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TIME EXISTS SO THAT EVERYTHING DOESN'T HAPPEN ALL AT ONCE*
It keeps adding up and piling on and never-ending. Do I have a task magnet stuck on me? *swipes at clothing* Doing my own work, plus half the work of a missing colleague is beginning to take its toll and its only been 2 weeks, though there's no near end in sight at the moment. Right before I left the office, running late, 2 people discussing and arguing and NOT GETTING OUT OF MY WAY so I could leave made me feel as though my blood pressure was actually surging and starting to short me out like a freaky fuse.

I've never had a panic attack, but on the way home I think I came close. What a horrible feeling. On the verge of tears, I pulled up to the house, and sat in the driveway for a few moments while my heart stopped banging about and began to behave again, before letting out my breath and getting out of the car. The mail is all magazines: food, catalog, 2 panda club copies for the kids. Inside, I toss them on the table, flip on lights, remove my boots. The fishtank is getting murky again, I see, as I turn the aquarium light on: there's another task. I move slowly through the house, breathing through my nose. When the kids arrive with Anders, I don't think they notice anything out of the ordinary. Maybe I'm quieter than usual, maybe not.

There's only an hour before I need to leave again for choir, and I'm dreading the drive; it's blowing hard and sleeting a bit. Anders has brought home hotdogs for himself and the kids (he knows better than to ask, I rarely eat them), so I fix myself some soup and a sandwich. Thick and creamy chicken with rice goes down easy, it makes me feel marginally better. There's not time to do much more than start a load of laundry, talk over how everyone's day went, check e-mails. I was going to take it with me to listen to, but I can't find the Tracy Chapman CD, the one with the song on it I need to learn for my brother's wedding. Where the hell has it disappeared to?

*surge*

Choir is a pick-me-up, a relief, despite the drive, the length, the worsening weather. Tonight we concentrate on songs we already know for a quickly approaching concert, plus one new one which is fun and bouncy to sing. It's a smaller group tonight, half the choir is missing; it's cold season plus the snow is probably deterring people. I feel like my singing is too loud, but at least it's confident and on key, so I put my wonky heart into my voice and sing. When I bend my head forward air pops between the vertebrae in my neck.

On the way home from choir, forced to drive at a fraction of my usual speed by the snow mixed with rain, I turn Katie Melua up on the stereo. Her voice is like molten chocolate. My breathing keeps the beat with the windshield wipers. Back and forth, and back and forth. I drive home through the snow and the night. I think about things like, what journal entry will be left when I die? This makes me nervous, you see. What if my last words were angry ones, or boring? I think about things like, maybe I should stop at work on my way home despite the lateness of the hour. This passes quickly, thank goodness. I think about things like, a sentence I read the other night in the book I'm slowly plowing through (it's slow going because I'm harvesting so much, not because it's bad). It said something to the effect that if we had all the time in a single day to do all the things we needed to get done it would be 48 hours long. I sat stunned for a moment, and then closed the book and set it down. It's not just me, I know. EVERYONE needs more time.

*Albert Einstein
 numb
mood: numb
music: Katie Melua—Call Off the Search


Comments

Sorry to hear it's so hectic on you :(

The work situation sounds bad, I hope your colleague comes back and takes some of the load off you.

Your post me want to fly over there and run you a bubble bath, bake you some cookies and pour you a glass of wine. You sound like you are in need of a break. Try to wrangle some time for yourself. Put off today what you can do tomorrow!

*hug*
Why are you doing the work of two people? Change this and fast. Don't be the martyr. Make them realize that you can't keep up and that if the situation doesn't change soon that you'll burn out.

*another hug for good measure*

Working moms have a lot on their plate. And from what I know about you I know you want to do your best all the time. Hugs

When I stood in your kitchen last month and noticed your family calendar there hanging by the back door, I almost took a pencil and scheduled "bubble bath" and "lay on the sofa and read" and such into some of your blank spaces.

Big hug.

There were blank spaces?

You stole my reply! I won't lecture you again as you know how I worry about you. Maybe I'm seeing parrallels to me that aren't there, but I am concerned that you are not giving yourself enough LIZ time and that while you accept the time management problem on an intellectual level, you still don't accept it on an emotional level. Denial is a double edged sword, you know.

Even Lambi realises you are reaching your limit. When I asked her how she thought Liz's situation was, she said "Rough. Rough" and immediately prescribed puppy therapy, with her in the starring role of course. Perhaps she could join the lizardhouse as a stand up chameleon :)

Puppy therapy sounds like just the ticket!

You know, it's a real bummer for me, when I really AM trying to cut back and say no, to have so much going on at work that I feel as if it makes no difference. And I still love my job and what I do, so it's not that I'm complaining (exactly) but there seem to be only 2 levels: busy and crazy busy.

Well, forging ahead...

I know what you mean. Having a young family means that you can very rarely be completely alone. Once caught in the cycle it can be hard to stop the merry-go-round, especially when it seems to have a rhythmn of its own. I can remember when I was working full time as a lawyer in a super busy practice, trying to juggle that with taking care of two children with little or no support from their father (he believed everything to do with housework, shopping and children was "woman's work").

It was dire, though at the time I didn't notice how crazy my life really was. Now I look back and think "What was I doing? Why didn't I turn down the extra court work and caseloads? Why didn't I assert myself more over equal sharing of household and childcare and child taxi-ing duties?" But at the time I would have said "I can't. They need me (my clients)! It's not my husband's fault - he is a product of a culture where this is how it is. I knew that when I married him. And so I continued with manic work at the office, taking kids to soccer, singing classes, acting classes, school, shopping, cooking, cleaning, supervising homework, then once the kids were in bed, hitting my casenotes again. Some days I worked 16 hours a day and found myself doing the laundry at 2 a.m. as I had no other slot in the day to get it done.

So I really do understand the dilemma and the fact that it can be nigh on impossible to draw a line where it seems fair to everyone, especially that person lowest on your list of prioities - LIZ!

Although I am very much a social creature, I've learned after a long battle that I need to be alone sometimes. Not just left alone. Alone. Nobody else in evidence. These days it's a very dear commodity.

Every once in a while, I need to pull myself away from human contact. To spend time without speaking or considering the needs and wants of anyone else. Time to delve inside my head and nourish the individual Marie, the one that isn't a wife, mother, lawyer or daughter.

I feel very lucky now to have a husband who, although he doesn't share my love of solitude, understands that it is necessary for me. Not everyone does. But in taking time to get to know myself, to listen to that quiet inner voice that often gets drowned out by the clatter and hustle of daily life, I feel I have much more to give those that mean the most to me. And I come to appreciate them all the more.

I hope you can find a way to the same place. Well, not literally THE SAME place as then I wouldn't be alone, but you know what I mean.

I do know what you mean, and thankfully I have a husband who not only helps out with EVERYTHING: house, kids, me, but he also understands that I need downtime too. We complement each other very well, for the most part. I DO get downtime, it's just lately with work being so crazy that I feel it's taking on a life of its own.

Oh, poor Liz, I wish I could help out some and take some chores off your hand ... hey, there's an idea, employ me as a house keeper for two weeks just to clear the load!

key problem there being "employ" ...otherwise, it's an excellent idea!

(Anonymous)

Panic attacks. I get them from time to time. You get that sinking feeling and then it isn't so much "hard to breathe" as it is hard to think about breathing, your mind races and it's almost like you are paralyzed with fear.

Hate them.

They are horrible and I wouldn't wish them on my worst enemy.

Nicole

(Anonymous)

Deep breathing FOR you. Oh how I hope things get better for you, especially work-wise, and that you have some blank spaces in your calendar soon! Be good to yourself, woman!

~samiam

Wow. I know the time hustle all too well and I am nowhere as booked as you dear. Please try to schedule in some not scheduled time each week (an hour), each day (a few minutes), each month (a day). I call it "ME Time." and it has saved me.

(Anonymous)

hugs+++ I know how you feel. -Alex

(Anonymous)

((((HUGS))))) and an email on the way.

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