It’s been just over a year and a half since I quit working full-time, so I’ve been reflecting a bit on how my life has changed since then. Without question, I am happier. I am healthier and in better shape (but could definitely still do better). I am not constantly exhausted, but I am still often tired at the end of every day.
However, I continue to be amazed at how I still feel quite “behind” on life. For the first ten months after quitting, I got a lot accomplished because FuBu and I had made the choice to keep DQ in her daycare full-time for a couple of months, and then for three days a week until she started school. In looking back, I realize now just how much time I had to get things done. I was so much more organized.
Then September of last year hit: DQ started school and my consulting work picked up significantly. Since DQ is only in school – on average – two days a week, and her school day is shorter than what her days were at daycare, it means a lot more time at home with her. Which is exactly what I wanted to enjoy, but because work projects demanded more of my time, I felt pressure to always try to stay connected and put in some time even when DQ was home. And then all the other little things that sit on the To Do list kept building up. I realize that when work occupies your brain space (at least in my case), it tends to dominate everything else. My instinct is to make this an immediate priority after my family. Suddenly, really important things like keeping in shape, keeping the home organized and staying current with DQ’s photo journalling fall off the tracks.
I think I could actually enjoy a lot of domestic activities I currently complain about (e.g. housecleaning – blech!) if I was not working at all. Before things got busy with my consulting, I do think I was enjoying domestic bliss! Right now, all these obligations feel like they are getting in my way – like flies that need to be swatted – because I am almost always thinking of something work-related that has to get done. So I begin to resent cleaning the house, cooking dinner, folding the laundry… I’m pretty sure that if I didn’t have any work, I would look forward to Swiffering to Bruce Springsteen and folding laundry while watching “Top Chef”. In some ways, I feel like I’m back to where I started before I quit work in terms of how organized my life and household are – albeit happier overall and less exhausted.
So what does this say about my ability to multi-task? When I was working in the corporate world, I was an exceptional multi-tasker… at work. So why is it that I find juggling work and home so challenging, even when work is only part-time? I ask this because the other day, I thought to myself, “Wow, I would kill to have 2 days off to not have to worry about anything or anyone else except me” and I started to wonder about what I would do with those 2 days – the Dream List. That’s actually where I had intended to go with this post, but somehow I got sidetracked with my musings… So we’ll tackle that next time.