Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Self-love saves the day

Every so often I have what I call a ‘mini-meltdown’. Now I call it ‘mini’ as it isn’t really anything like a meltdown, I am exaggerating a bit with the use of that word. But for me, a person who is usually fairly calm and organised enough to function comfortably from day-to-day, any deviation from my usual calmness needs a word that appropriately describes the disarray in my mind. The cause of such mini-meltdowns, as I have worked out over the years, is simply me being disorganised and temporarily losing my grip on the crazy busy life of a working mum. And when being disorganised culminates into a whirlwind where one week rolls into the next without anything too constructive going on in my environment, my brain explodes. As does my soul.

About two to three weeks ago I saw the signs of one of my mini-meltdowns looming. The smallest of tasks started to become way too tedious, I was huffing and puffing under my breath and everything just felt oh so hard. I felt tired, no, I felt exhausted, and if someone asked me to do the smallest of tasks I just felt like screaming “NO!” I reached out to friends on Facebook (as you do) and asked for tips to help me organise my housework and chores a little better so they don’t take up most of my weekend. I listened, I read, I implemented. The following Monday I started doing a small bit of housekeeping every night after work. I intended to spend an hour each night, Monday to Thursday, then Friday night off. But as it turns out 30 minutes a night seems to be sufficient. You see I used to, up until two weeks ago, do a big clean on the weekend. The upside of this is that the house looks schmicko and that bleach smell and shiny floors just float my boat. But the downside is it takes up a good half of one of my two days off, and it doesn’t stay so schmicko for long. Add garden tasks, laundry, grocery shopping and other chores to this and my weekend was being chewed up by jobs. The other downside to the one big clean is that by midweek the house would start to look dishevelled and by Friday it was seriously feral. Now, by doing small tidy-ups every night (and even some mornings before work) the house looks clean and tidy all week long. I love it! And then come the weekend I have freed myself up about four hours, so now I don’t mind getting into the garden again.

One change to my routine and I started to feel organised again. Secondly I decided it was time to make another change to my work/life balance. I have mentioned before that I have worked fulltime for 23 years. Twenty. Three. Years. 23. But don’t worry, semi-retirement planning is already in effect, and I won’t be a 65 year old new-retiree I can tell you that much! Where my husband will happily work until old age I have too many hobbies I would like to indulge in. And sometime soon.

It’s ironic that Valentine’s Day, the day we profess our undying love to our beloved, marked the first day of my loving myself that little bit more. Effective this week I have reduced my working week from five days to four and a half days. Half a day you might think, meh, that’s not much. But it is to this 23-years-fulltime-working mama! A day whereby I get to ferry my child to school commitments for the first half (he attends a program out of his normal school for one morning a week - I love the ferrying bit, very novel for a fulltime working mama) and I get to work from home in the space that I love most for the second half. This just fills my heart with joy.

Today on my first morning of school-ferrying duties, I had one hour in between ferrying. One hour, on a Tuesday, during the day, to do with what I wanted. I walked into the local mall BEAMING! A trip to Medicare to claim on a receipt I have had for a month (which cannot be claimed online), a trip to Dymocks to finally claim my Dymocks points for receipts from six months back (resulting in $36 credit, thanks for coming) and a trip to Myer to stock up on face love stuff. This might seem like fairly everyday stuff us mums do, but for me to be doing this at 10am on a Tuesday is just unheard of. Beaming.

I often talk about taking action if you're unhappy with something. I enjoy my job, I have poured my heart and soul and lots of time into the company, and I do love it. But what I love more is my home. And being able to devote one extra day each week to being in my favourite space is just a dream come true. Even if I am working.

Happy Valentine’s Day Self. Best Valentine’s Day present ever.


  1. Fantastic Peggy! I love that you have put it all into action and are already reaping the rewards of happiness. You are an inspiration.
    ENJOY your half day, I haven't doubt you'll make the most of it.

    1. Thank you Nat. I often do things to help others and have recently realised I need to help me too. :) It feels good taking care of me sometimes.

      I had a ball today, really loved it! And Monday night felt like Friday all over again knowing I didn't have to get ready to go into the office the next morning.

  2. I can smell the scones from here Peggy!!! Sounds like you had a fab day. Bet you cant wait until next Tuesday.

    1. Funnily enough I forgot about the scones! I did have a fab day, it was lovely being at home. Feels weird being excited about Mondays, but I am now knowing I have the next day at home!

  3. Good on you for making such a simple change that makes such a difference to your week & your life. I can relate, but for me it is the other way around. Because I was a full time mum for 4 years & really itching to get my hands into some work again, my hubby arranged his work hours a year ago so he fits all his hours into 4 days & has one day at home with the kids, so I can work (from home) for one day. The first day he was home with the kids & I was free to go to the computer & edit for a full day, I just couldn't believe it! It felt like a holiday, I drank my coffee while it was still hot, I was watching the rain outside... bliss. I know 4 years isn't much compared to your 23 years, but when you have been doing the same thing for a long time, just a tiny change makes a big difference doesn't it.


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