Are you exhausted from working too much PLUS being a mother?
I know how you feel!
I have experienced the extreme of being a busy working mother in Tokyo.
This was my typical schedule:
- 6:00 – wake up with my children
- 6:30 – feed my children breakfast, change their clothes, dress myself
- 7:00 – leave the house
- 7:30 – arrive nursery school
- 8:00 – leave nursery school (it takes about 30min to prepare all the towels, bibs, nappies, etc. at the Japanese nursery schools plus allow a few minutes to say goodbye to my kids.)
- 8:30 – catch train
- 9:00 – arrive office
- 5:30 – leave office
- 6:00 – pick up my kids from nursery school
- 6:45 – arrive home
- 7:00 – prepare dinner
- 7:30 – feed my kids dinner
- 8:00 – bath my kids
- 8:30 – read my kids a book
- 9:00 – my kids fall asleep. At this point I would also usually fall asleep, but then I used to wake up and keep working on my tasks from my project at the company.
- 10:30pm – wake up and work
- 1am – sleep
- 6am – wake up and do it all again
Of course this may sound easy, but it wasn’t. It was a real struggle. If you read between the lines you will see all the tantrums and meltdowns of my kids every step of the way. They were only 3 years old and 7 months old when I went back to work after my second child. It was definitely a difficult time!
But the part that really was killing me was waking up in the middle of the night to keep working on my project from my company.
I had alot of responsibilities in my team, but I couldn’t manage to finish my tasks during the normal working hours. So I forced myself to wake up in the middle of the night to keep working.
(You have probably heard of the issue in Japan with “death from overwork”. Well I have experienced this type of work environment first-hand. There weren’t any cases in my company, but I could understand the environment that happens in Japan with people working extreme amounts of overtime to the point of nearly living in the office. Thankfully the Japanese government is now taking measures to change this working environment with the aim to increase productivity in the workplace and hopefully reduce overtime work.)
So I managed to do this schedule for 12 months until suddenly in December 2015 I had an extreme case of shingles all across my ribs on my right-side. At first I thought I had been bitten by a spider because it was so painful and tingly (not that I have ever been bitten by a spider! but I imagined that this is what it would feel like). When I went to the doctor he told me it was shingles and recommended me to take time off work to recover.
This was a huge realization for me.
It suddenly dawned on me that I can’t do everything.
It was not HUMANLY possible for me to continue with the same schedule or with so much pressure in my life.
It wasn’t that I didn’t have the ability – it was that I didn’t have the TIME.
And this brings me to our most valuable asset = time.
It is so important to protect your time to avoid being overwhelmed and overworked.
But to be honest this is so hard to achieve when you are a working mother.
My sister gave me good advice – she said you don’t need to try to do it all. It will break you if you try to do everything! Why not try part-time work? Why not try shortened hours? Even if the pay is less, it will be so much better for your health.
My sister introduced me to Dr. Libby who is well-known for helping women with letting go and taking care of their health. If you haven’t heard of Dr. Libby before, I recommend you to watch her TED Talk.
It was only after I had shingles that I took my sister’s advice.
So if you are in a similar situation to what I was, please take this advice. If you are working crazy hours and feel like there might be a long-term risk to your health or well-being, why not make some changes now?
You could change your working hours, or if this is not possible at your company, then why not consider a Minimalist Business.
A Minimalist Business is an online business that you can manage from anywhere (all you need is a laptop!) and the benefits are HUGE in terms of giving you the TIME that you deserve. It allows you complete flexibility with how you want to spend your time for your business and your life.
Make sure you read my other posts about Minimalist Business for more tips and inspiration.
Take care and let me know if you have any questions!