By Jael Strong
You want to be the perfect parent, the dedicated worker, and the go-to guy for family when they need something done. So what do you do? You do it all! And now you feel tired and irritable, and people are crossing the street to avoid passing you because your hair is standing on end and your left eye has a constant twitch. Is working all day and all night worth it? The short answer is no.
We enjoy being parents. Hopefully, we have work that we love. And, of course, we want to say yes to family and friends in need, knowing that they would do the same for us. But as I pulled into the garage today at 11:30 at night, I suddenly didn’t look forward to work. I resented getting up at seven in the morning and I currently dread doing the same tomorrow morning. It’s almost midnight and I realize that I didn’t relish many of the million things I did today. We have to draw a line somewhere just so we can give ourselves some much needed down time.
The bad news
We can’t stop being parents, children, siblings, and friends. We can’t quit our jobs and stay at home hoping that the bills will get paid. But constant work from sun up to sun down saps energy, creativity, and the motivation to do our best. We go into automatic, settling for mediocre because we don’t have the energy required for the best. And because we can’t do things the way that we would like, we often leave a trail of half-accomplished tasks behind us. There are many demands, but filling every minute of everyday with task after task is ineffectual and unhealthy.
The good news
Though I don’t feel like it right now, the truth is I have control. I didn’t have to get up at seven in the morning and force myself through a grueling obstacle course of tasks that ends here a few minutes after midnight. I would like to say that the blame lies with others, but it lies with me. I have control.
If we can do everything, but know that we shouldn’t, then our first option is always to set some things for another day. Nobody wants an emotionally and physically drained player on their team. Set limits. Decide what can really fit in a day and don’t over schedule. Always include time for you, a time dedicated to relaxing and nothing else.
True we can’t stop being parents. But can we micro-manage less, and enjoy watching our children blossom with a little less mothering? We can’t stop working all together, but do we have to accept every assignment? We don’t want to say no to family and friends, but they will understand if we have to take a rain check on an invitation or solicit the help of others to get a job done. Our colleagues, family, and friends will appreciate our fresh outlook once we have rested and our renewed energy will make life a joy rather than an endless drudgery that never ends.