children. Even though he does work a lot at night, once the children are in bed, I know it would be so much more challenging if he was in an office all day, too.

Or, if ... God Forbid ... one of us was ever raising the family on our own.


I really loved one of the comments to the post, above:
Today's work doesn't have a quitting time - it's just there, and you know what you need to get done that day, and you find a way to do it, but when dinner is burning and work is on fire and my daughter is asking if the computer is more important than her, I can literally feel the heart attack coming on.
Most days, I'm not working at home, but I'll be working in the office and I can feel the heart attack coming on when I look at the clock and it's 6:30 and I'm still not finished with a project. Before me there is a 45-minute drive home and I'll see the kids for 10 minutes before they need to go to bed. And once they're in bed, I'll open up my computer to finish what I didn't complete before I had to leave for the day. Alternatively, I don't work at night, and I can feel the heart attack coming on for what waits for me in the morning.


My dilemma: when I'm working, I think about the family. When I'm with the family, I think about work and the house and all the stuff in it and the green shaggy stuff that grows around it that I'd love to cut, if only once, using my new birthday present.

Wrapped around all these "thoughts" is a nice colorful bow of guilt that I'm not managing everything better and I wonder why I can't turn OFF the "work" switch and ON the "family" switch and is it possible I've got some faulty wiring in my brain?


There is a program offered through the Human Performance Institute called, "Corporate Athlete." Although many of my co-workers have participated, I haven't yet had the opportunity to attend. From what I understand, this program is designed to help humans become more productive by managing their energy more effectively.

The concept is quite simple: Determine your goals. Work hard towards those goals. Stop and take energizing breaks. Eat small well balanced and nutritious meals. Exercise. Rest. Play Hard.
It's all very black and white assuming that you have clearly labeled "ON" and "OFF" switches in your brain which I do not.


Still, even without taking the course, I know the principles, I apply the principles, or at least, I try my best every day to acknowledge the principles. But what's always been a chafe for me is that when "something" has got to give, that "something" has always been me.

Eh, who needs eight seven .... six hours of sleep?!

I can funkshun on five!


I know that there's only so much of me to go around and darn it all to hot fudge Sundae if I don't have an addiction to taking on more. Considering just last week I volunteered for the PTA next year, I do believe that an intervention and 12-step program is in order.

But. But ... I want to help our children's school. Because I LOVE them. And isn't that what a mother who is interested in her child's education is supposed to do?


One of our wonderful neighbors dropped by last night to check up on us.

She stayed for dinner and as I was telling her about how fortunate I am to have such wonderful medical benefits that would cover the cost of an ambulance and four days in the hospital with specialist follow-ups and excellent coverage on some very expensive medications, she smiled and said, "That does sound nice. But imagine for a moment that the reason you ran yourself in to the ground and required significant medical attention in the first place is because you were working so hard. Maybe big companies offer such outstanding medical benefits for a REASON...?"

Huh. I never thought of it like that, before.

Maybe she's right.


I know for a fact that there's a solution in here, somewhere. I just haven't found it yet. Or, maybe I have and I'm seriously afraid of what that solution entails.

Moving Sale! Everything (EXCEPT THE LAWNMOWER) has got to GO!


Alright, that's definitely enough thinking for one day.

Time for a nap!


(PS: In case anyone is wondering: Yes, Henry is wearing his sister's bathing suit. It's part of his summer collection. Completing the wardrobe is his super hero cape and fireman boots. My theory is that it takes a strong male very comfortable with his inner-female to pull that look off. It also helps to have a mother who knows which battles to fight. Or maybe she's just too tired to suggest he wear his adorable surf shorts.)


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