I Can’t Do It All

shouting-1719492_1920It was with a heavy heart that I closed the final chapter on my day job today, in pursuit of fulfilling some dreams and kicking some goals before it’s too late.

 

I’ve loved my job and at the end of my last ever face-to-face meeting with a client today, for a brief moment “doubt” stepped in. I was fortunate to meet so many interesting people in my role that helped me evolve into the open-minded/hearted woman that I’m proud to have turned into over the past few years. It also opened my eyes even wider to what the world can possibly think it is going to achieve by closing its doors to immigrants and denying all of us those precious opportunities to embrace, share and learn from different cultures.

 

I told my employer I was off to chase some dreams when I resigned because there is some truth to that story. But I’m also aware of how unprofessional it would sound if I admitted to her that in reality the balance between my work and home life has become too tricky to navigate, and something has to give. So I’ll admit it to you, my readers. I’ve been angry for a long time. I’ve sought medication and therapy to control my stress levels and calm the internal storms that keep raging, but they haven’t worked, so changes need to be made – for the sake of just about everyone who knows me. I’ve had to accept that I can’t do what we women are meant to strive for; I can’t do it all.

 

I’ll say it again, I can’t do it all, and I refuse to feel ashamed of that. It won’t be me who changes the world, and that’s ok. More specifically, I can’t support my son and his needs and loss of direction and hold down a demanding job at the same time.

 

I’m not superwoman or Gwyneth.

 

What I am, though, is bloody lucky, because I’m fortunate to have choices as a woman – they call it “privilege” these days – and I am aware that my choices are ones that many women will never have. The shame attached to that admission kept me at work for longer than I should have stayed, to the detriment of both my son and my health. But as they tell you at the gym – apparently – you need to listen to your body and your heart, so that is what I’m doing. The final justification I needed to make this momentous leap into the scary vortex of the unknown came from the old man when we were on holiday and I admitted to not coping – like he didn’t know – and he reminded me as I sat in the corner of the room rocking, that we only have one life, and that we are in the fortunate position to have choices.

 

I know. I bagged a good’un. 

 

Anyway, here’s what I’m going to do: for the remainder of this year I’m going to get my son back on track, in a consultant capacity only, (as per my therapist’s recommendations), and as opposed to the way I used to try to help him as a meddling, helicopter parent. In the two weeks since my workload has lightened up a little, I’ve already seen the difference some quality time with him has made. For the past year, I have allowed his age and social presumptions dictate my own expectations for him, and I forgot that he is Kurt and he is his own person, and it has never been a good idea to compare him to his peers. His stepping stones to adulthood will happen when he’s ready, and they won’t be defined because someone has written in some parenting manual that he should be doing things at the same time as other kids his age. That never happened during his education, so it’s unlikely to happen now.

 

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the time to talk to him and more importantly, to listen to him. We’ve laughed together again, I’ve taken him to the doctors and for coffee and driving, and amazingly he passed his test first time – a massive boost to his confidence. And that success has infected all the complex facets of his personality and where he sees his place in the world in the best way, and on a practical level, it has meant that finally, he has some means of independence from us – a freedom he has yearned for but not quite been able to reach by himself.

 

He is already talking about travel and going back into education – without pressure from us. (Honest). More importantly, he is talking to me again, probably because I’m not barking or sniping at him at the same time as writing my endless “to-do lists” and deciding which parts of my life to prioritize.

 

So I will be here for him for a while longer, and in between the challenge of getting my son back into the realms of loving life again, (and I will join him in that challenge), I’ll also submit my book for publication and see if there’s any damned way to make the paltry sum of money I need to keep the old man off my back, from writing.

 

Concessions will need to be made, of course, so that I can chase my writing/perfect mother dreams – financial mainly, much to the old man’s delight. Because unless I sell my book (and the following twenty with film rights), we will continue to have the ugliest house in the street. The big car is already up for sale and I will have to return to the role of “house bitch” for a while as the old man works extra hours to formulate a plan of how to bridge the shortfall in our earnings. But as long as he doesn’t cut my weekly wine allowance, I will be stoic.

 

And every cloud has a silver lining – at least there will be food in the fridge again.

 

 

9 thoughts on “I Can’t Do It All

  1. Bravo! Well done to you!

    I can’t do it all either, and I shouldn’t have to ( no one should), and no longer try to…I still feel a bit guilty about it… but I am working on that.

    I am torn on the issue of ‘privilege’, as my husband works hard to earn income, and we live very simply. We are involved parents and I volunteer at my children’s school above and beyond the norm. Just because I am no longer getting paid it does not mean I am not working, that the role I have is not significant. If more people could find a way ( or choose) to have at least one of the couple’s primary roles to be a parent, actively raising their kids, volunteering their time to provide role models to kids, to be ‘the village’ I truly believe society as a whole would be better off. Sadly, raising a family is no longer as valued as big houses, fancy vehicles and exotic vacations. ( Sorry, I will get down off my soap box now)

    I am so happy for you that you and your son are laughing together again, amazing what stress reduction can do! I am a strong believer that people develop at different speeds and in different directions and that is A -O.K. I just want my kids to be happy individuals and contributing members to society.

    Thank you for sharing your journey, it is reassuring to me to know that there is company on the path.

    T.m

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    1. “Sadly, raising a family is no longer as valued as big houses, fancy vehicles and exotic vacations”. Love that line and the whole village thing, which I whole-heartedly agree with. Thank you for sharing your views on this – it’s the best support.

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  2. Thank you for such honesty and wise words. I am going through some similar ‘stuff’ at the moment and have chosen to work just one day per week in the vain hope of achieving some positivity in other areas of my life. I have only just found your blog but am looking forward to hearing more about your journey ! Wishing you all good luck x

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  3. I can soooo relate to so much of this. I have been in a not-so-good place for a loooong time, feeling myself breaking, and struggling to find balance as I, too, tried to do it all.

    I enjoyed this post in that it makes me realize I am not alone in these feelings and that there are others willing to take the leap into the unknown.

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  4. I love your posts and I am sooooo impressed with this one. Great decision, hard one, but the right one – not just for your son but for you. You deserve to focus on yourself as well as everyone else. Sometimes we forget that. I had a deal with my husband that I would take the workload at home until he became a consultant and then I could focus on my writing to see if I had it in me. Typically though, as soon as I was ready to write, he left. Yay! But I did it anyway, single parenting 3 kids. But like you, my anger and frustration blew out of me like unexpected geysers. My daughter told me this morning I’m always angry (although I’m not… but I am a lot and I need to hear that more.) We are doing the best we can – and this is your time to focus on your son but also you. Write. Be brave and beautiful and creative. Well done you xx

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  5. I have just found your blog through Middle Aged Mama’s post and I am loving your stuff! It resonates so much with me. I quit my job a few years ago – due to being totally unappreciated, stressed and miserable (it didn’t make me a wonderful person to be married to!) I found another one with less hours and now my husband and I both work part-time – fits in well with our empty nest and the fact that we don’t need much to survive comfortably now days. I hope you find joy and peace now you have some more headspace and family time.
    Leanne | cresting the hill

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  6. I have two sons, one in college and high school; both class of 2017′ seniors and will graduate next month. I have a great relationship with both and they are set up for success. I would love to work part time, but the man’s construction job is seasonal as it has been very slow for the past 5 years, so finding that part time job is not in the future for me. I’m thankful for my son’s who are hardworking, self-sufficient and so far, driven to start their lives. I, on the other hand… have reached that point in my life where I know I can’t continue to do it all, so I’ve slowly, but surely eased my way out and I don’t go balls out anymore. I’ve changed my start time at work to a later start, get on the treadmill/do hiphop videos on YouTube, watch what I eat…spend more time with my gal pals and just make more time for me. I actually went to a movie by myself for the first time during the holidays, saw Nocturnal Animals. The man sees my changes, the changes towards him (like speaking up for myself) and to my life style. The clarity is awesome, it hit my like a ton of bricks last summer, my whole mindset has changed, its been beautiful and in the evening wine makes it better.

    I am new to this site and I have enjoyed all the stories. Women helping women :*)

    Thank you and Cheers!

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