Sunday, October 2, 2011

The exhaustion sets in

I know I whine a lot lately about how busy I am and how tired I get. I'm even finding myself insufferable. I want to smack myself lightly about the head and tell myself to suck it up. Lots of women have full-time jobs and take care of kids by themselves; compared to a bunch of kids, taking care of Mom is easy.

But the truth is that I'm worn out almost all the time. A lot of it is probably stress. Some of it's pure physical exhaustion, especially the last few weeks when we were packing/moving/unpacking/cleaning the old house. Some of it's lack of sleep, since I'm one of those people who needs a full eight hours every night, and quite often I don't get that much lately. And, of course, there's the added detail of trying to keep up my writing career (such as it is) while also working full-time and being sole caregiver of my mother after her stroke.

So today, despite my best intentions, I fell down on the writing job. I just could not make myself do one thing with words. Instead, I did some cooking, some cleaning, wrote out checks for the monthly bills, went grocery shopping, watched some TV with Mom (who was feeling very bad today, which further stressed me out), and finally gave up entirely and picked up a Georgette Heyer murder mystery to read. Now it's about 8:30pm and I'm about to go to bed--not to read, but to hopefully fall asleep. I'm too tired to read, and it makes me feel guilty.

I promise this will be the only complaining post for the entire month of October. I have used up my quota! Tomorrow I will be little ms. sunshine. Assuming I can get to sleep now.


Chadwicked said...

Don't force yourself to be "Lil' Miss Sunshine" . . . remember that life is. Writing is a passion and a task, the monotony of everyday life reminds us of who we are, and sadness is as enriching as happiness. Accept life and you'll sleep soundly.

Diana said...

Taking care of a child is different from taking care of an aging parent. With a child, one knows that eventually the child will grow up and take care of themselves. With a parent, we're reminded that they aren't going to live forever. And while your mom is getting better and can recover most if not all of her health, it is still a constant reminder that one day she will go. Maybe you don't think about it, but it is still there lurking in the recesses of your mind and that is stressful.

So cut yourself some slack and take some time to chill out and not do anything. You might even consider blocking out a set time for you to do nothing.

And if you want to know the secret of being a single parent and having a full time job and not being tired all the time or going bat sh*t crazy, I can't tell you because I'm STILL tired and my son is 27, and I really don't know why I am not in a mental institution. :)

K.C. Shaw said...

Chadwicked--Well, it must have worked because I slept very soundly last night. Thanks for the kind words.

Diana--Kids are a lot more work than adults, though. At least, I think they are--I don't have kids. But you're right, there are added stressors from taking care of an aging parent. Today, for instance, Mom just doesn't feel well. There's nothing I can do to help her, and by staying home from work this morning I have added stress that I'm using up what little annual leave I accrued from last month. Ugh, what a situation.

Diana said...

I guess I wasn't clear. It's not the physical work, it's the emotional environment that is the stressor. I have a kid and I have an 80 year old mom. I've taken care of both of them when they have been sick and it's different.

When my son was sick, I was supposed to take care of him because I'm the mom and that's what moms do; take care of their kids.

When my mom was sick, I took care of her because that's what daughters are supposed to do when their mom gets sick. But there is also this underlying feeling that one might not even be aware of: "Moms don't get sick. Kids do. Mom is supposed to take care of me, not me take care of her. Oh no, she's not going to leave me, is she?"

So today your mom doesn't feel well and there isn't anything you can do to help her, and that just adds a feeling of helplessness on top of everything else that you've identified.

Don't beat yourself up for being tired all the time, it would be more worrisome if you were bouncing around singing "You are my sunshine." THAT would be weird.

If you can do something which makes you laugh or at least smile, I think it will help. Personally, I watch the drunk monkeys on youtube. Maru is also good for a mood lifter. :)

Diana said...

You are also right that whining all the time about how tired you are doesn't help you. So I fully support the whine only once a month and the rest of the time focus on the positives plan.

I don't support the beat yourself up for being tired plan. ;)

K.C. Shaw said...

Ah, I see what you mean. It is weird how our roles have reversed, me and Mom. It just kills me when I'm upset about something (and trying to hide it from her) and she asks me if I'm okay.

She's feeling better now, so I'm feeling better too.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry, I've been out of the loop and hadn't heard about your mother. I think you're amazing. Caring for somebody takes more strength and endurance than anybody realizes, especially if they need more care than usual.

Sometimes writing has to take a back seat. I'm finally getting back on the horse after everything that has happened, and it's been months and months! I believe in you, woo hoo! :D


K.C. Shaw said...

Aw, thanks! I have been able to get some writing done, but not as much as I'd like.