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Status: Drafting the fourth book in the PERILOUS series!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Butter scraped across too much bread

Or something like that.

I'm doing too much.

I realized that over the past two days. Every day I teach ESL classes before my children wake up. I've been doing this for years and it's a part of my life. Sometimes I tired, but I can usually take naps during the day to make up for it.

But then I decided to do preschool twice a week with my child and some friends, often in my own house. I figured this was important for Jacen and good for me to have time off. I didn't count on the stress of planning lessons, doing crafts, trying to get several 3 and 4 year olds to pay attention to me.

And then I decided to start substitute teaching on my 'days off.' Or afternoons off. (Like today, I have preschool before noon and sub at the high school after that.) Just one more thing. No big deal, a few hours a week, a few extra dollars.

I was doing fine. Until I offered to babysit a friend's kids for two days a week for a month.

That was the final straw for me. I didn't think it would be a big deal. I thought it would be fine. But when she gave me the wrong schedule and I spent 30 minutes waiting at the enormous daycare for her son to come out (with four kids in the car), and then her daughter forgot her ballet stuff so I couldn't take her to class, and then her kids complained about what we had for dinner and wanted desert, I began to feel a little stressed. That was Tuesday.

Yesterday her class at the university got out late, causing her to miss the bus. Then her phone was turned down too low, so she didn't hear mine or DH's phone calls. At 9:30pm, I was trying to figure out if I should call the police or bunk the kids down for the night or both.

When she finally came and picked her kids up, I told her I couldn't do it anymore.

I felt awful saying this. I really did. I know she was relying on me, and I had told her I could do it. But I COULDN'T. I went to bed in tears because I was so stressed. It shouldn't have been too much for me, but it was.

Preschool's next. We're about to drop out.

And then goes subbing. I just want to be home.

Today I am exhausted, relieved, and feeling very guilty. I feel like a bad mom/friend. Or something.

Moral of the story: JUST SAY NO.

21 comments:

M. Gray said...

Oh my goodness, Tamara. That is way too much!!! This is all without your drive for reading and writing!! Don't feel bad. You need to protect yourself so you can be a sane mom.

Jen said...

Wow just reading it stressed me out so you shouldn't feel guilty you have to know what you're capable of and you found out that was too much! Take a break and take time for yourself after all that work you deserve it. I know that you feel irresponsible for letting that person down but in a way didn't she do the same? It's a tough situation to handle but when things go longer than what was originally discussed it's okay to say No... though I too am not very good at it.

Talli Roland said...

I'm impressed you held it together for as long as you did! You did as much as you could - and more - so don't feel bad. Sometimes you need to take care of you and your family. Have a good sleep and take some time to relax.

Crystal Cook said...

It is so hard to say no! I feel for you, you have just described some of the most stressful things in my life!

Don't feel bad, everyone has limits. I'm sure your friend will understand :)

Elisa said...

You forgot to mention that you are also writing several books at the same time. Oh, and that you are trying to get some exercise so that lil baby #3 doesn't pile on faster than necessary. Oh, and trying to rest and relax before said baby arrives. So. Yeah, if it were me I would feel bad for cancelling on a friend (sounds like she is trying to go back to school?), but only for about a night.By now you should feel tons of relief. I'm surprised she asked you. She must not have known how full your life already is. I put sanity and joy pretty high up there on my "to do" list. So if simplifying your schedule will help you fill it with more "living", then start scratching things off the calendar!!!

sarahjayne smythe said...

It's ok to say no. I know we're conditioned to think it's not, but it is. IF you don't say no at some point, you end up fried and worthless. So props to you for being sane enough to say no. :)

Mary Aalgaard said...

Here's the thing. You need to accept your limitations. You are NOT supermom, and you do not have to run yourself ragged. If you do too much, you don't do anything well. Good for you for saying no, eventually. Take care of yourself so that you can take care of others.

Voidwalker said...

Yeah, sounds like you just nickle and dimed yourself with responsibilities. Don't worry, you'll be back to helping your friends. Just ease into it and know your limits :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Make sure you take care of yourself! Everyone suffers if you're not getting taken care of. You just can't do it all. It's impossible. Sounds like letting the babysitting thing go was a really good idea. Take the rest one step at a time and remember to breathe!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

thank you guys for the encouraging words! You helped me get out of my guilt trip, LOL.

Tomorrow's a new day. Fresh start.

Melanie J said...

Oh, I so relate to this feeling of being overwhelmed, especially when pregnant. I did way better scaling back on the commitments this pregnancy and it was soooo much better.

Solvang Sherrie said...

Don't feel guilty. If you don't take care of you then you can't take care of your family. And much as we'd like to be able to do it all, it's an unrealistic expectation. Do what's most important for you and your family and let the rest go. It's been a hard lesson for me to learn too.

Ralene said...

I recently went through a similar purge, so I know exactly how you feel. But it's important now, even more than usual, that you aren't overly stressed and stretched too thin. You have several life-changing events in your near future...baby, novel, etc. Better to ease off and prepare for those than to be in even worse shape later on. You know? *big hugs*

Amber said...

I totally agree with Elisa (and everybody else), Tamara. You're doing so much! I don't know how you do it with 2 kids!! PLUS take care of a house and a husband and everything else. Just breathe!! Honestly, I'm ready to be done with GG in the morning...but we gotta wait til we get our website up and running.
good luck to you! Saying "no" is hard.

Ann Best said...

I remember as a young mother how I had such a difficult time saying no. I thought I had to do everything. But you can't, and you're learning. Your friend sounds like the straw that broke your back. You did indeed have too much to handle. p.s. About time I came in here and became your follower especially since we're both contracted by the same publishing company. Hello!!!

Simon C. Larter said...

Yup. Somewhere in there, you have to find the time to write, too. Sleep loss is usually the way to find that time, but that doesn't help unless you can drink coffee...

The guilt will decrease in time. The relief will stick around for a while. Good for you, good lady.

Kate said...

In light of the post I just published about this same thing, I have to say, ""Tis the season!"

Dianna said...

I took a baby sitting job while I was pregnant with Paul. I watched a 1 year old girl at my house. You would think it was no big deal considering I had a 1 year old myself. How hard can it be right? Wrong! Having an extra kid (that isn't your own) is extremely hard but even worse is communicating with the parents. "Oh... I thought you weren't coming until 2:00, I just spent 45 minutes getting her to go down for a nap. She's been asleep for 5 minutes." or "Gee, I told my friends we'd meet at the park for a play date at noon. Our lunch is packed, sunscreen is on, we're ready to go. You said you'd be here at 11:30, its now 3:00, when are you coming to pick up your child?" Every day there was some type of miscommunication. Even though I was making great money doing it, I told her I had to quit after 4 months.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Dianna--argh!!! that's like exactly what was happening! You lasted four months??? I lasted two weeks!

Kate--I haven't checked blogs in days. you too, huh? yeah, it's the season!

Ann--of course I know who you are! Mary talks about you! Great to have you here at my blog!

Amber--you're done w/ GG, huh? that's the probably the one thing I'll keep forever. what website? when?

Ralene--thanks for the hugs. It's totally the season.

Thanks Melanie, Solvang, and Simon!!! You guys are great!

Cozy in Texas said...

Congrats on the publication. As the saying goes, if you want something done, ask a busy person. I stopped by your blog today.
Ann
Ann Summerville
Cozy In Texas

*LLUVIA* said...

You know, last year, while pregnant and unemployed, two of my neighbors asked if I could babysit for them. Their kids were 6,5, and 10. I was sort of hesitant because I had never taken care of three children all at once. Luckily, my husband was all...'NO!' So, I told them no. Later I found out through their new babysitter that they don't even pay her! They just buy her things like a bottle of wine or coupons for this place or that restaurant! wow...!

No thank you!

Looks like you piled up way too much! Don't feel guilty! You're not a super human.

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