** this is one of my own fill in posts for the weekly guest blog series (when I didn't have a guest blog to share.... this time because of my own doing.) Enjoy!
This week I'm going to do something a little different. I did have a guest post lined up for you, but I left it so last minute to review the post that I didn't give the guest blogger enough time to make her changes in order for me to send it out to you today.
This uncharacteristic oversight on my behalf is purely a function of me being completely overwhelmed with life for the past several weeks. So, while my guest blogger takes a few days to input her updates to some of the things I think you readers are going to want to know from her..... I thought I'd take this opportunity to share with all of you what I've noticed about my own formula when work and home both go out of control at the same time....
Here are some of the causes of the chaos in my life right now. Sometimes circumstances outside of your control can create the perfect storm.
On September 25th My husband went in for a pretty major surgery. We knew it was something he had to do and we even decided fall would be an okay time for us both to manage him being down and out. The issue though - we both planned on a 4-6 week recovery max (which appears was a slight underestimation). He's been almost completely out of commission for 5 weeks now - so besides being able to stand to do the dishes each day, the rest of the "home & kid" responsibilities are mine to manage or delegate.
In May of this year I accepted a promotion at work that transitioned very quickly. Like, so quickly there was not enough time for much crossover training. I find myself in many of those "sink or swim" scenarios at work lately where I either figure it out on my own - or find a resource in our industry that's willing to share their knowledge with me so I can get it right. Everything at work just simply takes me longer to do than I expect. Q3 financial reporting was due mid October, with budgets and five year plans due in November. Not to mention our annual regulatory filing that is ongoing with our regulator at the moment. This is A LOT for me to learn in a short period of time.
This perfect storm has made the last 5 weeks of my life feel like a whirlwind and I just want it to end. I want to be through it all and on the other side wiping my brow, thankful that life can go back to normal.
This is what my formula would've entailed in the past - just put my head down and plow through, the entire time being miserable to anyone in my life - my family, my co-workers, my friends. Stress sucked the joy out of me - but there was no softening of my approach to adjust for the stressful times. I kept up with normal life and just decreased the amount of sleep and enjoyment I got out of each day.
An older and wiser me has decided to take another approach. Here are some of the things I think are reasonable changes to my formula when "busy at home"collides with "busy at work":
1. I need to walk the talk when it comes to what I call the health trifecta - sleep, good food and movement (in that order).
As I mentioned above, sleep was not a consideration for me in the past - but now, I know if I want to survive the stress, I have to put it at the top of my list. What this means is that if I'm working late or running with the kids until past my bedtime - I need to sacrifice either one or both of the 2hrs I typically have set aside for myself in a morning for creating for YFFL and working out so that I can sleep. Yes - that is right - in my survival formula - sleep trumps workouts.
In a time where there are 5 million people around me with nasty sinus colds and chest infections - I need to walk the talk when it comes to fueling my body for ultimate performance (mental performance that is). So - I avoid sugar where I can, and I stick to the same foods every day. Like literally the exact same foods each and every day so I don't even have to think about it. This not only saves the effort of having to think about what to eat, but it also ensures I'm not stress eating! The last thing I want is to have to deal with pants that are too tight right now too!!
I also try to chug water like crazy. Flush those toxins! I can't afford sickness right now!!!
2. I accept all of the help that is offered.
In the past I used to resist accepting help. This was not because I didn't need or want it - but more because it was overwhelming when people offered to help. It felt like they were overstepping and trying to take control of my life - so I simply resisted.
I nipped this perception in the bud the last time chaos hit my life for both myself and the helpers but simply letting them know that while I appreciated all of their offers - I needed them to wait for me to ask for their help before they just jumped in and took over. This approach worked well.
This time I have asked for help pretty much every day since Todd's surgery date. My sister even moved in with us for the entire week he was in the hospital so that I could spend as much time needed at the hospital or at work while she managed running the kids to their daily activities and making sure they ate more than cereal every night for supper! My in-laws have also helped with running the kids to dance and hockey several times per week since that first week post-surgery and last week while my in-laws were away my parents did the running and my mom made us supper twice and cleaned my entire house while I attended evening meetings. Oh how nice to come home to a home cooked meal and a clean house!
My formula right now - if it's causing me stress because it's piling up or I just don't know how I'm going to manage fitting it in - I ask for help. This includes even the little odd jobs - like picking up skates from a sharpening and a hockey stick set aside at a store. People want to help and if it makes my life easier right now - I just say YES! and THANK YOU! (that includes letting our neighbours cut our grass every time they've cut their own for the past 5 weeks so that I don't have to nag Zach to get out there and do it. I have no patience for nagging right now - so I'll gladly trade a thank-you bottle of wine with my kind-hearted, helpful neighbours because they saved me that frustration).
3. I try not to let myself reach melt-down state.
Now, this is a work in progress - and with age, I'm getting better at predicting when melt-down will ensue. That does not mean that this moment of chaos in my life hasn't seen me lose my shit.... a few times! Yes, I've yelled at Todd who can barely get off the couch because the dishes weren't done one evening when I got home at 9pm (since then I've done my best to ignore the ridiculous kitchen mess - he gets at it eventually).
I did swear in front of Zach during one freak-out where I simply could not fight with him to get into the shower before leaving for a hockey tournament. His logic, that despite smelling like a giant hockey glove from practice the night before, was that he was just going to smell like that again in a few hours after his first hockey game of the tournament. My logic - I have to ride with you to your game so please do NOT force me to sit beside a giant, stinky hockey glove the entire way to your tournament!!!!
I'm sure my coworkers would also agree I've dropped an unproportionate amount of f-bombs in the past month compared to my usual. I generally save these for conversations with the trusted few at work who know the entire story of my life in the moment.
On the positive side of things - I'm 5 weeks into this storm and I've only experienced a handful of meltdowns. Usually they just occur when I'm alone in my car and I let the tears flow - but I get myself under control before I have to be around others. Letting it out in a less explosive manner most of the time is a great change to my formula for a chaotic life.
I'm sure I've forgotten some elements of my own formula for making it through a stormy time at home and at work - but the point is - we all NEED to adjust when these times are upon us.
I'd love to hear from you on this topic! When shit hits the fan in your world - how do you adjust to make it through - all while keeping what's important to you in focus. Put your comments below and please share your formula!
And on that note - I'm out of here! I'm writing this after having worked 5 hours of my Saturday - so now I'm heading to pick up pizza and go home to my family (who are all miraculously there right now) so we can have a pizza/movie night.
If you are a mom who works outside of the home and often find yourself wondering - how in the eff am I supposed to do it all?? - you have found your tribe! Come back to this page often to see what new content is being shared, or sign up for one of the free communications offered by YFFL. You can find all of the relevant links by heading back to the resources section of this site. And last but not least - WELCOME! So happy you are here.