Tuesday, January 27, 2015

New Job = New Work-Life Balance Struggle

I've been at my new job almost five months now!! I'm so much happier there now that I've adjusted and gotten the hang of things!! Yay me!

I'm not gonna lie though - it was likely one of the hardest job adjustments I've ever had to make. It could be due to being older, more anxious/worried, so many things at home to juggle, combined with the fact that this job has an intense workload. So many deadlines, so little time.

I try to keep my focus on my project list, calendar, meetings and be able to manage frequent interruptions from people coming in my office, calls and a constant stream of emails. I usually eat lunch at my desk and force myself to be chained to my desk most of the day (aside from a power walk with coworkers occasionally). I am convinced I have ADD and this job intensifies it, but I have not given up. There were days I think I was near a full-on panic attack and was ready to walk out the front door and never come back.

One day I was feeling particularly overwhelmed and I even texted my old boss at my previous job asking if my position was still open. It was embarrassing and humbling to be at such a low point, but I'm glad I didn't give up. And that the position wasn't available.

Now, I'm more confident, familiar, relaxed and competent. I've managed to accomplish a lot in a short period of time and I think people are impressed (or at least relieved). When I first meet people, or I'm new to a job, it takes me a while to come out of my shell and speak up. I go through an introverted, shy adjustment period and it likely comes across as meek and incompetent. In my position, I think people are expected to be confident, assertive, take-charge and outspoken. That doesn't come easy for me. I struggle with feelings of inferiority, insecurity or what is coined, 'imposter syndrome'. It's wild.

I have always disliked public speaking. I've taken a Toastmasters course last summer which helped my speaking skills. This job has also helped as my boss has been understanding and has coached me where I need help. Being knowledgeable about the subject and being prepared are the main keys to being a good speaker. Practice, practice, practice.

On the home front, I do feel a little guilty that I haven't been able to do more with the kids as I used to with my prior, more flexible job. I wish I could volunteer in the kids classes, show up for the parties, pick them up earlier, do a weeknight activity/sport, etc. I want to be a loving, involved mom and be there for each of my three children. They are all happy, healthy and doing well; Daddy-O has stepped it up when I need him more. But I really miss having special time together. When I pick the kids up from school, it's 6:00 and from the moment we get in the car and head home, they are bickering and creating chaos. It's maddening.

Once home, we have about two hours to do homework, eat dinner, take showers, brush teeth, put on pajamas, get tucked in for bed. But all three kids run around shrieking like banshees and doing whatever they want and completely don't hear me when I try to lead them to what they should do. I have become invisible and inaudible! So my mothering attitude has become quite jaded and angry and I'm sad that it has become this way. I'm always yelling, threatening, swearing, nagging, bribing and whining. It's pathetic and I'm sick of being this way.

After the long Christmas break, I was completely excited to return back to the office for work. It is complete sensory overload with a house full of active children, when I just want a moment or two of peace, quiet and solitude. It is best for me to have a job to go to during the week. I need that in my life for my mental health.

I'm making small changes at home to try to bring order to chaos and to foster a nurturing environment. I'm pushing myself to clean and organize the clutter. I'm making new, healthy recipes for dinners that hopefully appeals to the kids. I'm being more disciplined with each child to hold them accountable for their actions, which can be time consuming, but necessary. I'm removing TV and tablet on school nights. These tough actions aren't making me a very popular person at home, but I think it's necessary to create order and better behavior.

I really do need think I need to have a parenting support group or a psychologist though. I sense I'm in danger of an emotional breakdown. I have been taking a few hours alone doing something away from home during the weekend, which is super nice (massage, gym, nails, hair, friends, book club, etc.) but I could still benefit from talking to others who understand my struggles and can offer helpful advice. I don't want to turn into my mother!

If you would like to share your own personal work/life struggle on this blog, please contact me. It's nice to hear others' experiences. I can publish it anonymously, so don't be shy.

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