Bad case of the working mama blues

ancient Egyptian wall image of jugglersI’m almost better now. The Friday-before-last was a shitty day.

When my little girl was younger, a shitty day generally did have something to do with diapers or the lack thereof. But this particular day was awful because all those plates I had spinning in the air came crashing down really hard. Hard enough to have a phone call from my telecommuting supervisor include these words “This must never happen again. Do you understand?”

The “this” was coming in late to work and missing a meeting with a coworker, without calling. I know, this is bad. Not my usual M.O. — I’m usually very much on top of keeping my coworkers informed of my schedule. I had too many things, balls in the air, and the phone call to the office would have required a third hand that I just don’t have.

It won’t happen again, at least not unless there is 911 involved, and even then, I’ll try to at least call in the ambulance, if I’m breathing.

Here’s what was going on, all on the same morning.

  • I was still recovering from a very bad cold that was interfering with my already crappy ability to sleep.
  • My little girl has been waking up in the middle of the night even more often than regular for her (I’m thinking the sleep stuff is hereditary).
  • My mentally ill husband woke me up at 2:30 a.m. to rant about something I couldn’t do anything about — and I couldn’t fall back asleep until 6 a.m.
  • I overslept. Or, more accurately, I slept at all.
  • My friend whose stuff is in a storage space she can’t afford was having that stuff moved down to where she now lives, and we had to coordinate with the mover.
  • My little girl was being particularly uncooperative about leaving the house.
  • I was trying to grab snacks for my daughter and her best friend, who I was picking up from daycare that afternoon because his mom was recovering from surgery for breast cancer (it looks like she has a good prognosis).
  • I got little girl to preschool, drove to the office, got a few crazy phone calls on route and called my coworker from the parking lot to let her know I had finally arrived and would be a few minutes late to our meeting. She didn’t answer her phone, and I figured I would be better off just getting into the friggin’ office then calling her back (bad thought). My supervisor called while I was on the phone with my husband, who was waiting at the storage space, while the mover was running late.
  • I lugged all of my crap out of the car, walked to the door of the office, and realized I had forgotten my “badge” — so I went back to the car for it.
  • I got upstairs in time to find out that the information services staff person who was there to figure out why my email wasn’t working (email. not. working. might. as. well. use. semaphore.) had come and gone, and I then got my ear chewed completely off by my usually mellow supervisor.

I cried “I can’t even keep down a job” and called HR. And what did my HR representative tell me? I was doing a crappy job of the work-life balance thing.

My supervisor’s wife stayed at home while their kids were young. My co-worker worked part-time, and had her own mom for backup, when her kids were young. I am not in the same situation that they are.

This is a long way of saying — haven’t been able to put blogging at the top of my priority list, and this is likely to continue.

Also — I’ve been eating more sporadically and being generally hungrier and eating overall more. My body is responding by doing exactly what it’s been designed to do, storing the additional energy, above and beyond what I’m needing in the moment, into my adipose tissue. To which I say — yay body! If you weren’t doing that, I would be worried that something was wrong! I have plenty of clothes that fit (I’m so glad I never take the advice of having only in your closet the clothes that fit right now). I’m eating really good food (sauteed chicken breast with mustard greens and green bell peppers with brown rice, for example — yummmmm, and chocolate ice cream with some peanut butter mixed in, yummmm) and I’m moving around as much as my schedule allows. I feel like the poster child for high stress + no sleep + abstaining from alcohol and drug use as a way to deal with off-of-the-charts stress + employing every method of relaxation and stress reduction that I know except for calling it quits and abandoning my job and family = weight gain. I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect that I wouldn’t notice the extra weight, or that it might not, on some level, bother me a bit because I was comfortable where I was before, but I think the trick is saying, “oh well.” “Oh well, I am a bit bigger — hey that dress will look great on me right now.” “Oh well, I’m a big jigglier when I’m dancing, well, I’ll just enjoy what I’m shakin’ that much more, then.”

Things have improved some since that Friday. But I still have the full-time workin’ outside the home too many plates in the air mama b-lu-uuuuuuuuuues.



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8 responses to “Bad case of the working mama blues

  1. Birdyluv

    Whew, I got exhausted just reading your post! Sorry that you’re having such a rough time; hopefully, this too shall pass. One thing I noticed in your post, and I hope I’m not being too forward by saying, is that I got the feeling that, like me, you want to help everyone. However, sometimes that need to “fix” everyone’s troubles results in your own overload. Helping the neighbor with cancer certainly a high priority but the friend with the storage unit? Maybe not so much your responsibility. Please remember it’s ok to say “no” sometimes and take care of yourself first.

    • Birdyluv — I usually do a good job putting my own needs in the mix, but this was a matter of everyone’s needs happening at the exact same moment.
      In part, the friend with the storage space was the one thing I really couldn’t say no to — very long story. This is a rare happening for me, and a wake-up call about how much I’m really able to do.

  2. dominique

    I can’t understand more lol. Why are people not-so-busy and overwhelmed by responsibilities so uncomprehensive. I think you have to know what a «I need more arms» life is before you understand. And I think people at your office are being jerks for not understanding more. *hugs*

  3. Julie

    Been reading your blog for a little while now but haven’t commented before. Your post was moving and I could really empathize. My advice would be nothing more astute than what you’re probably already telling yourself: stay the course, say no when you can, delegate when you can, take good care of yourself as much as you can under the circumstances.

    I’ve been under similarly overwhelming stress lately, albeit from different sources. I tend to irrationally blame myself. Reading your experience reminds me not to do that. It sounds like you know not to do that, either.

    Regarding weight gain, I find that this sort of extreme stress seems to burn calories and make me ravenously hungry at meal times, but that I do tend to put on weight anyway, despite the constant hunger. It’s frustrating, because I’m not overeating (eating when not hungry, or eating past full) or eating “bad” foods — just quality food to satisfy hunger, and in my case, my work demands a lot of physical activity, so I’m definitely not being sedentary, even if I’m not “exercising.” I don’t mind being larger, per se, but the clothing issue is a big inconvenience, and it contributes to that “out of control” feeling. It really does seem like the brain/body interprets stress as fear of impending famine and stores away energy reserves of its own accord. I’m glad to read about a similar experience and not feel so alone.

    Keep on keeping on! This too will pass. You can do it.

  4. Gargh. I hope things get better. *hugs*

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