Feeling Ganged Up On

So, we went to a couples counselling appointment the other day.

Usually these are pretty good for us.  In fact, we often have fun at them.  (I know, who says that?!)  Seriously though, usually we just talk about stuff together and with our counsellor. Sometimes it’s family related, sometimes its work related, and other times its about our adoption or our dead babies.  You know, the big stuff in life and sometimes just the day-to-day things.  A little bit of this and a little bit of that.

And usually our counsellor tends to agree with me.  Which of course I like.  (Seriously, who doesn’t like having someone agree with them?!)

But this week was different.  Evidently, her and Mr. MPB were speaking the same language and I was left scratching my head and even defending myself at times*.

Evidently, they have noticed my old workaholic self re-appearing now that I’m working.  The conversation included statements like:

  • 14 hour days
  • all or nothing
  • stress and anxiety
  • taking time to eat properly

But in my defense, when you work in a fast paced, high stress profession there will be anxiety from time-to-time.  So long as I’m working in my profession I cannot completely avoid the anxiety, it’s impossible!  And, there will days that are down right miserable and horrible bad days.  But there will also be good days and sometimes even dreadfully boring days when nothing happens.  In fact, because I’m now self-employed there will even be days where I don’t do any work because I don’t have to or just don’t want to.

No, it’s not going to be perfect.  And, I’m not going to pretend it will be.  But, I kind of felt unfairly targeted for not avoiding stress all together.  And I honestly don’t think that’s achievable so long as I’m living.  Life includes anxiety, sometimes due to work.

I think it’s about achieving a balance.  And I adamantly believe I’m working to achieve said balance.

It’s easy for others to sit back and say I’m not doing enough or maybe in this case, I’m doing too much.  But, the reality is, one of my clients is in crises mode and it’s my job to get them through it. There will be moments of stress and anxiety, and some long days, but I will get through it and it will be fine.  I have not signed up for 2 years of hell instead, the reality is that I’m just in the midst of a few weeks that are less then ideal that require a few long days and result in high levels of stress.

When I was really stressed in the past it took over my life.  I stopped sleeping, eating and breathing.  Instead, right now I realized it pretty quickly and took a break to calm down and recenter myself – this is substantial progress for me.  I say it’s a good sign that I’m identifying problems before they take over and trying to find a healthy live-work balance while managing anxiety.

And, I see a bonus to working a lot right now.  First, it keeps my mind active and therefore minimizes my ability to obsess over the adoption wait.  And second, the more hours I work, the more money I make, so the adoption bills don’t seem quite as daunting.

I’m trying to find a healthy balance.  It’s not always going to be perfect.  But at least I’m trying!

*to their credit on Monday I left the house for work at 9:30am and got home at about 1am.  On Wednesday I left the house at 4:55am and got home at 7:55pm.  Yes, I worked 15.5 hours straight on Monday with a working supper and 15 hours straight on Wednesday without a break.

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41 Comments on “Feeling Ganged Up On

    • Not enough – Monday through Wednesday as exceptionally rough! But, our Internet went down yesterday so I used that as an excuse to take most of the day off. And my work should level off now to something more reasonable….I hope!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I agree with you 100% here. Good days and bad days, stress free days and days full of stress. That’s life.. That’s work… That’s reality. What do they expect?

    Yes, those are some long days… But we’ve all had them. Maybe I’m biased because I’ve worked similar hours, stress levels, etc.. But if those days aren’t the norm, then I’d say things are just fine.

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    • Yes! That’s my point too! This week (and last) have been exceptionally bad. But, things should level out now and return to a more normal state – maybe not the part time hours I envisioned a few months ago, but definitely back to a normal 40 hour week. Thanks for getting it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was talking to a former boss of mine last night and he reminded me that there’s more to life than a job. Yes your job will help pay for your life (and your adoption) but you’ve gotta continue to put yourself first. Take those breathing breaks, ensure you eat 3 meals a day and if you put a 15 hour day in on Monday ditch early on Friday. Balance is key my friend. I don’t want to see you burnt out when your little one arrives.

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    • You are so right about balance! Thankfully my Internet went down yesterday so I took the day and did virtually no work (because when my Internet goes down, clearly word and excel also don’t work…haha). And yes, the food thing is important and I need to do better, but one bad week doesn’t make it a complete failure, just a bad week. Next week should be much more normal on all fronts.
      And your former boss, smart man!

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      • I get it though. My husband used to tell me to eat and take better care of myself when I first started working from home. It’s easy to plug in and get lost in the day. Since then, I’ve found balance and I even sneak some noon hour naps in 🙂

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      • Noon hour naps sound delightful! Truth be told right now in still lying in bed reading the news, catching up on blogs and playing games on my phone. And enjoying it!

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  3. Good days and bad days are part of any working woman’s reality.
    But…. are your bad days outnumbering your good? And more importantly, when you are in the midst of a bad day are you taking a step back and breathing and assessing it?

    TBH, unless we are working saving patients from life and death or are responsible for some lives shuttling in space, nothing , I repeat, nothing is worth taking stress at work. Its just work, something we do to fill our belly and make our lives easier.

    I don’t know if you will agree to this, but I always follow one mantra that my teacher taught me when I was working 16 hour days for months on end.
    She said, take a step back.. and say when I am 90 will this matter? If it does, then you should stress over it, if it doesn’t, let it go and work hard but not to the point that it takes over your life.
    But as you say, this was a one off and you learnt to step back the minute you felt overwhelmed, that’s positive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nope, the bad days are not outnumbering the good days. So, I count that as a very good sign. And, when I can on the bad days I do take a step back. Even on the long days with back to back meetings due to this crises, I’m still very aware of the fact that it’s temporary.
      And you make such a great point on life and death situations – I am in no-way-shape-or-form working in a life or death situation. (Which is partially why I think it’s hilarious that my chosen career can be so stressful – seriously it makes no sense).
      And as you say, this one was a one off. It’s been a bad week, but it’s also had a good ending. I took most of yesterday off and most of today off as well. I slept in, I read the news in bed, I made us breakfast and Mr. MPB and I went for lunch together. So clearly, not every day is a bad day. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I totally get working in a high stress environment. I think if it is managed properly it can be a healthy distraction. I agree with you that it is all about balance. I think you just knowing that and striving for it is a big thing.

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  5. With the greatest of respect and compassion I must say that if you were my spouse I would have raised alarms and enlisted the help of our counsellor to discuss the concern too. I can’t blame Mr. MPB for worrying about you falling into old habits (given that they did hard and all that ;-)). And I can’t blame you for sticking up for yourself. I would actually really appreciate someone being my watchdog about not taking on too much and giving myself away at my own and my personal relationships’ expense. Can’t blame Mr. MPB and your couples counsellor for caring about you and wanting to ensure you are doing the same!

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    • I really don’t blame them at all – in fact, that’s why I added the note at the bottom about just how many hours I put in just 2 days this week, they clearly have a very valid point especially about my all or nothing personality. (And I should note Mr. MPB and our counsellor had this conversation with me last week, before they even knew about the week from hell that I was about to endure, and telling them didn’t help my cause).
      But the great news is that I survived it. And now I’m working to get back to normal. 3 meals a day, working more normal hours and even sleeping in if I want to (I didn’t get out of bed until 8:30 and I didn’t turn on my computer until 9am this morning, and that’s awesome). And now I’m off to make breakfast. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah… Maybe my comment reflects my own wish that my spouse would be even half as concerned and engaged about me perpetually taking on too much. I honestly cannot recall the last time I had three meals in the same day for example…

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      • If it helps you feel better, I almost never eat three proper meals either. And neither does Mr. MPB. And maybe that’s what annoyed me about this, he’s not perfect himself and hates when I point out that he’s still working at 9pm. So, why should I have to be perfect when he’s not? If you know what I mean.

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  6. When I am really excited about work or a project, I find it so easy to overwork. Sleep and eating well and generally taking care of myself start to fade. But I think it’s only unhealthy when it becomes chronic. Occasional days or weeks of unbalance will happen, and it’s just important to pay attention if it goes on too long.

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  7. I think they are just concerned about you. They want the best for you and don’t want you to over exert your self or get to the point where you are burned out. We sound very similar when it comes to work, but eventually I toned down due to all the miscarriages hoping it was going to be an easy answer and it wasn’t. But I would say my days went by quickly & I know that is keeping your adoption anxiety on the back burner from working so much and that isn’t such a bad thing & neither is keeping the bills down from it. The cost of adopting keeps building each day. I literally just wrote a post on keeping the cost down a few minutes ago. Sending my thoughts and prayers to you 🙂

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    • Yes, you are so right Amanda! I know it’s genuine concern (which is awesome to be reminded that I have people in my life who care so deeply). And I understand the worry about burn out, I’ve been there and done that, and I’d prefer not to do it again!
      And yes, the adoption costs are absurd! Seriously, absurd. Love to you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I understand absurd because right now I am putting together an etsy shop putting more time into sewing to sale some things to try and off put some cost 😦

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  8. I used to work practically round the clock when you consider the electronic tethers I allowed. When I went back to school, I scaled back and when I became a mom, I scaled back. Sometimes it was tough for the people around me, but it was a season. Change is likely coming for you and the hubs, but you probably do need to take some stock and work to achieve balance.

    I hear from the statements: I am worried about you. I think you are working too hard. Are you avoiding the stress of waiting and thinking about our babies? I don’t want to lose you.

    I’m sure it’s all said in love, so much of it. 🙂 I’m sure you both have a lot of emotion. Hang in there!

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    • Thank you ABM. It was absolutely said in love and I am beyond thankful for the love that I do have in my life – Mr. MPB is a pretty amazing man! 🙂
      And yes, I do need to figure out how to do a better job of achieving balance. I think you have an interesting point about using work to avoid the stress of waiting and our lost babies….I suspect I have some thinking to do around this and probably writing too.

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  9. I’m with you – being on top of managing it all is what’s important. Yeah sure you could change careers and eliminate the stress of that completely but something tells me you aren’t the type to just sit on your hands either. Even when I haven’t worked a lot as a parent I’ve found other ways to wind up juggling lots of balls. Some of us are just built that way. It is just learning to manage manage manage I say. And make sure it’s not always 15 hour days, or even frequently I guess. 🙂 Good luck.

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    • It seems like you and I are build the same way. I’ve often joked that even if I worked at Starbucks or Walmart I’d still make it stressful, because that’s just who I am. I’d find something to improve or change and it would be the hardest thing in the store to change and it would somehow become my mission.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. In all fairness, you aren’t working any more than some other professions, like Drs or cops or firefighters. Hell even I work some 13+ hour days. It all depends on your profession and the hours that it demands of you. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a workaholic. It just means that’s what your job asks of you at that particular time. I feel like if you’re balancing those long days out with some short ones, or some extra ones off, you’re fine. Now, if you worked 15 hour days, 7 days a week, that would be an issue. I’m guessing that they’re both just concerned that you’re getting overworked and over stressed. I hope that you got them to realize that right now is a critical time, and it should back off some time soon. Either way, I’m sorry that you felt that they ganged up on you. Hopefully it will get easier soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes!! You get it! The only thing I have to say is that I may work the same type of hours, but I am not saving anyone’s life. So, is it needed? I don’t know, I’d say that’s debatable at a minimum. But, for some reason in my industry, it is a common occurrence.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I mean, really, is it EVER needed? There’s always someone else that could do it I suppose. But if you have a strong work ethic, you’ll work until the job is done…or at least until you reach a reasonable stopping point. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

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  11. It’s tough because you’re making a compromise with yourself, working in the same industry but as an independent contractor instead of being tied down as a full-time employee. You have done your best to keep yourself from being overworked, but your client’s crisis was unpredictable. I guess your husband and counsellor are just trying to help you identify that you’re starting to go down the rabbit hole again (in case you didn’t already know yourself). Stress and anxiety are so destructive when related to work because we find it easier to justify working harder (because it makes us good at what we do), but harder to say no and try to strike a balance in our lives. When you’re an overachiever like we are, it’s so hard to achieve that balance. Once your baby comes, you will find it easier to say no so that you can spend more time with your family.

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    • My friend, you get it! Yes, I have already made a lot of compromises in how I’m working. I’ve made A LOT of changes. I’m trying. It’s not perfect and probably never will be, but I am trying. I do realize I need to do a better job, and I will try to, but as you point out, I just end up working harder the busier and more stressed I get. It’s not ideal, but I don’t think that’s ever going to change for me. I do hope a baby makes it easier for me, but I guess only time will tell.
      Thanks so much for your support and love.

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  12. There is absolutely nothing wrong with working hard and long hours for short periods of time, the problems some times come when it becomes addictive. Especially if there is reward ($$) or benefit (winning contracts, exceeding expectations, solving complex problems, doing something good, saving lives etc). If you believe you can tell the signs of when too much is too much then don’t worry what anyone else says, but Mr MPB obviously cares deeply for you and wants to avoid a broken Mrs MPB. It’s great that you talked about it with your counsellor though, I hope you can keep talking about it without thinking you are being ganged up on or feeling defensive. If you are being honest with yourself and them that you feel good about your work then all is just groovy and you work your butt off because soon enough your going to be working your butt off in a completely different way – running around a little cheeky monkey 🙂

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    • Yes, you are right. Short-term, through a crises, these hours aren’t a bad thing. Long term, well that’s another story and that’s not at all what I have in mind.
      And yes, Mr. MPB is a pretty great man. I’m glad he wants to take care of me all the time.
      And i cannot wait for the day that we are chasing a little cheeky monkey. 🙂

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  14. That is a LOT of work but I imagine you have the balance well in hand. Besides, you will be taking some time off soon RIGHT UNIVERSE.

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