Thursday, November 5, 2009

Buzz Buzz Jolt Jolt, Balance the Journey Continues

It’s back, that “buzzing feeling” (like caffeine jitters except I don’t drink coffee). I have the sense of vibrating all the time and I notice that I unconsciously clench my jaw and I’m bouncing my leg. I get knots in my stomach. I’m like the man in the “Operation Game” who lays in wait anticipating the next electric shock. My electric shocks are just the realities of all there is to do, all that has to be done, all that has gone undone and all that is unknown in any given day. Buzz, Buzz, Jolt, Buzz, Buzz…..all day Buzz Jolt Buzz. Yikes!

This morning I decided I need to take a deep breath, calm the buzzing, and identify the source of my anxiety. I began by looking at how I spent my last 24 hours.

• Sleep - 7 hours
• Drive Kids to and From School - 4 hours
• Work to earn a living - 7 hours
• Cook and Eat 3 meals - 2 hours
• Clean House/Pick up after kids - 1 hour
• Nicky Care -2 Hours
• Evyn Care - 1 Hour
• Brush my teeth, go to the bathroom, dress, bath - ½ an hour
• Work out - ½ an hour
• Pay Family Bills - ½ an hour
• Grocery shop - ¼ hour
• Volunteer Work (including Blog, Boards, Task Force)- 1 hour
• Me Time - 1 hour

Gee I wish I had done this sooner. The problem is obvious, I CAN’T ADD!!!. I am currently going 27 hours and 45 minutes a day!

Now that I know the problem I’ll just review my “allocation of time” budget and figure out where to cut. Surely my little deficit will be easy to close.

• Sleep – This one gets eroded enough with bad “Nicky Nights”. I love sleep and we all know how ugly sleep deprivation can be. I will cut back to 6.5 hours

• Driving Kids to School: I’m working on this. However at this time there is no bus for Nicky. There are definite health and safety issues with Nicky walking 12 miles. So, no cuts here.

• Work: I have to pay for food, clothing, shelter, education, tax’s and health insurance. But I will try to work better in less time. I will cut this back to 6 hours.

• Cook and Eat 3 meals: I’m already sucking down dinner and even when I do sit down I eat like it’s my last meal. I’ve already cut this time down by planning and preparing some meals ahead of time. Eating out is too much for this family on week days and being with Nicky in a restaurant only makes his sister cranky. Delivery food has little that Nicky will eat and it’s overpriced, so I need to cook. That said, this one has been trimmed to the bone.

• Clean House/Pick up after kids – Some cuts have already taken place. I have given up on my teenager’s room and I have learned not to seek perfection. However to reconcile a previous time budget deficit, to make it possible for me to care for the kids and still work. I cut hours by working mostly from a home office – which means area’s that involve my work have to be kept neat. Another dead end.

• Nicky Care – This number has been on annual reduction. It used to be 14 hours. Between building a great team, good intervention, sleep and school it has been reduced to a lean and productive 2 hours where I do only Nicky. Any further reductions could result in harm. Already on days like yesterday when I had to take him unexpectedly to the Dr. he went over budget. We’ll have to work on that.

• Evyn Care - This number has been on annual reduction since Nicky’s diagnosis. She is wonderful and independent in a “teen” kinda way, however any further reductions could result in increased negative behaviors and harm common amongst unhappy teenagers, including but not limited to: drug abuse, depression, poor grades, defiant behavior, video game addictions, and lack of interest in positive activities. Gonna pass, again any further cuts could result in harm.

• Vanity Time - Brush my teeth, go to the bathroom, dress, bath – Yahoo!!! I think I can shave a few minutes if I reduce my liquid intake and eliminate 1 bathroom break a day.

• Family Bills – Gee I could give this up completely! NOT, but it was a fun thought.

• Grocery shop - Let’s see, if I gave this up I could give up cooking and eating and in total cut 2 hours and fifteen minutes. Sounds good, but I’m thinking someone will notice the kids are starving, and I’ll get reported to Child Protective Services and we then will all living in the system driving up CA’s already under funded budget. Guess, I have to pass on this one too.

• Volunteer Work – I hate giving this up. It gives me purpose beyond family and I get great joy helping as many people as I can. I will cut this in ½ and try to find more joy in what I have.

• Work out - I actually looking forward to having this budget increased. I will forgo the increase. But, I can’t give it up entirely. This is how I keep from going “Bonkers” and being the grumpiest mom in the world. It’s how I care for me, so I can be here for them. It’s how I will save on my long term care, it’s how I get my good health insurance rates. No, this one cannot be cut.

• Me Time - This is the first budget tapped with the other’s run over. I have given myself one hour a day to be a daughter, a sister, a friend, go to church, take a walk or just sit in quiet. This is the time that builds my spirit and gives me strength. It’s where I practice talking to adults, and learning that there is a world beyond “my life”. It’s how I stay centered. It’s my survival tool, the key to this caregivers long term health. To cut this would do irreparable harm to me and my family. I refuse to take me off the list.

I’ve cut a total of 2 hours and 5 minutes. I am going to work better and faster while sleeping less, hardly motivating.

Light bulb: Like the old saying “you can’t put a square peg in a round hold” my consistent routines and schedules are what I learned to do when I was single, they have nothing to do with my life now.

Perhaps what I need to do continue to work on accepting “what is”. My life is not tidy, routine, predictable or orderly. It is chaotic, unpredictable and demanding.

So instead of beating myself up, feeling inadequate and getting anxious for not getting it all done, instead I think I will applaud myself for the daily miracle I accomplish. I get 27 hours worth of work done in 24 

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