The sleep (or lack of) factor
I must confess with hubby away at sea at the moment, I’m hardly sleeping. My battery is running on low and I’ve gone from being a night owl to needing to be more of a morning person, with three girls at two different schools and then somehow still be functioning around midnight most nights for blogging events and the nights that my eldest requires picking up from her part-time after school job.
Those in the know would know that sleep is always fairly elusive as far as I’m concerned but it’s worse, much worse, with hubby away (sleep walking my way UP).
At the moment, I seem to have two sleep styles. I either head to bed around 2 to 3 am and I’m up around 6.30 am with the girls or I… actually there’s very little sleep involved in the second style, so it is hardly worth mentioning.
With or without the sleep factor, trying to find balance and keep the chaos under some sort of control on all fronts is always a challenge. Without the sleep though, I’m quickly losing sight of the bigger picture and I’ve been looking for signs that I’m on the right track and to justify the chaos that I constantly find myself in.
The whole juggling act that comes with being an entrepreneurial mother to three girls and having a hubby away constantly (with no contact) for up to a month at a time, certainly goes to the next level with Telstra Perth Fashion Festival (TPFF) events added to the mix. Probably the main reason, I only accepted media accreditation for the one show this year. Especially when I don’t have a support or backup crew locally to help out when things go wrong and other issues are added to the equation.
While that one TPFF show did include access to the VIP tent, a glass or two of bubbly with an opportunity to catch up with and support my designer and blogging friends as well as sitting front row for the show, it is actually work for me. A whole lot of fun as well but work all the same.
This year, when I pitched for the one show, knowing that two of the designers I’m working with next month were showcasing, I had no idea that hubby would be at sea or that my middle daughter (almost 16) would be presenting at her netball end of year social. None.
This all came to light, late last week. Throw into the mix my youngest (14) at a birthday party and my eldest (17) at her part-time job and it took a whole lot of juggling for me to keep to my work commitments with things getting more chaotic than they should ever be on the home front.
It still baffles me that I couldn’t find at least one person from my daughter’s netball team or club that would drive five minutes out of their way to collect her and get her to the event on time, while I was on the other side of the city. BUT I did try and just as things looked more than sorted they would fall apart again but after a lot of juggling and a last minute SOS to a family friend, I headed off to work feeling on top of things for once this week.
On top of the world to Chaos in 10 SMSs or less
That was relatively short lived. Instead of sitting down and watching the show and taking a truck load of photos and notes, with my media accreditation commitments and October event in mind… I was front row, with a show under way, receiving distress flare style SMSs from my daughter at home.
The (last minute) lift we had arranged for her to get to her netball presentation hadn’t arrived. Her event had already started and panic mode was setting in. Not a life or death situation as far as I was concerned (my daughter would scream otherwise) but still something that I needed to be on top of, with my daughter’s safety and well-being the main priority.
While the venue was less than 10 minutes drive away at a beach side hotel and a cab could have been an easy option, the whole sending a teen off, dressed to the nines, with a complete stranger didn’t sit right with me, it actually had me feeling ill at ease.
The other option, had we known in time our lift wasn’t available, was for my three girls to walk down to the beach together (30 minutes), drop Miss 15 off and then walk home but again… and feel free to call me over protective… it just didn’t sit right. Especially given the time of night, the area and the drug and alcohol issues we’ve already experienced. But as it was and given the event had already commenced, that issue was no longer an option.
Thirty minutes and ten or so SMSs later, our friend finally arrived, leaving her son’s sporting presentation (that she had completely forgotten about when initially saying a yes to my SOS request for help) to help us out which had her missing the actual moment her son received his award. Thankfully the moment in question was filmed by her husband but didn’t I feel like complete and utter crap, when she broke that news the following day.
I kept thinking… wouldn’t it be nice if hubby and myself could have been at our own daughter’s presentation (filming or not) and why on earth am I putting work before family once again and why is hubby always missing in action (with work) when I have so much on.
Given the show was only 45 minutes long and I’d spent the first half of the show distracted and in a mad panic…. it was a relief to have everything fall into place but I was well and truly over it. I very rarely ask for help and things need to be rather desperate or work related if I do and things inevitably go pear shaped. Without fail.
There’s a lesson in this but am I ready to learn?
So while I’m getting better at saying ‘no’, keeping in mind I only put my hand up for one TPFF show, it would seem I now need to work on the areas of asking for help and finding a local support group I can rely on occasionally in the process.
I’m not sure why, possibly to do with the 22 moves and always being the new person on the block but even when things are bad, really bad, I generally find it hard to ask for help. My girls do to. The whole fly in fly out (FIFO) or in our case sail in sail out lifestyle has taken a lot of getting use to, there have been some advantages but for the most part it just adds to a whole lot of chaos and limitations to our family.
I also had a rather bad health scare soon into hubby being away. It was at the end of his second trip away, when I collapsed at home, hit my head on the way down and popped a shoulder. I’d been in the laundry putting on shoes to go grab the groceries for the week because the cupboards were bare and I was in a bad state and not going anywhere.
In hindsight and given that I was most certainly concussed and needed medical attention due to the fact I’d collapsed in the first place, an ambulance should have been called but then what happens to the girls with no one here to look after them?
As it was the girls eventually helped me into bed, where I stayed in a pain relief induced haze, for the most part, until hubby returned almost 4 days later. They lived on 2 minute noodles and not much else. As unhealthy as that sounds, it was a case of being the only thing, other than toast they could cook easily at the time, it was also one of the few pantry staples in the house (yes I know how unhealthy they are).
They were a lot younger back in those days, we were still relatively new to Perth and the one person that they would have felt comfortable phoning to help was overseas.
Yes we do have family on the other side of the country, just a phone call away, but it’s the whole inconvenience and cost factor that comes into play. I don’t like to inconvenience or add to anyone else’s chaos. Which is inadvertently what I ended up doing in the end, so I could meet my work commitments on Saturday evening. Which is why I finished last week and I’m starting this week feeling like
absolute crap I’m running on empty and I’m in the running for the worst mother in the world.
There is light (and a lot of positivity) at the end of the tunnel though and this is through my Business Mamas‘ diploma and the new, slightly improved direction my business will take as a result but that’s for a whole different blog post. What I will say is that the flexibility that comes with doing an online course, especially one like Business Mamas, which also comes with a truck load of individual support and guidance, really takes the pressure off when there is so much pressure to start with.
For now, it’s back to the sleep factor… are you a morning person, a night owl or something in between? Do you have any tips to help me get a better night’s sleep? Do you have a great support network when life goes pear shaped?