24 Hours a Day
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.
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.
“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?
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?
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.