When the real work happens and when it doesn’t…

My husband isn’t usually an insensitive jerk (and let’s face it – there’d be no blog without him since I can barely my use my email without his help).
Unfortunately I almost always take myself way too seriously. Today he jokingly told me that I didn’t really do a full day of work. I can usually tell when he’s joking.

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Well, it is true that I didn’t see any clients or teach any classes today. I got to play outside – a lot. My daughter didn’t have too many “meltdowns” so it wasn’t that hard parenting-wise. I didn’t even cook much.
But the presence that I had with her today took eons of work. Lifetimes really… At the very least it took 30 years – the hardest of which were the last 4 years of work I’ve done on myself as a mother.

And then there was the choice I made to leave the emails and the housework alone in order to focus on her and to create ease between us. Leaving the cleaning of the toilets, the vacuuming, washing up, laundry, emails and other work-related admin for me to do this evening and long into the night… I should be clear though that the only reason I was intending to do that much cleaning is because I had put it off for so long that I could no longer live with it. And I didn’t really do it all anyway (as usual).

No, I can’t say that I worked hard so much in the daylight hours today, but the space I created for my daughter to pour her heart out at the park about an interaction with a playmate gone awry and to share with me her feelings about human suffering was pretty darn important. I hope I get enough sleep to do the same tomorrow, but I’ve got a lot of “real work” to do tonight.

Sometimes it is hard for me to tell what is the right choice for how to spend my non-child and non-work time. I spend way too much time on the internet reading about food and parenting and trying to figure out why I lose it with my daughter sometimes. I had hoped that food would fix my parenting and my autoimmune thyroid and my daughter’s issues with sensory processing so I put my whole family on the GAPS diet. It sort of worked but not completely. What it did was bring to light an underlying biochemical issue that is likely genetic and probably led – at least indirectly, to the deaths of my entire nuclear family. These are the things that keep me up at night.

I’ve always been a night owl. I have a feeling that is something I inherited too. And unfortunately I’ve passed it on to my daughter. She goes to bed later than I’d like and much later than all the good little Australian children who seem to be in bed at 7pm. And by the time she goes to sleep my thyroid is shutting down so I often just drift off with her. Those cuddles are intoxicating.

But then I panic because I don’t have any “me” time and I’m so behind on my gigantic and unforgiving “to-do” list. So every few nights, I decide to catch up on emails, work-related admin and my constant search for answers. This is when I get into trouble. I’ll get a second wind, and in-part to avoid having to finish the dishes and in-part because of the addictive nature of the screen (and the chocolate that usually accompanies it), I stay up.

And it turns out that the day or two after one of these benders, is when I am most likely to lose it. Because my body has difficulty with detoxification pathways, I get flooded with histamines which causes all kinds of unpleasantness in my system. In addition to this, my adrenals become even more depleted and my blood sugar levels drop. I’m foggy, headachy, reactive and irritable. I’m in a false mood.

It wasn’t hard for me to figure out that this pattern is in part a manifestation of spending my formative years with a drug addict and an alcoholic. It is a sort of recapitulation of their chaos. I’m working on it, but it is complicated and systemic.

My self worth hinges on having some kind of meaningful and useful career and on getting lots of things done. It also hinges on being a good parent. Sometimes it seems that these things are mutually exclusive – especially when you factor in the need for sleep. And the fact is that I need a lot of sleep.

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My husband agrees that I need more sleep. He also said that while this post is potentially interesting, it should offer the reader a little more “usefuleness”.

Penelope Trunk says that our partners should not be our editors. But my life partner is also my creative partner and even though I rarely listen to him when we work together (and disregarding that his insensitivity is what led to this very blog post in the first place), I think he’s really onto something here.

Unfortunately, I’m too tired to come up with a list of five ways to get your life in perfect order, but the minute I figure out how to manage the the whole work/ life/ parenting/sleep balance thing, I will definitely let you know because it will also likely be the same minute that I figure out how to monetize this blog. Until then I will just be honest and say that I am working on it. Sometimes it isn’t pretty. And hopefully that is interesting.

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5 Replies to “When the real work happens and when it doesn’t…”

  1. Love the new blog Angela! You can surely find lots of self-worth In writing these truths – many of which I resonate with! And yes, I also have – night-owl who is currently pretending to be on a plane watching the Lorax (pushing 11 pm….). xoxo

  2. Angela sweetgirl, I always said that my house would be clean and tidy once my kids were in their 20’s but until then…. I would enjoy them…be present in their schools …and enjoy my work. Well they are in their 20’s my house is still a mess…but I enjoy them…..I enjoy my work…and I play bridge. So now i’ll move the tidy house deadline to when they are married and have their own houses. 🙂 But sleep is important and you must try to improve that issue and lots of other things will fall into place.
    Sleep well kiss your child and love to your husband.
    MJ

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