Friday, October 22, 2010


The Green Phone Booth welcomes back regular guest poster Jess of Sweet Eventide.

The week before last, I heard about a job, applied, interviewed and got an offer for it. All in 28 hours. "Can you start in two days?" they asked. I had been looking, needing and wanting a part-time job out of the house for many reasons for two years. But now that I've got one?

I'm feeling rather frazzled.

With basically no time to prepare myself or my family for a fairly big transition, we're in sink or swim mode. I've only had one job in my son's life (he's almost 7.5) and it was mostly working from home and about 5 hours per week. This is part-time, more like 20 and mostly out of the house. We ran out of milk the first week. This week I've managed to keep the fridge stocked but please don't look at my floors. (I have a high-shedding lab).

I have high food standards, a blog that I miss and an Etsy shop that is centered around my dream career. I haven't opened the mail in 10 days and my husband has done almost all the dishes. I don't want to knock big things off my life to-do list because of a job. I still want to volunteer at school as I committed to do before this job fell into my life. I still want to blog and take photographs and market my Etsy shop. In fact I want to grow my photography business, not give up on it because I'm overwhelmed.

I want to have good energy to connect with my husband and nurture my son each day. I want to keep up and grow my friendships. And what about exercise? Come on, I was barely managing to do that before juggling an intense new job! What about all the things I wanted to work on like starting to grow a few of my own vegetables? (My husband and I have kept a basil plant alive for six weeks now, a record!) I have fallen in love with amigurumi too and I don't want to stop crocheting little lopsided bunnies.

Are my expectations WAY out of line? Is it possible to do all this? And the holidays are coming! I am a handmade holiday kind of gal! I know lots of parents work in and out of the home and have some of this figured out. I am hoping lots of you will share your tips on keeping your standards and ethics for your life but doing it more efficiently. Excuse me while I go collapse in bed until I hear from you wise folks.


Anonymous said...

Cut yourself some slack! As you said, it's a big transition and you had no prep time. Give yourself (and your family) some time to adjust. Reevaluate in 4 - 6 months.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it'd be more healthy to not feel bad that your husband is doing the dishes? You shouldn't be expected to do everything.

ruchi said...

I'm not a mom, so I haven't had to juggle that aspect yet, but I feel you on the long list of projects that seem to drop off when you start a new job. So here's my two cents:

1) As the first commenter said, cut yourself some slack. The first month of a job is always crazy. It takes a while for you to adjust to the commute, to the work, etc, etc. Yes, things are going to fall by the wayside for the first couple of months, but I promise, you will figure it out in the end.

2) Plan and prioritize. I have personally found that I actually become more productive when I am really busy, because I'm forced to do these two things. Meal planning is key. Invest in a slow cooker. Make big batches of soup or lasagna on weekends for the week. Use a Google Doc to keep a chore/to do list with your husband. That way you both know who needs to do what at all times.

And prioritize. So what if your floors don't get cleaned every week? Are you really planning to eat off of them? Maybe right now is not the time to try and grow your photography business, maybe right now you focus on keeping the status quo. Maybe you continue to volunteer at the school but instead of chairing a committee, you just act as a member of a committee. Maybe this year, only some of your Christmas presents are handmade, and the rest might be fun experiences like movie tickets, or gift certificates to a local eatery.

Lastly, breathe. It will get better. It will get easier. Eventually, you will develop a routine. You will gradually become more efficient, your work might not feel quite so intense once you get used to it, and your husband and you will figure out what's the best split in terms of the chores. It will get easier. I promise. And if it doesn't, you re-evaluate your life.

TammyJ said...

I totally relate and am only just starting to feel the beginnings of regaining a balance, two months after starting a new job and I only jumped up to 10 hours a week. Just breathe and do what you can, you will find a new rhythm but it will take time.

Holly said...

You know how when the kids go back to school in the fall and you think they have some rare disorder because all of a sudden they are so tired and cry all the time and you just can't figure it out and then you realize that it's just a change and in 6 weeks time they aren't complaining as much and you don't have to try (as) hard to wake them up then morning and miraculously their rare disease is cured because really it wasn't a rare disease it was just getting used to a new routine. And that's what you are doing.

You want something done, ask a busy person to do it.

Green Bean said...

Lots of good advice here, Jess! Take care of yourself. Eat some frozen pizzas or take out and know that it is not the end of the world. And for goodness sake's, let J do the dishes without punishing yourself! You've got a job outside of the home now and it will be an adjustment for everyone. Hugs.

Anonymous said...

What Ruchi and Tammy said about Breathe.

What anonymous said about husbands doing dishes--that's what partnership is about.

The transition is the hardest part--getting into a new rhythm. And I usually find that if the rhythm is too hard and takes too long to find, then it's not my rhythm and I'm supposed to be somewhere else...but it takes a while to figure that out.

And finally, just--GO YOU. It sounds like you're doing great, even if it might not feel like it yet. Hang in there!

robbie @ Going Green Mama said...

Jess, the transition is hard, but bear in mind that jobs have their "seasons" too. (I think I'm in the middle of one that won't end, myself!)

Here's how we survive with two little ones:

We split duties. My amazing husband takes care of meals most nights and picks up the kids. (The investment of extra booster seats, something that was a bit out of budget, was worth it on stressful days in the office.)

We let things go. My ledges in my house are my storage spot for paper and we don't always enforce the cleaning up your toys rule, but I think the important thing is for us to spend our awake hours interacting with our kids, learning about their day, doing homework, walking as a family while we can still enjoy the weather.

Handmade gifts? You just need to rethink your strategy. Maybe you switch from craft to food gifts, which seem to take less prep work. Or maybe this is the year for themed gift baskets. Or maybe enlist your kids to help on the crafts!

Holiday cooking - We spent an hour or two last weekend cutting up apples to freeze for apple streudel, if that tells you anything. Break it into small bites!

I hope that helps! Send me an email if you never need to vent.

Daisy said...

Prioritize. Seriously. Take time to get settled into your job so you know how much is realistic. I teach full time, so I often update my blog on weekends instead of daily. When I'm in the midst of parent-teacher conferences or progress reports, the family knows they may have to cook for themselves and wash their own underwear. Take time; you'll see what's important, and the rest can wait.

Jessica Nichols said...

Thank you all, I'm here paying attention as I find my way.


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