“Total commitment to family and total commitment to career is possible, but fatiguing.” — Muriel Fox
Today, as so often happens, I had one of those mornings when I arrived at work, (or shall I call it my paying job), and took a moment to just breathe and shift gears, because I felt like I had already put in a full day….yet it was only 8:30am.
And it started me thinking about how many “jobs” we Real Women have. Sure, many of us have more than one source of income – you may work at a couple different employers, with a variety of shifts….but what about all of those other non-paying jobs you hold down every day? Even if you have a unique schedule (maybe you work a night shift, for example, or you are a stay-at-home mom), I believe you will still find that your day is broken into something similar to the following roles:
Rise ‘n Shine Captain – Your first job of the day kicks in as soon as that alarm goes off in the morning. You of course need to get yourself up and dressed and ready for your day; however you most likely are also getting others in your household ready for their day. Children, husband, pets, other family members…. It doesn’t really matter who or what those other household inhabitants are, they still need the Captain to steer them in the right direction. The Captain is in charge of such duties as lunch making, coffee brewing, pet walking, breakfast prep and clean up, backpack or briefcase packing, note writer, plant waterer, lost item finder, last-minute crisis diverter….the list is seemingly endless. Yet the priority items must be accomplished in a short time frame before you go to your next job:
Regular Job Associate – This is the job that you (hopefully) get paid for. You need to be driven, sharp as a tack, professional, and able to separate your focus as far as possible from those non-paying jobs, even going so far as to pretend you don’t have any other obligations in life. If you must have a piece of the rest of your life overlap into this job, attempt to keep the interruption minimal. Give your employer 110%, even though job #1 has already claimed 50% of you. Be amazing for the next 8 – 10 hours.
Speed Racer – As soon as you depart Job #2, the race is on. You will now fit an unrealistic number of activities into the next 3 or so hours, such as: errands, sporting events, homework review, dinner prep, pet walking, daily clean up, calls to return, and let’s not forget to keep ourselves healthy by fitting in some exercise! It doesn’t matter if jobs #1 & 2 tired you out, you must prevail upon your second wind to be successful here.
Preparations Manager – As the evening winds down and the rest of the world is preparing for sleep, your job as Preparations Manager is to make sure that all errant shrapnel from the day has been tidied up, and you prepare for the following day with whatever energy you have left. Because you know that any work the Preparations Manager can accomplish means slightly less that the Rise ‘n Shine Captain will have to take on. Laundry loads are switched, school and work materials are prepped, meals are planned, lists are made, and the household is secured for the night. If you are very lucky, you will fit in time for the Preparations Manager’s alter ego: Detox Dame. Not enough time is devoted to this role, which is dedicated to sitting and watching tv, looking through a magazine, or just plain breathing and relaxing. But if you don’t allow for Detox Dame to do her job, then slowing down enough to sleep will challenge.
Yes, Real Women, we have several jobs. And we push ourselves to do them all expertly. We ask for simple benefits in return – like appreciative hugs from children, a wagging tail from a pet, an occasional backrub from a partner, a glass of wine, or ten minutes of peace and quiet to soak in the tub. Carry on!