24 Hours a Day

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It’s ten o’clock at night.  The house is quiet. My kids have long gone to bed, my husband not far behind them.

I sit down on the couch with my laptop and sigh.  I am so tired. From the top of my head to the tips of my toes, I am so tired.  But, there is still work to be done, work that I can’t do during the day with two little people who depend on me.

I feel as if I am “on” and “working” 24 hours a day.  My only break during the day is the 1 hour of silence in the afternoon when the baby is napping and my oldest is having quiet time.  During those times, I pull out my laptop, get to work, and before I know it, the silence is up and I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of what needs done.  My break at night? The six hours of sleep I get each night - IF both kids sleep all night, which is a rarity. If not, I’m lucky to get 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

I knew being a work at home mom wouldn’t be easy, but I didn’t expect to feel that my days and nights never stopped.  I am “on” during the day while I am a mom, trying to play and soothe and cuddle and clean. I am “working” in any other spare hours I can find, on my own business and the business of several of my freelance clients.

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Shark Tank is playing softly in the background as I sift through the emails that have been sitting unanswered in my inbox all week.  I feel anxious just looking at them, not knowing when I’ll have the time or brain capacity to respond. I used to feel on top of it all.  Now I’ve resorted to blocking out time on my Google Calendar of when I will have time with my kids, when I will work on which project, when I will workout.  The thing I often forget? Scheduling time to eat.

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“Why don’t you just go to bed?” my husband asks.

“Because I have so much work to do and I have two tiny people who don’t give me any time to work during the day.”

I don’t mean it to sound harsh and ungrateful.  After all, it was a giant leap of faith that allowed me to be in this position and I’m trying my damndest to stay here.  I don’t want to go back to corporate America. I want to do this.  All of it.  The exhaustion and the tears and the non-stop cleaning.  I want to keep doing this.

But then there are days where I think, “how much longer can I keep doing this?”  I am working in some capacity all day long.  When is it my turn to just sit on the couch and watch a TV show without having to think about all of the small fires I need to put out lurking inside my inbox and to-do list?  When is it my turn to enjoy a weekend without feeling guilty about all of the things I’ve left unchecked?

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I close my laptop at 11:30 and head to bed.  My brain is still spinning wildly with all of the things I didn’t finish, all the of things I need to work on tomorrow, and all of the new ideas swirling around my head.  I toss and turn for an hour trying to quiet the rush of activity in my head.

And then, there in the quiet of the night, I wonder if I’m doing it all wrong.  Is this just easier for other people? How do they juggle multiple jobs, plus kids, plus a spouse, plus life?  

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In the morning, the promise of a new day has me convinced that I’m making it worse than it is.  I sit down at my Google calendar and look at the color coded hours of the day. I can do this, it’s not that much, I will be fine.  After all, I’m so lucky to do this.