Making me tired

HAVING recently wound back my work hours, I’m discovering the guilty pleasures of daytime TV, of doing nothing in particular and resting afterwards.

Of course, I should be writing my novel (the reason I requested less work) but for the first fortnight, I’ve indulged myself with hot baths and face masks.

It’s some long overdue “me” time – which in reality still requires me to write half a novel.

But, if you haven’t yet spotted my apologetic tone, I feel out of sync with the rest of the female population.

Everywhere, my female friends are expanding their work hours and taking up additional projects. It makes my four-day working week seem superfluous.

Going back to full-time work when you’re a single mother of two is bad enough, but another friend – a new mum – is about to continue her Masters while going back to work and is in the thick of selling her house. I get tired just thinking about it.

I remember once interviewing one outstanding woman who pumped out a book per year while single-handedly raising a child.

And her books are huge – they require overseas research, no less.

My paltry work is still only half the size of hers and I’ve been working for three years.

So is it any wonder I’m feeling incredibly guilty? I have no children, I’m not studying and I’m only working four days a week.

It’s getting difficult to validate my new and much slower routine when others around me are angling for superwoman status.

Thankfully, a recent article has revealed my gambit will ward off that hideous Hurried Woman Syndrome (I’m not making this up) that is plaguing the 21st Century female.

HWS suggests women struggle with the desire to simultaneously work, raise children, pursue extra-curricular activities, stay fit and have a great social life.

Is it any wonder we’re exhausted?

But the hippie attitudes of my elder brother have finally started to seep in.

“It’s all about mind, body and spirit,” he crooned. Well, actually, he said it just before yelling at his son to put some clothes on.

Anyway, I took a deep breath and made the decision to work less.

So far it’s been good – apart from the guilt, which really comes with the Catholicism territory.

But the centenary celebrations of women winning the right to vote may be an apt moment to realise that by having the opportunity to “have it all” doesn’t necessarily mean we have to do it all.

It’s good in theory, but the guest speaker for an upcoming women’s business breakfast in Ipswich, Dr Heather Beattie, has been chosen because she’s a “busy working mother”.

More power to her, but I hope she has a message on chilling out.

It’s obviously a lesson much required by the modern woman.

Not to mention it would make me feel a whole lot better about my decision to slow down.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. tamaraboynton
    May 14, 2009 @ 03:18:54

    I can seriously relate! How many times have I sat down to write the novel…only to find something better to do- facials, bubble baths, manicures. LOL. I have slowed down tremendously and I must say I am much happier for it. I didn’t realize how much I was doing until I was “fired”. That made me not want to do anything else…some called it depression… I called it relief. All of my extra-curricular activities were related to my job. I saw a picture of me right before I was let go from the job and a picture right after; it was crazy how rested and happy I looked, post employment. The first picture had bags under my eyes, hair was a mess and even my nails looked unhealthy. You deserve the little “me time” you are taking, just don’t neglect the book too long or you will be like me, still working on it.


    • petajo
      May 19, 2009 @ 02:57:42

      Thanks – these are actually outdated columns, I’m now a stay-at-home mum and still trying to knock out a second book around part-time work (and everything else!). Though I entirely understand your perspective – I think I’m a much happier, less stressed person with my new situation too!


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