Certain people wonder how it is that I’m able to work full time, watch my children by myself at night, update 3 blogs and a web site and still be my fabulous creative self. Well I’m finally ready to share the secrets with you: Neglect and lack of sleep.
Neglect: Household chores go undone, the pet parakeet goes unfed for days, my own personal hygiene takes a hit (I can’t remember the last time I shaved my legs), the kids spend way too much time in front of the tv or the computer, laundry only gets done when the dresser drawers are empty, dinner usually consists of frozen pizza or mac & cheese and is usually served in front of the tv.
Lack of sleep: since Matt doesn’t get home from work til 2 a.m. and needs to sleep in in the morning I don’t put Aaron to bed until after 9:30 and usually Gwen doesn’t go down until 11 p.m. That leaves me the hours of 11 – 1 a.m. to work on whatever projects I want to accomplish for myself, then I’m up again at 5:45 to prepare to go to a boring, useless, unfulfilling job in which most of the time I have little to no actual work to do and end up spending 8 hours just trying to stay awake and avoid getting fired for sleeping on the job.
Glamorous isn’t it? I spend my entire work day dreaming of projects, things I want to accomplish, stories I want to write, and then get home and have no time or energy to do them. It’s rough people. I spend half my time trying to figure out new strategies to carve out more time for myself and the other half of the time feeling guilty about taking time away from my family and my responsibilities as a mom and wife. Factor in the sense of responsibility I have to my extended family and close friends and it’s a recipe for exhaustion and self loathing.
Averaging 5-6 hours of sleep at night is not doing anything for my mental or physical state though at this point I think my body is pretty well adjusted to it – except for the fact that I’ve been known to blink and then wake up about 10 min. later, pretty much unaware of where I am. Shawna suggested the other day that I might go the way of the celebrity actress/superstar and end up in the hospital for exhaustion. It might be a bad sign that I thought that sounded like a lovely mini vacation.
Why do I do it? Well I love my kids – they’re my life, they really are and most days they’re the only thing that keeps me going. But they can’t be everything for me, I have to continue to make myself happy or else I won’t be able to make them happy. See if I’m not happy then I can’t be the mom they need me to be, I can’t be the wife that Matt deserves and I can’t be the friend, the daughter and the sister that I want to be. So I’m going to continue on this course and take it one day at a time because for right now it’s working. Things will change soon enough as they always do. Aaron will be in school soon, Gwen will be older and more independent, we won’t be working split shifts forever, and until then – well I can sleep when I’m dead.