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AIBU to ask how to sort my life out?

(12 Posts)
tiredlazyandfedup Mon 04-Mar-19 14:34:05

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with life at the moment. I have 3 kids, work full time, DH also works full time and is away from home from early Monday to late Friday evening. I'm just about managing to keep all the plates spinning but with DH being away it is pretty hectic and is starting to affect my health. I don't sleep well (partly because my youngest is 11 months and not a great sleeper, but also because I lie awake worrying about everything I need to do), I'm putting on weight because I feel like I don't have time/energy to exercise and am now firmly in the overweight category, our finances are just about ok but I know I spend too much on convenience food, etc, to reduce the amount of cooking I do. The house is almost always untidy and I'm falling behind at work as I've had to take loads of time off over winter when the kids have been ill and I'm always late into the office, working through lunch then rushing to leave on time so I can be back for pick up times. DH is trying to get a job closer to home but has been looking for over a year now so I can't hold out for that any longer. I feel like things have reached tipping point and I need to make some changes to save my sanity! But what to do? Options I'm considering are:

- reducing my working days to 4 per week. I'd have to keep DD2 and Dd3 on those days to reduce childcare costs to offset the reduction in wages so I might not necessarily get more done, but I'd get more time with my babies and an extra day where I can just focus on home life without work getting in the way.
- ask to work 1 or 2 days from home. As I work an hour away from home this would mean more time in the evening to cook healthily on those days and I can take care of some laundry etc while I'm in the house. Not sure if work would go for it as I manage a team and they like me to be "visible", but I'm sure they also prefer me to not have a some kind of a breakdown so perhaps we could compromise.
- try one of these life fixing systems like the organised mum and hope that it revolutionises my life and takes away all my problems. Other people work and have families and have perfect show homes, so maybe I am just lazy and disorganised.

Which of the above do you think would help the most? Or is there an option 4 that I've not considered? Help me Mumsnet!

Merryoldgoat Mon 04-Mar-19 14:50:03

I know how you feel - I don’t have have half the stressors you do as I work locally and my DH is home every night at a reasonable time but I find keeping on top of everything very challenging.

Here’s what helped me:

Meal planning and batch cooking
Food shopping online
A cleaner
Sending my ironing out
Sorting the week’s clothes on Sunday night
Teaching my older child to be more independent

I only work three days however so whilst I have the baby those days it keeps things less stressful.

When will your children get the 30 free hours?

Blessthekids Mon 04-Mar-19 14:55:16

flowers For you OP. Firstly, stop being so hard on yourself and do not compare yourself to 'perfect' mums/families, many of those have hired help or throw money at problems even if they often do not admit to it.

Accept that you can't do everything and prioritize what you definitely want done and forget the rest. Unless you plan to have constant visitors then an untidy house is fine.

I would try to go for the work from home option but don't overstretch yourself by doing too much. Use some time on yourself to rest. If you are more refreshed you will get more done as your mind is not all over the place.

And can anyone help? You don't have to do this all yourself. Do you know someone who is a good cook and wouldn't mind batch cooking some food once a month for you to freeze. Can you hire a cleaner just to the basics?

VivaFrida Mon 04-Mar-19 14:58:34

Dear tiredlazyandfedup, not unreasonable at all!

First of all you are not lazy, you have 3 kids, including one 11 month old baby and you work full time? Managing a team? You are a hero, woman!!

If i can empathise a little sharing my own predicament, I have lived a similar situation to you as until last spring when I graduated I was doing a PhD full time AND working for not one but two demanding projects AND writing and publishing peer-reviewed articles in my field AND having a family (two kids, teens, but still a family).

Like you I felt constantly behind, did not have a weekend, and honestly the three years of my PhD are now a bit of a blur. Like you I put weight on and neglected everything that made me "me". I used to suffer of depression and anxiety in my early twenties, and the anxiety made a very unhappy comeback when I was living this situation. Life is just really, really hard on women and it's not helping that some public sectors are in deep crisis at the moment and there are less economic opportunities.

My situation was different from yours in that my PhD was a temporary addition to my life, but then things precipitated when one of my important contracts was terminated (not my fault) so I found myself also in a precarious professional position, fortunately by that time I was about to submit my thesis so the fall in finances wasn't as life shattering as it could have been.

What helped me then was to think that the situation was temporary and have a cleaner! I also recognise what you say about spending more money in convenience foods.

My life now is similar to point 1 and 2 of your list: I work part-time (4 days per week) and i work quite a lot from home; I am also in the process of terminating the second contract (this time coming from me) because i realised that, yes, it was bringing me money but it was also taking too much of my time and making me busy and not open to other professional opportunities.

I would say, if I were you, I'd try to do both - work part time AND work some of the time from home; it is a life changer. However (and I speak for myself here, not wanting to give advice as we are all fighting the same struggle) what has also helped me is to have some firm boundaries; saying no to things that take time and absorb energy and do not give anything back (I used to be quite active in local politics and held office for a political party but realised that, although I still believe I the party's ideals, that was not really improving my quality of life - all the admin related to that was another job in itself!).

So, sorry for the long post, I just wanted to say that I think you are being awesome, and if I were to give you any advice I'd say: cut a corner of time for yourself. You are totally worth it Sistah!

Frida x

VivaFrida Mon 04-Mar-19 15:01:56

PS just to clarify when I say I held office for a political party was for a non-paid exec committee position, I wasn't an MP or anything glamorous (read: paid).

tiredlazyandfedup Mon 04-Mar-19 15:03:17

Thanks @Merryoldgoat. I'm in Northern Ireland so we don't get 30hrs free childcare! We get 12hrs so it's not nothing, but still! I do have a cleaner come once a fortnight so I just have to keep the place topped up and then she'll blitz it when she comes. That helps a lot, but maybe if we stretched to once a week it might be easier. I do batch cook to a certain extent when I'm organised, but I find it really hard in the evenings to cook, supervise DD1s homework and get the younger 2 ready for bed. We don't get in until around 6.30pm and two youngest can't cope with being awake after 7.30, so that hour is utter chaos and that is when instead of spending half an hour making the casserole I had planned, it all goes to pot and I end up doing pasta and pesto again! When I force myself to do it I'm so happy as I know it will make the next evening so much easier. I just need the motivation!

Feelingfullandreadytoclean Mon 04-Mar-19 15:07:21

Do you have any spare income to out source some help?
-Childminders? Cleaners?
-Online shopping (could even get DH to do it for you as he doesn't need to be home to do the ordering bit)
-Make bedroom tidying part of bedtime routine.
-slow cooker

tiredlazyandfedup Mon 04-Mar-19 15:07:49

@VivaFrida it's all about getting the balance right isn't it. I do love my job, and I love being a mum but sometimes it is hard to do both well unless you make compromises. Sounds like you have got it sorted now so it is good to know that cutting back a bit on work does help.

Feelingfullandreadytoclean Mon 04-Mar-19 15:08:43

Just seen your update... Sorry I wasn't more helpful. Sounds like you need 2 pairs of hands. I hope it gets better for you

tiredlazyandfedup Mon 04-Mar-19 15:12:54

Actually @Feelingfullandreadytoclean you raise a good point. There could be some things that DH could do remotely even if he is not physically here. Ordering an online shop is definitely one of those. He'd need a bit of hand holding to start with as he's not been here during the week for so long he probably doesn't even know what we'd need, but it's not exactly rocket science!

LemonTT Mon 04-Mar-19 15:15:47

I think you and your DP need to sit down and have discussion about work life balance. It’s not just your issue.

ATM neither of you live near work, potentially adding commuting costs. Why?

Could your DP work from home one day per week as well as you. He really needs to try for this as much as you do. Or he could condense his hours into 4 days.

Look at things that can be done at the weekend to lighten the weekday loads and share these put fairly as families priorities. So they come before hobbies, activities and socialising for both of you.

Stop doing anything that doesn’t need to be done. Or get someone else to do it. Just make your life simpler and ditch perfectionism.

CielBleuEtNuages Mon 04-Mar-19 15:26:49

You need 2 things:
1) make all the boring chores easier/quicker
2) force yourself to spend some time on yourself

Without number 2, all you will be doing is not falling behind on chores, but not creating any downtime/me time for you. I made this mistake. And it doesn't make you any happier. Life is still just a treadmill.

Can you batch cook meals, at least for the DC? I batch cook meals at the weekend and freeze. Our babysitter collects DC from school and looks after them until 7 and all she has to do is heat-up and add rice/pasta/potatoes. They have the same menu every week so I don't have to think about it. (Monday = chicken casserole, Tuesday = soup, Wednesday = fish pie, Thursday = lamb casserole, Friday = pasta). The DC don't care.

I get in at 7, do HW with the eldest, play for a bit then put them to bed.

DH eats later after work and I generally grab a sandwich cos I eat a main meal at lunchtime.

Shopping = DH on the way home from work + Saturday mornings for fresh

Cleaning = we used to have a cleaner but now we don't and it's fine. Just both of us chip in with odd jobs throughout the week, with the big floor clear and hoover on Sunday late afternoon.

Washing = on a timer so it's finished when I get home from work. i hang it out and clear it away the next morning or evening.

DH and I prioritise our exercise at the weekend. I never used to but it was making me depressed and unfit. We have a way of doing it that includes the DC (swimming) but if one is ill and unable to go, the Mummy is priority, not the other DC who is well. This is a huge turnabout - I always used to prioritise everyone except me.

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