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It's all just too much

(16 Posts)
sarasizzle Thu 28-May-09 14:29:01


I'm new to posting on mumsnet and hope this is the right place to post about this.

My dd is 2 on Sunday. I went back to work part-time when she was seven and a half months old.

I was promoted when on ML and went from a job where I was very much working alone and able to manage my own workload, to managing a team.

In the past year and a bit the bit of the business I manage has done well and i've been given even more responsibility.

But now i'm back fulltime (the role became full time and if I wanted to keep it I had no real choice)

I have loads of pressure on me from the people I manage, particularly, to do SO much to support them. I'm working stupidly long hours, often when I get home too, and I miss my dd so much I am crying myself to sleep at night.

I feel like, even working 5 days a week, I can't get even a tiny bit of what I need to done at work, the flat falls apart around me and I spend Saturdays doing housework.

I am so stressed. I used to love my job but the more responsibility I get the more miserable I am.

I don't know if it's a bit of a 'too much too young' thing. I have always worked myself in to the ground to get to where I am but now I feel like i'd just love to go and hand my notice in and stay at home.

We want to buy a place of our own though, and if I do that we have no chance.

I keep having panic attacks and I feel like I let everyone down.

Does anyone who works full time (or doesn't!) have any advice? I feel totally paralysed by indecision about what I want. All I know is that I am only happy when i get time with dd and can forget about everything else. It just hardly happens these days

fluffyanimal Thu 28-May-09 14:36:27

I work full time but I'm fortunate in that although my job has its stressful moments I basically love it and wouldn't choose to work part time. But I do find it hard to cope with housework, cooking etc. We are currently looking to see if we can afford a cleaner.

I'd say the same thing to anyone - no amount of money is worth it if your job is making you miserable. My dh was in a job he didn't like for a while and took a pay cut to move into a job that he does enjoy. We'd be living the high life now if he'd stayed, but he'd be depressed so it really isn't worth it. Can you talk to your line manager about going back to doing something you are happier with? is your dp supportive? Can you put your plans to buy a house on hold for a bit, look for ways to economise instead?

sarasizzle Thu 28-May-09 14:45:41

Hey fluffyanimal thank you, you are right, i know.

DP is very supportive, we actually met at work and he does a very similar role to mine in another bit of the same business. He wants me to be happy, I think it's my own guilt about not contributing enought that holds me back. That and worry that not getting on with it and progressing now will hold me back in the future.

We could put our plans on hold, the only problem is that he is older than me (I'm 26 and he's 38) and he's never settled down and is desperate to now... get some roots laid. I'd also like to feel more settled, wspecially ready for dd to start school.

I work in publishing and I love it at heart, I just don't know if I am capable of the manging the amount of responsibility I have at work and giving enough to my dd.

My line manager is very good at making me feel better when I talk to her, but then nothing changing...

Thanks for your advice.

MrsMerryHenry Thu 28-May-09 14:53:19

Sara, how long have you been in your new job? Is it possible that since taking on more responsibility at work, nothing has changed for you outside work?

It's quite common for us women to put pressure on ourselves to keep all the fires burning no matter what. I had to learn (working freelance, not full-time) to lower my standards about things like tidiness of the home, cooking a 'proper' meal, etc. Nowadays I cook more in bulk and freeze portions, and on days when I can't cook I'll happily do baked beans, mash and Swedish meatballs. We still eat well and I'm much less stressed.

So I think fluffy's suggestion about a cleaner is an excellent one - are there any other areas of home life which you could alter? Also don't forget that it takes about 3 months to properly settle into a new job, so be kind to yourself. Then if you finally decide it really is more than you can handle, at least you can satisfy yourself that you've given it your very best shot.

sarasizzle Thu 28-May-09 15:02:14

Thanks MrsMerryHenry

It's always been the same job since after my maternity leave, just that the part of the business I manage (anything to do with the internet, websites, email-marketing, digital publishing) has grown and grown. I have only been back full-time, with a re-structured team (I also had the hideous situation of having to make redundancies recently) for about 2 months.

And you're right, nothing has changed at home. We live in a fairly small flat which we moved in to quite recently to try and make things easier (it's a modern new build type thing, no my style at all but very new and supposedly easy to keep clean - and is also only a stones throw from dd's nursery and the train station to get in to work).

Other than that though, I'm still trying to keep everything running smoothly, DP helps a lot, he just seems better at coping with it all than me.

Our HR director at work is fantastic and very supportive and I talk to her about it a lot. I think everyone else thinks I put all the pressure on myself, but I feel like the second I take my foot off the pedal and try to relax, even for a minute, I get criticized or something goes wrong.

I have so much I should feel grateful for and I just feel like a total moron feeling so down all the time.

DD LOVES her nursery and is so affectionate when I pick her up and so excited to see me. I do take a lot of comfort in that - that she seems so well adjusted and happy. I really would love to spend more quality time as a family.

A cleaner is a good idea. I don't know how much they cost, but tbh I would give up something else quite happily if it meant I didn't have to spend my saturdays scrubbing floors and toilets without having to live in a hovel!

sarasizzle Thu 28-May-09 15:13:18

Also just to add to this, I think one of the things that effects my stress levels is that both me and DP are living 2/3 hours drive from any family which means support / babysitters or any help beyond each other is a real rarity. I think not having anyone around who, for example, can have dd for a few hours whilst we go out for some food, or pick her up from nursery if we are both running late / trains are delayed etc. has a massive effect on the pressure on both of us to keep going at full throttle no matter what.

jelliebelly Thu 28-May-09 15:19:28

2 months isn't very long for you to adjust to your new position at both work and home. You need to make some changes though if you are feeling like this - it doesn't really sound to me from your posts that you actually want to resign and stay at home full time so you need to think about what you can change. When I worked full time with ds (currently on mat leave with dd who is 4mths old), I found the following invaluable for ensuring that weekends were family time rather than time to catch up on chores.

1. get a cleaner (not always as expensive as you think esp with a small flat)
2. pay somebody to do your ironing
3. meal plan and do all supermarket shopping online (at work if poss)

sarasizzle Thu 28-May-09 15:23:58

jelliebelly - I think you're probably right that I don't want to stay at home full-time (unless maybe I was working from home) it's more about getting more time with dd. But yes something has to change.

Thanks so much for your ideas.

We do do online shopping but trying to do it on my lunchhour at work is a fantastic idea.

And paying someone to iron? OMG! That would be a DREAM COME TRUE. I think the sight of our ironing pile when I get home on an evening sinks me to the lowest I ever feel in a day.

I hope you're enjoying your maternity leave.

MrsMerryHenry Thu 28-May-09 15:30:11

Many cleaners will do ironing so you could kill two birds with one stone.

We last paid £5 ph for a cleaner, in 2007. She was a godsend. Just once a week for two hours in a small flat should be sufficient to do the most important areas, and then you can keep the rest ticking over with far less pressure - and, consequently, that bit more time to spend with DD.

So glad for you that she loves her nursery, that makes a massive difference, doesn't it? you really need to iron everything? Be ruthless. Or try going a weekend wearing clothes that aren't ironed - t-shirts, cardigans, jeans, etc don't need it. Just try it out and see if you can save time here, too.

Also if you're cooking lots, do cook twice the quantity and freeze it. It will change your life, I promise!

Good luck!

jelliebelly Thu 28-May-09 15:31:27

I went back to work full time when ds was 6 mths old (he is 3.5yo now) - it took us longer than 2 months to adjust but all of those things helped enormously and the cleaner/ironing in particular didn't cost as much as I thought they would. You will honestly feel like a different person if you come home from work to a clean house with no ironing pile in it..

The nursery pick up thing I can identify with too - trains are not the most reliable mode of transport always! I did have a self imposed rule that I would be out of the office at the same time every night regardless of what was going on to make sure that I caught a particular train though. Dh took ds to nursery so that I could start work early and I used to collect him so that dh could work a bit later.

Hope it works out smile

violethill Thu 28-May-09 19:56:37

Nothing to add except I agree that 2 months is very early days - it will get easier, just give it time,don't be too hard on yourself. Try to make the practical changes which will make life a bit easier - and remember that your dd is absolutely fine. It's a shame that you're missing her and don't feel the balance is right at the moment, but she really will be fine. And hopefully once you settle into the job, you'll find a routine which suits you all.

OrangeKnickers Mon 01-Jun-09 15:01:04

I second the no-ironing. Stop buying anything that needs ironing. All my clothes I dry on a hanger so they look uncrumpled but I don't iron anything. The cleaner irons dh shirts. Bedsheets, underwear, towels DO NOT need ironing.

Perhaps you could ask nursery staff if they could be a back up if you did miss a train / have train issues. Or find a nice childminder who would do babysitting. Maybe some of the other nursery mums need a babysitter too and you could take turns?

Also check out 'healthy' quick food. I like the 'Innocent' veg pots. Also frozen organic veg for emergency dc food.

Recently dh and I have started eating more at lunch and then skipping our evening meal. We get a whole evening with no cooking or washing up and we are getting slimmer. Yay!

Shanster Wed 03-Jun-09 01:11:17

Forget the ironing, just hang up your clothes as soon as the dryer has finished...this saves me a few hours a week. I sympathize, I went bak full time when DD was 3 months and there are days when I feel like I am making too many sacrifices. I am meeting my boss tomorrow to propose a 4 day work week with a pay cut. I'll still be doing the work of 1 person, but not 1.8 people (which is what the resource plan has me allocated since I went back).
I am trying to be more laid back about cleaning, priorities outside work are now spending time with DD, eating dinner then getting some sleep.
More of an existence than a life really, but hopefully things will improve.
Good luck

BottySpottom Tue 09-Jun-09 22:17:35

Sitters, the babysitting agency, are good in our experience. They could provide some support so that you can get a bit more time to yourselves too.

Orissiah Mon 15-Jun-09 11:24:44

Forget the ironing. I do not need to iron my clothes as I hang up to dry; DH irons his own shirts on Sunday.

Get a cleaner or lower your standards. We live in a 3 bed house and I limit housework to 1 hour on the weekend (I hoover and dust while my DH cleans bathroom and kitchen). Amazing what you can do in 1 hour frenzy!

I work fulltime (by choice as I love my career) so only see DD 2 hours a day during the week - 1 hour in morning and 1 hour in evening so weekend time is precious.

I menu-plan and online shop one lunchtime a week. DH picks up bits and pieces on the way home from work.

I live and work in London so commute is not a problem for me as I have a variety of Tube lines I can hop on if one isn't working. But I still get stressed at the thought of having to pick up LO by 6pm at latest. I alleviate the stress a bit by making sure I leave work by 5.15pm on the dot - no questions. I have even walked out of a meeting, but ensured I picked up on work on that day after LO had gone to bed.

I miss DD too, but she is so happy with her childminder and her little baby friends there that it helps me feel much less stressed about missing her.

Give yourself a break :-)

Poledra Mon 15-Jun-09 11:43:03

First of all, you're NOT letting anyone down. You are trying to do everything and be all things to all people. It's just not possible.

I have worked fulltime after DD1 and DD2. I had a cleaner, I shopped online, I am a slattern grin - it helps! I have a childminder rather than a nursery, and it does help as she is very flexible (like the day DH forgot he was collecting the children and was an hour late hmm. She gave the children their tea while they waited for him!). However, it sounds like your DD is really happy where she is, so perhaps you need to discuss back-up plans with them for unexpected lateness.

I am currently on mat leave with DD3 and I know that I, like you, would be too unhappy to work FT now, and would struggle to fit it all in (my cleaner retired while I was on mat leave) so I am going back 4 days a week with the paycut (obviously, though I'd love them to keep paying me the same smile). You sound like you are a real asset to your company, so surely they would be willing to consider this? When I first started in my line of work 10 years ago, it was thought that you couldn't do my job part-time. Now, loads of people are doing it. Can you work from home a couple of days a week, so you cut out the commute and the stress of collecting DD?

Think hard about giving up your job - I have thought about it and right now would do it in a flash, but DH thinks (probably rightly) that I'd be chewing my hands in boredom once the girls were all at school, so I need to keep my hand in, as it were, at the moment. Would you really be happy at home, or would you be bored? Yes, we all adore our DCs, but would that be enough for you?

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