When you feel like giving up…
A few weeks ago I was ready to pack it all in – my studies, blogging, story-writing…you name it…everything I loved was going in the bin. My kids were even in danger of being added to the compost heap. EVERYTHING was grating on me!
Let me contextualize a bit for you…I am not a giver-upper by nature. I love to stick at things, get the job done. I’m the person that arrives early and stays late just to make sure a task is completed. However, one evening, after a really stressful day at work, I arrived home to absolute chaos. The kids’ school books were strewn all over the dining table. Hubby was trying to serve-up dinner on said table while his phone beeped with a million messages and emails as he awaited word from work on a new contract, a contract we needed. The boys were grumpy, refusing to help clear the table or even be remotely nice to one another. The atmosphere was not pleasant and mean words were zipping through the air. I was frazzled after being around people all day and wanted to crawl under my duvet and hide for a month. But, I couldn’t, I had small people who needed me and an assignment deadline just 2 days away with a word count sitting at zero so far….the pressure reached boiling point and that night I sat on the sofa, tears streaming down my face, just feeling….well, empty. I had nothing left to give.
GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP (easier said than done when you are stressed, right?)
I sat that evening staring at the television screen, not really seeing what was on it. I was mulling over my priorities. Had I managed to somehow muddle them up? Was going back to study really such a good idea after all when the children were still so young and I was working? How did all those other mums out there manage to have it all ? Successful career, happy family, social life, fitness regime. Was I just incapable of handling a bit of pressure? Am I weak? Daft even for thinking I could possibly juggle it all? My head was spinning chaotically, I was not in a healthy place and needed perspective.
Sleep definitely helps. Despite a restless night of tossing and turning , things didn’t feel quite so bad in the morning. My thoughts had slowed down a little and I was able to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
Once the kids went to school I sat down with a cuppa and thought about the way I was choosing to live my life. I work part-time – for the money and also for a sense of personal satisfaction. I study because I want to achieve something for myself career-wise. I work hard in my home, trying to cook healthy meals from scratch as much as possible. We have adopted a minimalist approach to our home-life so that I don’t waste my days lifting up toys and clothes and goodness knows what else. As I enjoyed my cup of green tea, took some deep breaths and just calmed down a bit I realised that actually I was happy in my day-to-day life, I was just a bit burnt out and needed some time-out.
With that in mind I booked some time off work to spend some time with the boys during their Easter holidays and my husband did the same. We planned some touristy days out and about. I decided that I would just turn a blind eye to any mess in the house for a week and let it be. We made picnics, ate out, walked for miles and miles and miles. We talked nonsense, sang along to our favourite music in the car. Me and hubby stayed up late like we used to when we first met – we cooked together, drank wine, cuddled up close and watched movies and chatted. We slept late (9am!), had lazy breakfasts, cleared out the garage, made bread, went to the local museum, held hands, saw our families, skipped in the street, talked about the summer holidays and just spent time together.
By the end of it all we were getting on one another’s nerves of course! That’s family life – it isn’t picture book perfect but it is our life and therefore it is precious. Yes, the boys bickered and wrestled, because that’s what brothers do! Yes, I craved a little time on my own and hid in my room for 20 minutes. Yes, there was still dirty clothes and dishes to wash but still it was good. It was refreshing and it put life in perspective.
I guess the point I am trying to make is that when life became a bit too much to bear, I took a step back, took a deep breath and weighed everything up. I did step into another kind of busyness, but it reminded me why I live my life the way I do.
I work because it provides money to care for my family. But I also work because I want to be a good role model to my children. If you want to buy something, you have to earn the money first. We don’t do debt in our house! That’s just another burden to carry. I work for a cancer charity therefore I am contributing to a worthwhile cause and that brings me joy.
I study because someday my kids are going to be all grown up and are going to pursue their own dreams and I hope to have a full-time career once more. I chose English Literature because it is something I have always been passionate about and I hope one day to teach it as a subject. I constantly ask myself ‘will it be worth it?’ and worry that I’m wasting my time. I don’t know if it will be worth it, all I know is that I have to try.
I blog because I love to write and share my ideas and my own experiences. I don’t approach my blog-writing as ‘guide to’ or ‘how to’ but it is merely me sharing my own life and loves with the hope that it maybe resonates with somebody somewhere.
Everything I do I do for love. I put my family at the top of my list in all my decision-making and I ensure that in the craziness of life there is room for fun and pleasure and laughter and togetherness. That’s not a bad way to live. I just needed a gentle reminder.
So….Note to self…next time you feel like giving up. Don’t! Take a step back, have a cuppa and put things into perspective. You might be pleasantly surprised at just how fortunate you are to have people to share this life with, a place to call home, food to serve, free time for fun….It really is a good life.