Category Archives: Stress

Getting ready for tomorrow

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I didn’t realise it is Friday 13th until almost the end of the day. I was trying to justify why things weren’t going as smoothly as they should. Just excuses, it’s easier than say I’m exhausted, lost my focus, ran out of patience and can’t do a lot of things I am trying to do.

The girls’ party is tomorrow. It’s all sorted in my head, but truth is, I don’t know if I can put it all together in an hour. It’s how long we have in the hall before kids start arriving. And this is the UK, people do arrive on time. 

I’ve been working on everything individually, not thinking how things will look good together. I do have a rough sketch of how the main table should look like, just to help on the day. 

It will all be good, it will all be great, but I can’t wait for it to be over.

Where do the hours go?

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It’s been nearly a month since I stopped working and I’m still having mixed feelings. If on one hand I am loving being able to go to my daughter’s school in the middle of the morning to watch her dancing for Sports Relief, or go to talks about math, or spend some time clearing accumulated mess around the house, on the other I am not enjoying the lack of structure, rigid plans and sense of being productive.

Mondays, for example, are the days to tidy up and clean the house from the weekend with family at home. This is what I’ve done today. I am also sorting last details for our trip to Florida – basically printing whatever important document we need to take with us, putting everything in a folder so we have everything easy to access, etc. And I started packing; 75% done, I would say. I am also looking at venues for the girls’ joint birthday party – calling venues, checking costs and availability. I called and wrote to a few, but no success so far. I also washed and dried clothes, twice. And now the day is gone. Just like that.

While some people would say it was quite a productive day, for me it wasn’t much really. I read the posts I wrote a few weeks back and the sentiment is the same of not being productive, of feeling I’m not doing enough. The main difference is that I am not killing myself now. I can do stuff during the week, so I don’t have to freak out on the weekends. I am yet to come to terms with this new life; I’m yet to stop judging myself and realise that this new life is a good life, not a waste of time. Taking it easy is not a bad thing, is it? If I wasn’t happy before, I am doing the right thing and trying to slow down. Am I? So why doesn’t it feel good?

The main objective was to take March off, to recover from all the years of sleepless nights, all the anxiety, all the stress, all the manic routine. Yet, I didn’t take one single nap during the day since I stopped working. This is the one thing I was missing the most since I had children: being able to take a nap after lunch on the weekends. I can now, during the week. But I feel like I’m being watched (by whom? God?) and being judged for wasting precious time that I could have been… working? cleaning? cooking?

I won’t lie. I had so many plans for this period: learn another language, another skill, exercise, sort all the mess around the house, meet all my friends that are not working or are working from home, talk to people, stop shopping online and go to the supermarket. I have done very little of those and I have no energy to. I could blame it on the weather (and I partially will), I just can’t get myself to get out of the house. I can’t. Too cold, too grey outside. Inside is so much nicer.

We will soon be off on holidays and when I’m back I will have to have my life sorted out, even if just planning the routine. Either that, or I will soon start looking for a job.

 

Goodbye, 2015!

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Goodness, another year gone. I’m glad 2015 is coming to an end, but it is scary to see how time is flying.

I love lists and I love going through all the things that happened in the year, the good, the bad and the ugly. Most of all, I love planning the year ahead.

2015 was the year of sad news, dear people being diagnosed with terminal diseases, friends dying much sooner than they should. On a positive note, babies were born and, with them, hope in humankind is renewed.

We had a bad experience with holidays. After over a year since we had a decent break, our trip to Italy was a nightmare. Starting with an expired passport and the cancelation of the first week in Tuscany. We managed to spend a week in Jesolo, which was a bit “meh”. I love Italy, so not bad, but it wasn’t great either. On a positive note, although we weren’t entitled to any refund for the cancelation, the lady at the hotel in Tuscany took pity on us and managed to give us part of the money back. So Tuscany is back in the list of places to visit! And because they were super nice, I’ll leave the name of the hotel here, for future reference and in case you are interested: Villa Mazzanta.

Someone broke into our house, just as we returned from holidays. The signs are still around the house, reminding us that we are not safe anywhere, not even in our own houses. On a positive note, nothing was taken other than some cash.

I started and stopped Pilates. I had great results, but it was a nightmare to leave the house and as soon as I got back from the class, all the pain would be back. I am in a lot of pain but have been postponing going to a GP. I have finally booked an appointment… for tonight!

I didn’t read much this year. Got stuck in a John Grisham book for almost the whole of 2015 (The Brethren), but finally finished before the end of the year. On the other hand, I read The Circle, by Dave Eggers, in a couple of nights.

I didn’t even tried to lose weight properly in 2015. I did track what I was eating on My Fitness Pal, but that was it. I didn’t try to exercise either. It’s just way too hard to try to find time, to negotiate who will stay with the kids, to have to beg to have some “me time”. Things at home weren’t great this year and I confess: instead of fighting, I gave up.

And because life is like a football match, I managed to score a few goals at the very last minute of the year. My resignation, as you all know by now, is the main one. I cut coffee for for about 6 weeks now (although in the past week I had a few decafs) and sugar (for 3-4 weeks, I’m back to it until the new year).  But the little things I am the happiest about are all related to the house. I’ll write a separate post about them another time.

I think this is a good summary of 2015: the year I gave up. So I’m glad it is going away and a brand new shiny year is coming to the rescue.

Goodbye, 2015. Welcome, 2016! Have a great start of year, everyone. See you on the other side.

Jobless

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I am not yet unemployed (three months notice period, still a couple of months to go), but I feel unemployed. I think this is the first time I’m dreading the notice period and can’t stand another minute of it. I’m usually very professional and try to keep the same standard of work as if I wasn’t going to leave, but this time is different.

Maybe because I’m going nowhere (yet), because I don’t know what I want to do, what I will do… it feels like this notice period is taking up precious time of holidays and me-time. It doesn’t help that it is also winter and energy levels are so low.

Why the heck did I resign? Well, four years in the same place, doing the same job, without perspective of growth or changing just bores me. I rather do the same thing for four years in four different jobs than stay in the same place for that long. Yet I stayed and now it’s time to go.

Why the heck didn’t I find a new job first? Because I need a break. I need to figure out what I will do, what I want to do, what I can do. I might recycle my knowledge, I might try to learn something new, I might just spend some time with the girls and in the house. I feel like a teenager facing a life changing decision: get a job or go to uni? What career to choose?

The main mistake we do when we “choose” our path is to think that we have to keep going on the same path forever. I consider myself lucky enough to be given the opportunity to stop, think and resume. I might not change anything, but at least I had a choice. I do feel slightly uncomfortable to have a professional conflict at this stage in life, especially when I have a feeling deep inside that there is nothing out there – professionally, I mean – that inspires me or that I have a gift for. I have lots of hobbies, but as soon as I think about a hobby as a way of life, it puts me off.

So until February, I will carry on with the office work, while trying to find some inspiration elsewhere. Then, it’s just time to research a bit and see where I can fit in this world. As I said, I might change nothing and end up in the same place (well, same sort of job but different company at least), but at least I had some reflection time.

January: the bad and the ugly

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The previous post was about the positives of January (“the good”), but I would be lying if I said that it was all pink flowers in January and it was an easy month. January in the northern hemisphere is never easy – unless you live in Florida.

Anyhoo, lots of really bad nights with my little angels, which made me really moody. The vitamin D doesn’t seem to be as effective as before and I still have bone/muscle pain all over.

I’ve been eating like a pig and all sorts of bad stuff: Nutella, chocolate, cheese, bread, pasta… I know that, in moderation, these are not bad, but these are all I have been eating. Needless to say that I’m putting on weight… again.

I also get very affected by others’ bad news. Some people close to me went through some tough moments in January and I can feel the heartburns from my worries for others’ problems.

I’m still struggling to find the right balance between home and work and I’m letting one interfere with the other. I have loads of plans and ideas but very little will power to get moving. Energy levels are at the minimum here.

The biggest fail of January, though, is my bedtime. I mean, the time I go to bed. Only twice before 11pm (once was 10:55pm, the other just after 10pm), but most of the time just after midnight. I wake up at 6:15am, with the girls waking me up in the middle of the night at least once (2am, 3.30am, 4.30, 5am). I keep telling myself that I should go to bed at 9 or 10pm maximum, but I find it absurdly hard. Today, for example, the girls went to bed at 8pm. I was getting mentally prepared to sleep at 10pm, but then decided to organise the dining room (the table is finally clutter-free!!), clean the kitchen, tidy up the toys, prepare Laura’s school back, have a shower – don’t forget the cream – and finish this post. If I’m lucky, I’ll sleep before 11pm.

I know what I need to do to change things – but I’m not always happy with the solution, or I’m too lazy to start, or I’m too confused with where to go.

So, welcome, February, I have a few plans for you.

Check me out: I’m a tidy dining table.IMG_2930
This weekend I spent a couple of hours changing the girls bedroom a bit. Guess what’s the theme? Yeah, Lerigo.IMG_2912
After trying three different set ups, we settle with bed near the radiator (far from the door), cheat of drawers against the wall, leaving a little gap for the book shelf (we don’t want to nail it to the wall, so it needs to be safe from falling, as Beatrice climbs on it). I still need to remove some old stickers, but my nails and finger tips were too sore from peeling off wall stickers.IMG_2915
I’m thinking about getting a storage bench I’ve seen at Ikea, that can also act as a little stage. They love performing for us. I also ordered some snowflakes stickers for this wall (the idea was to paint the top half blue, but it won’t happen anytime
soon). Also planning to frame this poster. The bottom half was going to be to hang their own art, but I need to teach Beatrice to be less of a destroyer.IMG_2924
The best thing about the new decor is that Laura now wants to keep her bed tidy and she makes the bed!IMG_2911

It’s just a phase, they say

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This morning, Laura had a “fit”. Screaming at us, being aggressive (as in punching me), grinding her teeth, etc. It was out of the blue – apparently she woke up fine but her mood changed like the weather in the UK.

We think it was a bit of jealousy because Beatrice was in our bed. It doesn’t make sense to me because Beatrice is ALWAYS in our bed when Laura comes in the mornings.

This terrible twos are lasting a couple of years now, but if on one hand it is a pain to deal with it, on the other it seems slightly easier as she is now a child that can communicate her feelings (even when screaming her lungs out) and expresses herself almost clearly. And maybe because of that, I find it even more frustrating to deal with these crisis. “For god’s sake, I am trying to talk to you, to give you options, to calm you down, to play with you so why the heck can’t you just stop and understand?!?” That’s the feeling.

In the last two, three weeks I found myself trying to convince two friends not to have kids. Yes, you read it correctly. The two are 35+ and although their biological clocks are not ticking, they have that mentality of “shit, if I don’t have kids now, I might regret in the future”. So, they DON’T want to have kids now. They are only scared they might be too old when they decide to have kids and then be too late. I don’t know about you but I think this is just wrong. Kids are not a walk in the park – and I can tell you that before having them, I thought it was and now I can see that it is a walk in the park when it’s pouring down with rain, dark and cold and very chaotic; it’s like when I went to Reading festival to see Pearl Jam: I absolutely loved the show, but all the previous bands, the mud, the weirdos and the travel to and from were so painful… Honestly, if you get to 42 and you decide that you want to have a kid and you are ready to have a kid, adopt one! Being a parent is not about giving birth (some women don’t even like the experience). And you might get to 42 and realise that you are happy without kids. Parents will probably say that they can’t imagine their lives without their children, and it’s true that it’s such a life changing experience and all the love that you feel for those little creatures cannot be put into words, yadda yadda, but you can’t miss what you don’t have, eh? If you are happy without kids, why would you miss having them at all? One of these friends I was talking about, spent two weeks with a friend who has a kid and she is now having second thoughts about having her own… it was too noisy for her.

Back to the tantrums… sometimes I just don’t know what to do. The manual says not to shout, not to slap,
not to punish, not to bribe, not to threaten, not to put in naughty corners, to put in naughty corners, to walk away and let the child be, not
to walk away… The manual says to be calm, talk softly but firmly (don’t even know what the heck it means), smile and be understanding, sing and twirl like a fairy, sing Let it go… there is a lot of dos and don’ts that not always make sense – or they always make sense but they contradict each other;
does it make sense?

But most of the time, the key is to be consistent. Apparently. Life with a child should be a repetition, on and on and on and on, the same thing. Same waking up times, bath time, meal times, sleep times… kids like to know what’s coming next, what to expect. And maybe this is where we are failing. We do try to keep things consistent but life hasn’t been that easy these days. Being on maternity leave, traveling to Brazil for 6 weeks, going back to work, family around for 8 months, one goes another one comes, Laura’s friends leaving pre-school, no ballet for a while… I have to say that it has been hard to keep a routine, for them and for us, and I wonder if this is playing its part in the sporadic tantrums. If it is, hopefully things will get better from September, when school starts.

Or maybe it’s just a phase and we will have to deal with it until they are 18.

Going back to work

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It happened before. I spent one year on maternity leave and when I get back, it’s all new. It happened in 2011 and it’s happening in 2014. My boss changed back then; I have a new boss now. The super big boss was gone by the time I got back in 2011; the super big boss (which is the same, by the way) is leaving 10 days after I return to work in June.

I’m going back to work mid-June. Am I ready? No. Am I excited? Yes. Scared? Yes. Depressed? Yes. Don’t try to understand, because I don’t either. In the ideal world, I would work part-time, I would have some time for myself – a couple of hours would do, and I would spend some time with my kids without being all rush-rush to bathe-feed-put to bed. But my world is not ideal yet, so I will go back to work, check what’s going on there and see if I can find some answers to questions that have been keeping me awake.

Sadly, Beatrice won’t attend the same nursery that Laura went to, which I loved. It’s close to work, I can get there in 5 minutes if needed. It might be a sign that I can change jobs easily if I want to. Or work from home once a week, like in the good old days. I’m sure there are positive sides to it, but at the moment I’m very sad because the alternatives don’t please me. And I don’t have much time to look for options; it’s only two months until I go back to work.

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On top of this dilemma of where to put Beatrice so I can go back to work, I’m also torturing myself with Laura’s new school schedule from September. She will have 6 weeks summer holidays, then another 5 weeks of half terms and an extra week between Christmas and New Year’s. Who has 12 weeks holidays a year?!?! Luckily, there are after school and summer clubs, but still…

 
I’m dreading to leave these two…
 

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