Burnout

What do you get when you combine four small children, a freelancing career, a husband, a house, and a running addiction?

One very tired Mom/Freelancer/Wife/Homemaker/Runner.

Working from home sounds sweet on the outset. I get to make my own hours (inasmuch as I can squeeze in work around my kids’ needs). I get to decide what projects to take on and which ones to decline. Essentially, I only do what I want, when I want.

But, there’s an issue there… see, when you don’t have set “office hours” you’re always on the clock. I find myself continually feeling like there’s something that I could be doing when I’m doing something else. If I take a break and watch TV for an evening and set aside a web design project, I feel badly that I’m not working on it. I worry that I’m failing my client. If I decide to take a nap instead of writing an article, I am disappointed that I haven’t made any much-needed money for my family.

I know, I know: I have the most important job. I’m my kids’ mom and being there for them is the most important thing. *Insert other parenting cliché here.* Blah blah blah… I get it. Really, I do. But, I’m not satisfied in that role alone. I need my creative outlets and it makes me feel good when I can make a little money for us, too.

Still, it’s tiring. I want someone to tell me when to take a break. I want to know how to better balance working from home and caring for my four little ones. I’d really like one, solid, well-paying job instead of several small ones. I don’t want to be told that I should just focus on my kids and put the rest of my goals and dreams aside, because that’s not going to happen. I can’t quit now and I don’t have any desire to. Yet, I know that if I don’t figure something out soon, I’m going to reach total burnout.

I’ve been told in the past that when you find yourself pulled in too many directions you should cut some things out. I believe that’s something I need to do.

From now on, I’ve decided that I will stop doing laundry. It takes up far too much time and really, the clothes just get dirty again anyway, right? I think we’ll go to using all paper products in the kitchen, too. No more dirty dishes. “Well, that’s not environmentally friendly,” you say? No worries, because I’ll reduce my carbon footprint in other ways: We’ll stop mowing the lawn. That’d be a little less gas emissions being put into the atmosphere! And maybe I’ll only change the babies’ diapers once a day… yanno, cut down on waste.

(You know I’m joking, right?)

All right, so maybe I do need to reevaluate, for reals.

Unless… Is there some way to either clone myself or add 12 more hours to every day?

No?

Drat.

Occasionally funny, always genuine, Lindsay Maddox contributes to The Balancing Act’s blogging community every Monday. The rest of the week, she shares the hilarity of raising four under six (including twins!) on her blog Silly Mom Thoughts.

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