Some advice from an old bird
Wednesday, July 31, 2019
I had what might be best described as an "old fashioned" upbringing. Men are the lord and masters and it's your purpose, as a woman, to make their lives as easy as possible. Clean house, clean kids, gourmet meals, waitress service, the lot.
Working full time? No excuse. Women's work is women's work.
Raising kids? You're not doing a good enough job. That was in the days before Instagram et al so I dread to think how great the pressure is now.
You are expected to work yourself to the bone. No complaining now, you're a woman, it's just the way it is.
Don't get me wrong, of course I want to see my family happy and well fed. I enjoy having a reasonably clean house (type A personality, remember) and I'm not, for a second, suggesting you neglect you and yours.
The problem is, martyrdom is not an accomplishment. It's not something you should be working this hard to achieve.
If something happened to you (God forbid) how would your family cope? I know it's an uncomfortable thought but it's something many of us completely ignore. In order to be able to care for our family and homes we HAVE to take care of ourselves.
I raised two kids, single handed for a long time, and worked, while being in a wheelchair. I understand completely where some of you are but you MUST find a way to care for yourself too.
Maybe you had an upbringing that taught you that you're not worth caring for.
Maybe you're just so caught up in the daily grind you think you don't have time.
YOU DON'T HAVE A CHOICE!!!
In the same way you can't drive a car at 80mph all day every day and then act surprised when it blows up, you can't expect to keep going flat out all day every day. Cars are replaceable if abused. You are not.
What will it take for you to have 30 mins a day to yourself? OK, that was a bit ambitious, how about 15mins? That's less than 1% of your day!
Do other family members need to step up and do more (my hubby still thinks he deserves a medal for washing up three times a week lol). I resisted giving my kids chores because I spent so much of my "childhood" cleaning I wanted the opposite for them. End result is a pair of lazy slobs. Oh, to have a do-over! In the beginning, it might seem like it takes longer to supervise than to do yourself but take the long view - eventually that's two mins you will be able to claim back. Three kids is six mins - oh the freedom!
Of course we want our kids to do as much as possible but do they really need all those after school activities? Heresy, I know. But something to think about. Perhaps dropping one thing will also mean you can work an hour less to earn the money to do the thing and run the car to sit in traffic then wait around.
What about your diet? I'm the last one to berate you for the odd take-away meal but if it's happening regularly then that's a red flag. Healthy doesn't have to take long. I love my Instant Pot - chuck it in in the morning, dish it up that night, job done. Salads are quick. Pre-prepped salads are more expensive but still cheaper than a drive though. Eating out is expensive. That means more time at work just to pay for food that's not that great for you because you're too tired to cook because of the hours you work....
Again, no blame, no guilt, just something to think about.
What about your household budget?
I scrimped and saved and still fell short the whole time. I skipped more meals than I ate so the kids never went hungry. Every time I tried to write out a budget I gave up because there was no way the books were ever going to balance. I didn't have a car, we never have had a holiday, clothes (other than school uniforms) came from charity shops. A tad stressful, I'm sure you'd agree.
Maybe (hopefully) your budget isn't quite as tight. Do you need subscriptions to all those TV channels? Will your car last another year? Do you really need to upgrade your phone to the latest model every time? Entirely up to you, but consider the real cost in terms of hours worked and the toll on you. Write all your spending down or use an app (I like YNAB - loads of videos on Youtube to show you how it works).
It's easy to think "I'll just get to xyz, then I'll take it easier". The trouble is, life doesn't always accommodate us.
The most important person in your family is YOU. Take time to care for YOU. Check in regularly on how YOU are doing.
YOU are IRREPLACEABLE!