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Signed off with stress: how do you juggle everything?

(58 Posts)
ludolooby Tue 28-Jun-16 08:31:04

After weeks of going to the doctor with endless health issues, he has said that my symptoms are somewhat 'eratic' after completing blood tests. He now says that he believes my symptoms are down to 'severe stress' and has given me a sicknote.
I have a toddler and I'm a part-time teacher; we have been having issues lately with a parent who has been causing us a lot of stress, which has put pressure on our relationship and we are currently trying to do some work on our house to make it saleable.
Thing is, I know plenty of women that get by whilst being busy who work full-time and have more DCS; why am I not coping?
I take on a lot more responsibility than DH in terms of planning and organising things: Getting workmen in, making phone calls, organising trips, nights away for us when work is being completed and I'm wondering if this is the problem? That I have no head space and I'm buckling under the amount I have to think about?
Weekends are spent cleaning, food shopping, seeing family members, going on family trips to different places, but isn't everyone as busy as this?
I guess I'm asking how other women juggle everything and if there's a way to make things a little easier on myself? Does DH need to take on more responsibility? After talking to my sister about my 'stress' yesterday, she asked "what do you do for fun?" I couldn't answer the question. DH still has his fun as he has a few hobbies, he would never stop me having mine but it seems theres never time and when there is, I feel too mentally frazzled to do anything. Any positive advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

ludolooby Tue 28-Jun-16 08:31:55

I should add that DH has a full time very demanding job.

hormental Tue 28-Jun-16 08:36:24

You've identified what you need to do. Everyone needs headspace and down time. If you are not getting a chance to relax and unwind, it's bound to affect you. You both have very hectic lives by the sound of it. Try to be a bit easier on yourself and don't feel you have to fill the weekend with activities for your kids. A day in the house is good for them too and gives you breathing space. So my advice is slow down a bit and don't feel you need to do everything at once x

chewingawasp Tue 28-Jun-16 08:39:32

I do all my food shopping online now as I can't bear supermarket shopping. Is this worth considering as it would save some time at weekends?

MrsBertBibby Tue 28-Jun-16 08:40:17

I think most people teeter on the brink, and extra stresses like moving or arseholes at work make us fall off.

I found running or working out like a maniac help, but that's harder as physical injuries multiply.

Take the leave, use some of the time for you, and tell your husband if he hasn't ensured that you have done something just for you by Saturday evening every week, then that is everyone's absolute number one priority on Sunday.

violetbunny Tue 28-Jun-16 08:47:44

I think you need to work out what can give so that you can have some time to yourself - it's important for your wellbeing so no reason why it should come last on your to do list.

What things can wait until another day? What things are a nice to do rather than an essential? Can you lower your cleaning standards? Bring in help or take shortcuts? Most people are busy but they also prioritise, and it sounds like you need to prioritise looking after yourself.

If your DH is getting time to himself, is he supporting you to have a few hours of me -time on a regular basis? If not then you need to have a conversation about it. Regardless of your roles at work or home, should both have equal leisure time.

ludolooby Tue 28-Jun-16 08:50:28

Chewingawasp: I love online shopping too, but it's DH that holds me back here. He complains about having to pay for the delivery (I know!) and says that Aldi is much cheaper than a main supermarket (who dont deliver).He also says that if I don't want to food shop then he will go himself. He goes but misses loads of things off the list and he can't get everything we need in Aldi. He's half the problem in that he won't pay out for additional help around the house: a gardener, cleaner etc and says he will do it if I don't want to, then doesn't do a proper job. I know he's one of the exhausting factors. He also doesn't care much about the house being clean, so would leave it anyway! I feel like the only responsible adult here at times, but I know plenty of other women feel like that too.

TheNotoriousPMT Tue 28-Jun-16 08:50:55

A quick Google and a government website told me that last year 43% of working days lost were due to stress: not everyone is coping and you are not alone.

You need some time to yourself - your DH can parent his daughter while you are at a yoga class or something on the weekend.

Make a list of everything you need to do. Come back to it half an hour later and cross off everything that you can possibly justify not doing. For what absolutely has to be done - what is the easiest possible way of doing it? Online supermarket shopping, a boycott of the ironing board, buy a cake for the school bake sale, get DH to do half of everything...

bibbitybobbityyhat Tue 28-Jun-16 08:55:23

Put your foot down and tell your so-called dh that you have been signed off work with stress and so you are going to bloody well at least spend a fiver per week on supermarket deliveries!!

I have an Ocado thing where you pay £14 per quarter (or maybe it's even every 6 months can't remember) for as many deliveries as you like on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during the day - their offpeak times. Could that work for you?

violetbunny Tue 28-Jun-16 09:10:48

In that case then, this needs to be a wake up call to both of you that your wellbeing has to come first. You need to be very clear that you need to find ways together to reduce stress for you and allow you some personal time, and if that comes at a financial cost then so be it. Your health is too precious to compromise for the sake of saving a fiver every week on grocery deliveries.

Dragongirl10 Tue 28-Jun-16 09:16:15

I do get where you are coming from, often its the jumping from one thing to another that tip us over the edge, ie baby related stuff, v house/refurb stuf fv family and friend stuff v work stuff. Before Dcs it was just work and relationship!

You need to simplify your life to give you more calm,

Online food shopping saves hours and does not have to be more expensive.

Do you need / can you afford a cleaner? 2 hours on a Friday can really help you have a good weekend!

On a Sunday night list all calls that need to be made on Monday morning (or another morning if you work then ) and all errands, try and be efficient about slotting in errands en route.
Occupy toddler with favourite T/v or friend whilst you make calls and knock off your to do can do a lot in an hour.( l used to do this in a soft play corner twice a week with diary and phone to keep on top of work whilst 2 DCs were having fun)

Repeat calls and errand list 3 days later, only do emergencies in between.

Plan seeing family ahead and don't overdo lots of visits unless it is relaxing for you.

List essential jobs divide between you and DH and set times if possible.

Toddlers do not have to go on family trips each weekend they are often easily occupied at home, and this can be less tiring if you are struggling.

Try and leave one weekend day free of household jobs and family commitments. Ask Dh to take over for 3 hours whilst you nap/read or whatever you find relaxing, then swap over.

These are just things that have helped me when my DH was working mostly away, and l was juggling 2 under 2 with no other support and very part time work from home. Hope some of it may help a little.

Dragongirl10 Tue 28-Jun-16 09:22:11

Also reading your last post , it is quite clear it is you DH who is the problem.

TELL him it is not working for you and making you ill the way things are.

TELL him you are going to shop online and have a cleaner to ease things.

This should be a supportive partnership where he wants to help you...but it sounds like he is not listening so l am afraid you need to put your foot down.

Good Luck op

coco1810 Tue 28-Jun-16 09:23:45

Tesco have some delivery slots that are only a pound! You need to tell DH that shopping is the way forward and tough titties if he doesn't like it! If you can afford a cleaner/gardener once every few months then go for it. You also work and earn so why is your DH having the final say? Lower your standards a little when it comes to the cleaning, who is really going to give a stuff if you don't clean your skirting boards every week?!? Start being a little bit selfish and setting a side even 30 mins a day just to do something for you, even if its sitting in the garden with a brew and a choccie biscuit!

Every single mom feels overwhelmed and anyone who says they don't are a bloody liar. Can I just say you are responsible for the education of 30 children, that gives you more than enough entitlement to say you have a stressful job too so DH needs to pull his finger out a bit too! Have you spoken to your head teacher regarding this parent? If you have been so stressed you are ill, it sounds like you have not been supported enough. Maybe speak to your Union Rep.

Cathaka15 Tue 28-Jun-16 09:28:07

You are not alone in this. There are so many parents struggling with stress. It really has nothing to do with how many dc s they have and work they do. I think it's all down to the individual person and how they cope with certain situations. Also what others are like around you. I have been sick with stress most my adult life. When I first had children I couldn't cope with all the demands life was throwing at me and how I was expected to cope with each of them without so much as a moan. I got stomach ulcers lost so much weight and was hospitalised for a while. After that I've tried no to take things so seriously. If the house has to stay dirty for a week. So be it. Health and sanity is more important. Take care of yourself first because I tell you no one else is going to do it. Make time to do things YOU enjoy. A relaxing bath or tea with mates. Anything that is pleasent for you. As with your husband if you're saying he is under pressure too with work then no need for more stress from you. But make sure he understands that you are a person who needs a break too and can only do so much and if on line shopping will help then he needs to be more compromising. Maybe till the house is sorted. Good luck.

Chilver Tue 28-Jun-16 09:28:44

I'm with the above: tell your DH that you WILL be doing online shoping and you WILL be getting a cleaner/ gardender (whichever would be most helpful for you)

We have had a rough few years (ill health, new baby, financial challenges, new job etc) and the only way I could deal with going back to work (part time) was to get a cleaner. At times I feel we can't afford it, but it was a no compromise for me. I still feel overwhelmed at some points but having to clean on top of everything would send me over the edge. Identify your over the edge and put a plan in place to deal with it without you having to do it.

MaddyHatter Tue 28-Jun-16 09:33:38

Does your tesco do click and collect?

Is that an option, it cuts out the actual shopping time and is just a matter of going to pick it up (and its free)

But otherwise, try the delivery saver, you get a free trial right now and its for a couple of months!

As for the rest, your DH needs to step up and take some of this on.


And stop filling your weekends! You dont need to go galavanting around on days out and visiting family all the time, take at least every other weekend to do NOTHING and sit at home, rest, relax, potter/bimble.

newname99 Tue 28-Jun-16 09:44:33

Don't criticise yourself for not coping as well as you hoped.Be a friend to yourself.

Has your dh stopped you from online shopping or additional help? I would prefer to do shopping and sort out my house so tend to push back on help but it doesn't mean I won't do it.I guess in my mind I don't deserve the help as I feel I should be coping. Consider if your own thoughts are holding you back? Do you feel you should be able to do everything, therefore you agree with your dh even if subconsciously?

It's a shock when we feel vulnerable, especially when we have a health concern.Its not a weakness just normal life for most people.Looking after another little person is a demanding job which can take up so much thought and workload.Its about getting balance however.

user1465823522 Tue 28-Jun-16 09:48:41

I think you need to be less hard on yourself.

No one expects or needs you to be perfect, and I bet if you aksed anyone you know they will tell you that they would rather have you healthy and happy than have your carpets perfectly vacuumed.

I know it's easy to sit here and tell you to relax, but I also know that the reality is very different - I've seen how anxiety can impact on daily life - it's very stressful and disruptive and seriously affects pretty much everything you do - even if other people don't see that.

I'm glad you're getting support from your doctor though - that's the first major step.


Mov1ngOn Tue 28-Jun-16 09:53:43

When I used to teach I remember going to see a counsellor who said, "We get a lot of teachers..."

Part time teaching, especially with a kid you need to allow a lot of extra hours during the week to work even though it's not in school. It's not a job where you can just turn up and do. Of course it's compensated for by the holidays but I tend to think part time teaching is full time hours (or close) during term time and plan for it as such.

Claraoswald36 Tue 28-Jun-16 10:18:26

You are signed off with stress and he won't let you spend what is it? 3 quid on delivery!!!!!????? He is being a selfish arse - it's not as if you don't earn your own money ffs. Plus I sympathise about the insisting on doing it himself and making a shit job of it. My exh was exactly that with all household tasks.

Fwiw I'm also signed off. I'm not a teacher but similar government position with unmanageable work load which have got much worse recently so I really sympathise.

ludolooby Tue 28-Jun-16 10:22:18

Mov1ng on: I have recently started seeing a life coach and she says the same thing re teachers! I always think of full-time teaching as a lifestyle and part-time teaching as a full time job- you're so right.

To be fair, I've had a lot on at work lately too, reports to write (had to use my evenings for this) and lots of classroom checks being done so I've had to stay late to do displays etc. I've found it very overwhelming. DH has an equally demanding job buy works full time and he seems to get by without any obvious stress. I'm sure he's wondering why I've caved in when I work part-time as opposed to him. In terms of parenting tasks, he's fantastic and does half of everything, it's the boring day to day domestic tasks that he doesn't. He will do as little as he can get away with, plus it's only me who walks the dog too, which is another job.

TheNotoriousPMT Tue 28-Jun-16 10:31:08

Sorry, I x-posted with your second.

It sounds like your DH isn't stressed because he has a cook, cleaner, gardener, PA and nanny: you.

I hope I'm being unfair.

TheNotoriousPMT Tue 28-Jun-16 10:33:05

OK, so not the nanny.

But the rest has got to change.

ravenmum Tue 28-Jun-16 12:20:10

Are there any background worries that might be gnawing away at your nerves - e.g. worry that you are in the wrong job or the wrong marriage, worry about money or health issues? Is there anything you are trying to ignore because you have to get on with it?

MatildaTheCat Tue 28-Jun-16 12:24:28

There is plenty of good advice here. I have just got back from a counselling session with a psychologist who I see once a month. I have been going through a massively stressful time recently myself. One thing she said was that I cannot reduces the external stresses so I have to build in buffers to protect myself. This means getting your diary out and planning. Coffe with an old friend, lunch out somewhere nice, cinema trip...whatever floats your boat. Yoga and Pilates are brilliant for clearing your head.

I'm doing an online mindfulness course which is also useful as it encourages me to think about just one thing at a time, there are also lots of mindfulness meditation apps which are also really good.

Finally, take some control at home. Your dh doesn't actually get to make final decisions on everything, he isn't your boss. Employ a cleaner once a week, preferably on your last working day of the week. Just do it. Get a contract gardener once a fortnight. Do the online shop. If he says he wants to do it himself then he has options, either do it properly or you will organise it. One compromise is to do a big stock up online of cleaning stuff, toiletries and tins etc and then let him buy the food for the meals so only veg, fruit, meat and fish etc. A regular meal plan helps.

It's great you have a bit of breathing space, use it wisely, use it on yourself and have a big think about why your dh has been getting the final say on things that affect you so badly.

And breathe. flowers

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