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Can't cope with the stress of it all anymore

50 replies

crimson72 · 07/10/2018 17:16

Sorry in advance for the length of this post.

I'm feeling so burnt out and like I just can't cope with how busy things are anymore. I'm self-employed and although I enjoy what I do, I have been increasingly struggling with my workload over the past couple of years. I've been taking on lots of projects from clients due to fear of turning things down and losing business/money, and work approximately six full days a week just to keep up and earn a decent income (around £28-30k p/a). Our mortgage payments are £1390 p/m.

I haven't had a holiday for the past two years aside from a couple of long weekends away, and even those have revolved around work or visiting family - so there's been no time for just DH and me (we don't have DCs). Finding the time to have a holiday would be hard.

On top of the stressful workload, I'm massively struggling to keep on top of the housework and garden. I'm quite a stickler for cleanliness and find it very stressful that the house now looks like a tip - the kitchen is dirty, the laundry is piling up and the floors are covered in pet hair, dust and dirt. The garden is quite big and the flowerbeds are full of weeds.

I'm meant to be getting a much-needed new kitchen soon but just haven't had the time to look at any of the brochures and make a decision on what fixtures to go for - despite the kitchen company emailing to chase as they've booked the fitter to do the work next month. I'm quite an indecisive person so that doesn't help.

I barely keep in touch with friends anymore as I just don't have the time to message them or arrange things. I'm also not finding the time to take care of myself - I haven't been to the dentist/optician in about three years and don't bother shaving my legs very often as I just hide in trousers/tights.

My sex life with DH has been non-existent for the past couple of years, as although I do love him, still find him attractive and feel that I still look reasonably ok physically, I feel so stressed most of the time and am too busy with work/house stuff to put in any effort in the bedroom.

I'd say the only bit of "me time" I really get (when I'm not working, cooking, cleaning or doing admin) is browsing the internet for about 45 minutes to an hour each morning before getting out of bed.

Hiring a cleaner or gardener isn't a possibility unfortunately (we don't have a massive joint income). Taking on less work is another option, but when I think about doing that I just beat myself up thinking that if only I were more organised, got up earlier, cut out the time I spend browsing news sites and Mumsnet and so on, I would be able to manage it all. DH is also freelance so it's quite stressful thinking that there's no steady income to fall back on if the shit did hit the fan, so to speak.

AIBU or do I just need to get a grip and/or find a way around it - starting work at 7am instead of 9am each day for example? TIA.

OP posts:
PhilODox · 07/10/2018 17:20

Does your husband actually do anything?

tinkerbellone · 07/10/2018 17:27

What does your husband do?
Can't you move somewhere cheaper?

RangeRider · 07/10/2018 17:27

I'd say the only bit of "me time" I really get (when I'm not working, cooking, cleaning or doing admin) is browsing the internet for about 45 minutes to an hour each morning before getting out of bed.
Why not spend this time one morning deciding on the kitchen? And other mornings on getting a few small jobs done like cleaning the floor in one room? It may deprive you of your 'me' time temporarily but you'd feel better for making some headway and once you've started it's so much easier to keep going & speed up. And if you get things looking tidier you'll feel better, far better than you'd feel for having time on the internet.

crimson72 · 07/10/2018 17:28

I do most of the cooking and cleaning, but he usually does the washing up, laundry/ironing, takes the bins out, feeds the pets and does the food shopping a couple of times a week (buying fresh veg and bits and bobs on top of our big online shop).

I'd say I work harder at my job though - he'll do 10-4 five days a week whereas my hours are considerably more than that. Sometimes his job can be quite gruelling physically (mine isn't at all). He currently earns around the same income as me or thereabouts.

OP posts:
crimson72 · 07/10/2018 17:33

Tinkerbell, moving somewhere cheaper really would be the absolute last resort, as I love where I live. The mortgage payments are high but manageable I think, so long as we're quite careful with other spending.

RangeRider you're right, that's definitely an option. I'm just struggling to find the energy/motivation at the moment - especially with the darker mornings. However I do appreciate something's got to give.

OP posts:
Minta85 · 07/10/2018 17:45

If having a regular cleaner is beyond your budget at the moment, you could book a one-off deep clean with a cleaning company instead. The cleaning company my husband and I use regularly does one-off and ad-hoc cleans.

CottonTailRabbit · 07/10/2018 17:51

Something does indeed have to give. What's the least bad option?

I'm a sucker for taking on too many projectst. I often have to have a word with myself and wind back on something. I find it easiest to think in 3-6 month chunks, i.e. I will work X hours instead of Y for 6 months to spend more time on Z; I will give up hobby A for three months to make time for long chats and watching tv with the children twice a week.

crimson72 · 07/10/2018 18:11

Thanks CottonTail. The only option I can see really is to turn down some work (and hope the client doesn't stop using me altogether for doing so!) We'd have a couple of thousand less in the bank, and that might cause other stresses in itself, but I just don't see what else I can do, other than carrying on as I am - which I'm finding more and more stressful. I don't know how people cope with DCs on top of all this, I really don't.

OP posts:
flopsyrabbit1 · 07/10/2018 18:29

seriously op you sound like your gonna snap

if there is no money for a cleaner how can you afford a new kitchen

approx £60k in come and no expensive childcare, have you done a budget

TeaAndNoSympathy · 07/10/2018 18:35

Between you, you earn a decent income. Where is all the money going that you only have a couple of thousand in savings? You need to do a budget.

Notatallobvious · 07/10/2018 18:38

It sounds like a massive mortgage for a £60k income...and since you're doing so much work to be able to keep up those payments, surely downsizing is the answer? No house is worth wrecking your mental health for. Is it a huge house or just in an expensive area? Just wondering if renting out a room might be a possibility...either to a lodger or via airbnb if it's a suitable location? Money that you took for that could cover a regular cleaner. Is your job something in which you could take on a part time assistant to take the pressure off, or is that not financially viable?

TulipsInBloom1 · 07/10/2018 18:44

If your dh is working 10-4 then I would expect him to do at least 1 hours per day housework/laundry. Plus most cooking. Unless he has a hellish commute?

Stop wasting 45-60 mins a day in bed on internet. Get up. Get some nice breakfast foods in and quality coffee. See a nice breakfast at the table as your treat and have a leaf through some kitchen brochures as you eat.

LaDameAuxLicornes · 07/10/2018 18:44

If you can (just about) afford to turn down a job paying a couple of thousand then you can afford a cleaner. £20ish will get you someone to do a couple of hours a week. That's about £1k a year, and you get to keep your client's business.

I would also stop hiding in the internet every morning if that's your only chance of time for yourself, simply because it isn't really the best form of relaxation. You could do different things instead depending on mood, ranging from having a leisurely cup of tea and listening to the news or reading a book, to having a long bath (including a bit of personal grooming if that willl make you feel better) to just cuddling up to DH and chatting. After a few months of that you might find that you have the odd morning where you have the energy to do other things you say you want but don't have energy for - anything from weeding the garden to having sex with DH! But I think you should replace the internet with activities that really are good for mind and body without being in any way taxing first.

crimson72 · 07/10/2018 18:53

Flopsy, when we bought the property we set aside a certain amount of cash to redo the kitchen, as it was very tired. So whilst we do have that lump sum in savings specifically to refurbish the kitchen, I don't think we could justify paying a cleaner week-in, week-out IYSWIM.

We haven't done a budget - I think that would be a helpful thing to do. I barely spend anything on clothes, makeup or haircuts (probably about £600 or £700 in total over the past four years?) but I'm certain we fritter away quite a bit of cash on meals out, so there could be cutbacks to be made there.

Notatall, does that really sound like a big mortgage on our income? It's 28% of our total earnings, which I thought was fairly normal (we do also live in London). I'd rather not go down the lodger/AirBnB route unless it was absolutely necessary, as it's a small property and I'm not sure I could deal with a stranger in the house on top of everything else - I don't think I'd ever relax. A part-time assistant would be lovely but definitely unaffordable on our budget!

OP posts:
crimson72 · 07/10/2018 19:02

LaDame, perhaps you're right about the cleaner - I didn't really think about it like that for some reason. I think I also feel a bit guilty spending money on something that I'm perfectly capable of doing myself, but maybe it's time to get over that.

I think you and Tulips are both right that the 45 minutes online every morning is something that can give.

Things have become so bad that DH and I even had to cancel a night away for his birthday the other month as things were so busy with work - that made me feel pretty low.

OP posts:
Flatasapancakenow · 07/10/2018 19:04

Our mortgage payments are similar to yours, but we meet a large chunk of them by renting out part of our property as PP suggested. It's our dream home and we would hate to have to leave it.

Have you tried the organised mom method? She works it out at about half an hour of cleaning a week day to keep on top of everything. You and your DH could take it turns to do a day each, or he could do Monday, Wednesday, Friday and you do the other two days (him doing more because he's home earlier).

I work part-time so I actually find it easier to just let the house go a little the 3 days I'm in work and do a solid 2/3 hours one of the mornings I'm off. Maybe it would work better if you just set one evening a week aside and you and your DH did all the hoovering/dusting/ironing/bathrooms etc then, freeing up your other 4 evenings and the weekends if you aren't working.

If you're doing an online shop I don't see why your DH needs to do a few more shops on top of that, maybe pick up a head of lettuce when you're passing a shop/getting petrol, but that should be it. It's time he could be spent better elsewhere.

I would definitely cut the work back so that you feel it can fit into 4.5/5 days a week. Or if you really feel you are busy enough would you be able to take on a trainee or someone junior part-time to shoulder the workload?

Sit down and look at all your outgoings, it's amazing where you can save money. Set a budget, with a budget for spending on fun things like socialising and new clothes, budget for birthdays, Christmas, everything. It really makes things much less stressful when you do this, no more panicking, you know you have the money set aside for most things.

TulipsInBloom1 · 07/10/2018 19:12

I cant get past the fact that one person in the house works part time, there are no kids, and yet the one who works 50h per week is this stressed and doing most of the housework.

DingDongDenny · 07/10/2018 19:19

Given the amount of hours you work, if you are in a speciaised field then your income isn't that high. I would put your prices up. You may lose some clients, but that's a good thing when you are over capacity.

You may find out you end up working less hours for the same income

SamanthaBrique · 07/10/2018 19:20

Are you sure you’re doing your sums right OP? DP and I once had a joint income of £55k, rent of £1400pcm plus bills and childcare fees yet we could still afford a fortnightly cleaner. You can probably get someone local for £20-30pw.

crimson72 · 07/10/2018 20:55

I haven’t tried the Organised Mum method, but have seen it mentioned on here quite a lot. I will definitely look it up.

Putting my prices up could also be an option, but the sector I work in is highly competitive, so it’s risky.

Samantha I’m definitely doing the sums right, but this thread has made me realise that perhaps I could afford a cleaner at £20 to £30 p/w after all. I think I’ve been avoiding getting one due to feelings of guilt over the fact it’s something I could do myself, so why “waste the money” by paying someone else. But as others have said, something has got to give and it may very well need to be that.

OP posts:
MindBodyChocolate · 07/10/2018 21:03

Is there a higher profit end of what you do that you can focus on? 6 full days a week of stressful work which has left you burnt out seems an awful lot for £28k pa. It might be worth looking at your business afresh to see if you can maximise profits without working more (although I don't see how you can work any harder).

crimson72 · 07/10/2018 21:12

Thanks MindBody. I was reading another AIBU thread a while back where someone said working six days a week (in my case, Monday-Friday then Saturday and Sunday mornings) is quite normal when you’re freelance/self-employed - so that made me feel I was possibly BU to be fed-up with my situation.

If anyone has any bright ideas about how I can make more efficient use of my time (apart from getting a cleaner, which I’m definitely considering) I would love to hear them. Does anyone else feel like this - like you have a never-ending list of work and household tasks with very little spare time?

OP posts:

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CheesyMother · 07/10/2018 21:18

If you are working that hard and not feeling the benefit then you should definitely look into putting your prices up. I know several self employed people who undersell themselves - they still charge at their original rate or close to it, with no recognition of the years of experience they now have! Have you ever made any price increases since you started your business?

You say it's a competitive area, but if you don't ask, you don't get! If you get massive push back from (all) your clients then you can always rethink, but definitely think about a price increase. Even if it puts some clients off, you should still have the same income but with fewer working hours.

Also, tell your partner to get his arse in gear!

junebirthdaygirl · 07/10/2018 21:18

Could you work for someone else doing the same type of work?. 36 hours a week with no other stress and possibly paid the same. Don't be closed off to this idea as being self employed doing all own tax returns , invoices etc is very stressful.
Or depending on what you do could your dh take some of the burden by doing some of the paperwork. I did that for dh when he was self employed as l had a shorter day as a teacher. ( in lreland !!)

MrsStrowman · 07/10/2018 21:23

If you work six days a week long hours and DH works five short days he needs to do most of the housework. You don't have DCs and this should be perfectly manageable. How long is his commute? If he did 30-60 minutes a day on chores it would all get done over the week, maybe he needs to be more proactive and organised. My DH often starts work between 9:30 and ten and walks twenty minutes to work, before he goes he'll empty the dish washer and reload with breakfast bits and if needed put a wash on (delayed start) when I'm not working away I get home about six and he often doesn't get home until 9/10, but has most Fridays off. I prep/cook dinner hang/tumble the washing, add to the dishwasher and set it off. When we were first together I worked a later start later finish as DH does now, and he worked 8-5 it took him a while to get into the routine of doing bits in the morning but just mooching around, but I pointed out I lived alone when I did those hours and my flat was clean and tidy. He still needs a reminder now and then. I recently worked away for 12 days in 14 and came back to 2 full laundry baskets, there was no way I was emptying them and told him so. Put your foot down and tell him to pick up the slack.

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