I'm realizing that for the last few months I've had a serious case of Krazy going on. Since school started back up for me this fall, I've been working outside the home every day M-F for at least two hours (on Weds. and Thurs. it's pretty much all day). Saturdays are our family sabbath, and Sundays are usually pretty much full of church activities.
As time has gone on, week by week, I have been dreading the arrival of Wednesday afternoon. I leave the house around one, and then am gone until 10 pm … well after Sydney has been put to bed. The following day I usually have cross-country meets (tomorrow is my last one, hopefully), so I'm gone by 11:30 and don't arrive back home until 7 pm, and Sydney is usually finishing up dinner or in the bathtub by then (and Daddy is putting her down as I'm showering and winding down from the long day). Weeks ago I actually started the habit of crying as I was readying to leave the house on Wednesdays because I knew that I wouldn't see much of my daughter for the next few days, a cycle that I couldn't see the end of any time soon.
This fall has been a little nuts for us. John was finishing grad school, we've had a friend living with us, and when I went back to work in October things got nuts for me as I tried to continue with the regular responsibilities I had assumed around the house (cooking, cleaning, shopping, taking care of the baby, you know the drill). It was killing me, but I was in my own self-imposed predicament of feeling like I couldn't quit any of it. My husband gave me the complete freedom to quit. He offered to do his own laundry, to clean up the kitchen, to put Sydney to bed on the nights when he was home (every night but Tuesdays and Fridays). He told me he could give a crap about what little money I would make and he just wanted me to do what I wanted. That he wanted to help more. And I totally ignored that. Because (I thought) what good am I to this family if I'm not doing something/everything? If I'm not contributing to our household financially in some small way?
Recently I read this blog post and it kind of woke me up. I started putting two and two together and I realized that I was not getting any kind of break from sun-up to sun-down. I was never, ever alone … even when I was showering or going to the bathroom I had company. Sydney was taking an afternoon nap while I was gone at practice. It became this complicated thing where I was getting her up in the morning, feeding, changing, entertaining her until John got home. He would feed her lunch and then put her down for her nap and then have the house all to himself for two hours (which, even though he was working the entire time? As he always is? Really chapped my hide anyway because I am a jerk). By the time I would get home from practice she'd be up again and I'd be back on duty most nights, feeding her dinner, bathing her, reading her stories and putting her down for bed around 8:30, 9 sometimes.
Needless to say I was losing my freaking mind. There was no naptime break for me to blog, to take a shower without someone yelling at me from the pack-n-play in our bedroom, to eat a meal. And I don't know if you've ever worked at a high school or with high school students but if they like you? They want to talk to you. All the time. And so for two hours every day all I heard was "Coach!" and "Coach?" and "HEY COACH!" And then it was back to entertaining, to cooking and feeding and cutting food up into bite-sized pieces and then trying to get Syd to sit down! in the bathtub and then the wrestling match of bedtime.
Something shakes loose in your brain at some point and if you don't start making decisions, start making it known that this is not working for you, and I'm pretty sure one could very quickly start going nuts. And so I started talking to people. I called up my partner in ministry and told her that I was quickly going under and I didn't know what to do about it. Immediately? To my shock? She told me to take the week off. And I did. And it was awesome. And then last week I went to my athletic director at school and asked her point blank what my responsibilities would be after the regular cross-country season ended. She replied (to my SHOCK!) that she would be so blessed if I could come to the school once or twice a week if I could. If I wanted to. And I would still receive my full paycheck for coaching this season. Because my job? Was technically done.
And so starting next week? My work load goes from five days a week with LONG Wednesdays stretching into longer Thursdays to 2-3 much more manageable days. Just like that. And my anxiety about it all was resolved with two short conversations. And as of next week? I can have it all.
And so the lesson I've learned? Is that it's ok to ask for breaks. It's ok to say "I can't do this like this anymore." It's ok to say "I need naptime to myself." It doesn't make you a bad mom, or a selfish person, or a total and complete jerk. In my case? The exact opposite is true.