I’m not OK right now. And you know what? I’m dealing with it. I’ve found myself in a new place in my life, one of imbalance. Having worked full time for most of my 42 years, I’m finding the land of part time work a nearly unmanageable landscape. No, no, stick with me here…
I tend to be a person who says yes when I should say no, not because I’m weak, but because I love to say yes. Yes, I’d love to do that, yes I CAN do that, yes, let’s do that! Sometimes though, too many yeses mean taking away the quality of my experiences to replace them with quantity. When I find myself with perceived time on my hands, I tend to fill it, and I know I’m not alone in this.
When we work full-time we have rigid structures and routines in place to ensure (or increase the chances anyway) our lives go smoothly. We plan completely around working full time. Our children go into daycare, and we get sitters for the unexpected. We clean when we can, and enjoy our time off work. Now what if you’re only working part time? The cleaning, the laundry, the errands, the bill payments, the shuttling and the child minding all become yours, after all…you’re home more… right?
All the time in the world, right?
Now you’re also working 20 hours per week, but need to ensure you’re home by the end of the school day because childcare is no longer an expense you can afford. Oh, and no sitters – also extra money. Speaking of extra money, friends you haven’t seen in ages will want to get together of course, because you FINALLY have the time…but…well you see where I’m going here? This is the place I found myself in recently. Feeling pulled in so many directions, and stretched so thin, that I finally broke.
Sitting there in my boss’ office as I felt a humiliating tear run down my face was my low point. I was trying to explain something that had happened on the weekend which resulted in the company laptop taking a nose dive while I was out. Love those pets. But there I was. Anyone who knows me well knows I’m not a crier (once that whole pregnancy thing cleared itself up), so I imagine having me crying across her desk was a bit of a shock.
The two Ps – People and Perspective
This month we’re supposed to be discussing how we cope. I think it very telling then, that the thing I needed most in this case was a person who cared about me enough to take me for tea and tell me to give my head a shake. This IS, indeed, how I cope, perspective and the love of the people in my life. In my heart, I knew this wasn’t a life threatening or altering issue, but all those little pieces had ballooned into one unaddressed weight that bore me into the ground.
I think it may be like that for many people. The weight of just existing can become such a burden some days. People need an outlet to turn to let some air out of that balloon. For some it’s art, or music, or sports, or any number of other things, for me it remains people and perspective. I look at the burdens of the women at the YWCA, or the women I know who skirt that edge. I hold tighter to my loved ones and realize that for right now… it’s ok to be unbalanced.