This post has been a couple of days in the making- primarily because I am sick, but also because I really needed to read over my week’s worth of tracking posts a couple of times to make sure my own impressions are correct.
Before I get into what I learned, let me start by saying that this was a pretty typical week. I had the entire weekend off, which is a bit unusual, but aside from that, it was pretty average. I do work primarily night shifts. The amount of sleep I got was pretty average. The way I spent my time was pretty average. My levels of happiness/gratitude/frustration/exasperation and anger were all pretty average.
So, in no particular order, for better or worse, here’s what I learned from tracking how I spend my time for a week.
- I’m getting by reasonably well, all things considered. My life does seem to be a bit hurried, but nobody died, and nothing serious was forgotten. Somehow, I am managing to keep my shit together, and keep things moving forward, even when I’m overwhelmed and overtired.
- Night shifts are killing me. I’m not exaggerating here. I drive home from work on a very busy highway so exhausted that I feel like I’m drunk. It’s actually a little bit scary. One of these days, my luck is going to run out, and I’m going to get in an accident. This has been a concern of mine for a while. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot I can do about this, other than getting a job with better hours- something I have been trying to do for YEARS.
- Even when I’m not on nights, I’m tired. A LOT. Now this week was particularly bad for fatigue, probably because I have been fighting this bug (that has now taken me DOWN- can’t seem to get off the couch), but feeling tired all the time is definitely the norm for me. I am working on this- my doctor has prescribed iron supplements (my ferratin is on the very low end of normal), and high dose vitamin D. And with respect to the hot flashes- I started transdermal estrogen last week. Not sure if it’s helping yet, because I haven’t been able to sleep these last two nights due to fever, headache, sore throat and coughing, but I am very hopeful.
- I probably don’t delegate enough of the day to day stuff to hubby. My husband is wonderful, and he deals with a lot of crap that I just don’t want to- like the tree guy, and shoveling snow, and mowing the lawn and so on. But I do tend to take on ALL the day to day stuff myself, and it probably isn’t necessary. I think I keep hoping that he will just SEE when bills need to be paid, or laundry needs to be put away, but he often just doesn’t notice this stuff. Rather than getting frustrated about these issues, I really need to just start asking for help when I’m feeling overwhelmed. I honestly don’t know why I don’t.
- I don’t cope very well when things aren’t going according to plan. I feel like I’m stretched pretty thin most days, and when something unexpected happens to throw me off course, I lose it. Sometimes I cry, sometimes I get angry, but however I’m feeling, it’s not overly productive, and I waste a lot of time dealing with emotional crap rather than finding solutions. I need to learn to take a deep breath and chill. The world isn’t going to end because I run a little bit late now and then.
- Guilt rules my life. I mentioned feeling guilty several times this week, about a wide variety of things- not being more patient with my daughter, eating crappy food, spending money on eating out, and so on. The thing is, for every time I mentioned it this week, I probably felt it another ten times. As a shift working mom and wife, it’s hard not to feel guilty- I feel like my work schedule doesn’t just dictate my life- it dictates theirs, too. But feeling guilty is not serving me very well, and I need to find some way to let it go.
- I love to work out and stay fit, but it makes me tired. Staying fit is very important to me- not only for the physical benefits, but for the mental ones, too. I have suffered from severe depression for most of my life, and physical fitness is an important part of my battle against it. But these days, every workout seems to result in me needing a two hour nap, and when I don’t get it (I never do), I don’t cope well with anything else. Maybe I need to ease lower my expectations for the duration or intensity of my workouts while I’m getting my iron and vitamin D levels back up, and sorting out the hot flashes. Once I’m sleeping better, I can ramp up my workout schedule again.
- I may need to emphasize sleep a little bit more for a while. At least once in a while, I think I need to go to bed at the same time as my daughter. I know you can’t really ‘catch up’ on sleep, but I think getting an adequate amount of sleep once in a while- even if it’s a bit broken by hot flashes- might help hit the reset button, and make me able to cope with the insanity a little bit better for a few days. More on this to come.
- I don’t emphasize my friendships enough. Aside from chatting with my friend at the door when she came to pick up her son from our house after a playdate, I didn’t even touch base with a single friend this week. I am an introvert, and thrive on my alone time, but this is unacceptable. I need to make more of an effort to stay in touch with friends. Having a support system is important when life is stressful.
- I don’t laugh much. I think I mentioned laughing, or finding something funny, twice all week. And sadly, this is pretty standard. Hubby loves to hear me laugh, and I just don’t do it much anymore. My mind is always on a million things, and making time for levity almost seems wasteful… but I know in my head that it’s not. I need to figure out a way to lighten up a bit.
- Hubby and I don’t get much alone time together. This saddens me. All week long, we enjoyed only about five hours together without A (not including sleeping time, of course). And we didn’t exactly spend many of those five hours connecting and talking and enjoying each other’s company- we spent four of those hours watching TV. Now, we do have our TV shows that we LOVE to watch, and I don’t want to give that up, but we really need to focus more on keeping our marriage alive.
- On the positive side, I do feel a great deal of gratitude for the good stuff. I do often feel frustrated and rushed and exhausted, but somehow, I do still manage to find joy in a beautiful spring morning, the cute things A. does, or a good meal. I do appreciate what my husband does for me. I do notice the good stuff, but I think I could do a better job of focusing on it, rather than being dragged down so much by the challenges we face.
- This is very hard to admit, but these days, A. is often a source of frustration rather than a source of joy. I really do feel like an awful parent sometimes. I am impatient and yell alot. The thing is, I know I’m doing it, and there’s always a little voice in my head reminding me to be careful… to think before I speak, and not squash her spirit. She’s a wonderfully imaginitive kid. She’s challenging, but she’s also smart, caring, curious, sweet and kind. And I am terrified every, single day that I am going to drive that right out of her. But somehow, in my perpetually fatigued state, I just can’t seem to bust out of the cycle. Fixing this is a very high priority, but I think that this is probably the end result of all the other stuff that I’m dealing with. I’ve been telling hubby for a while that something’s gotta give soon, and this exercise has shown me that it’s true- this pace can’t last forever.
I think I got everything… what do you think? Did anyone else notice any patterns that I missed? Any suggestions? Please go easy on me- it’s not easy to put your life on display like this, but I truly do want things to get better, and I am open to suggestions. I really don’t have a lot of solutions at the moment, but this exercise definitely made me more aware of the problems.
Have a great day, everybody!