Coming Up For Air

Up For Air

In case you were wondering where I’ve been lately…..

I’ve been working full time for the past two weeks.

All the full time working readers: So?

Well, I also have kids.

All the full time working parent readers: So?

Well, I’ve also been sick. In fact, one day I felt so sick, I actually thought I might have caught man-flu.

All the sick full time working parent readers: Sss….. Yeah, okay, that’s probably fair enough.

To be honest, I felt pretty wimpy. I mean, people do this all the time. At work, I’m surrounded by working parents teaching full time in a challenging environment. And, being full time teachers, they also have all that other accountability stuff like Professional Development Plans and reports and checklists and planning and…. It exhausts me just thinking about it.

Even allowing for the added challenge last week of spending each day fighting off a headache and trying not to cough up a lung, it concerned me that I was so tired at the end of each day.

But then I thought, maybe working is like any other physical activity. It takes fitness. Just as I used to be able to run 10km without really thinking about it, now that I haven’t run in months, even a short 4km is an effort. Maybe working full time takes training.

Apart from the occasional short stint, I haven’t worked full time since I had the kids. Prior to that, I was working full time on an IT project in a large corporation. I was commuting by train for over an hour each way and I was working long hours. And I really mean long. Six o’clock train in the morning, 7.15pm train home was the standard day. A 9.30pm train home was not unusual. Then there were the days I’d catch a taxi home at 3am. (The trains stopped running at midnight.) Or the one memorable day when I caught the 6am train to work and then came home at lunchtime the next day.

It’s been over twenty years since that mad stage of my life. There’s no way I could sustain that now. And it’s not just because I also have children who need me at the end of the day. I just don’t have the fitness for it any more.

But unlike my running that I do need to get up and … er … running, I’m not sure I’m ready to put in the training for full time work just yet. So I’ll stick with the casual relief work and take each option as it comes. And hopefully I’ll still find the time to hang out here in the blogosphere for a while yet.

Have you ever felt like you’ve lost your fitness for something?

I’d like to dedicate this post to my friends and colleagues who work full time in challenging environments. You rock.

 

 

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64 thoughts on “Coming Up For Air

  1. Poor you, Mosy. Working full time and having the man-flu and choosing to soldier on. I hope meds helped and at the very least you were standing on your feet with cotton wool head. “Maybe working full time takes training.” I so agree with this. First, you have to learn what you have to do on the job. Then you have to learn the office politics and know what makes your colleagues tick.

    Of late I feel I have lost my fitness for writing my book. I have completely not touched it for a couple of months, going onto three months. Well, I have been sick in ways unimaginable that led to hospital visits. At the same time, I have been going to work, clocking up at least 37 hours per week and facing angry people on the phones some days. Thanks for the dedication, you are too kind 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve been at this full-time work thing for a looooong time. You would think this is easy peasy for me, especially now being single with no children. Nope, it’s getting tougher and it might have something to do with getting older. I’m tired and feel I’ve lost my fitness for work. This year has been especially tough because I had planned on being retired by now. I think about it a lot, which is bad because I have to work a couple years yet. I’ll get there eventually, though.

    I’m glad you are feeling better, H. It’s the pits to go to work when you’re sick. Makes it a lot tougher. I think you need to pat yourself on the back for getting through the two weeks while being a wife and mom, working full-time and being sick. Never mind that you haven’t been blogging during that time. It makes coming back to it sweeter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jo just mentioned the age thing which for some reason I hadn’t considered. I guess because my age comes with added things like teenagers. But it makes sense. To keep to the running analogy, increasing age is going to make running long distances tougher so why wouldn’t working get harder as you get older?

      Those couple of years will pass before you know it, M-J. But I can see how tough it would be to keep getting up to go to a job you don’t think you should still be doing.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I gave up the full time thing a while ago … but I’m still exhausted and just about every day! Go figure. Maybe it’s an age thing. Hope you’re recovering well. Take it easy next week 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Working full time does take exercising that work muscle. It isn’t easy to get back into it or to change routine. When I met my wife she was a private contratcor who often worked in strange places. She had to adapt instantly to any environment. After years of having a steady job she is back to being a private contractor and it has been difficult to get those “work muscles” to move right. It’s coming, but still she sometimes panics when things aren’t where they should be or are missing in a new work environment. But the longer she does it, the easier it is.

    Good luck with your full time work! I hope you are feeling better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Definitely on the mend. And the full time stint has finished. Also looks like they’re not going to call today so I have some time to breathe. Sigh.

      Thanks for the story about your wife. I can see that. We also need to develop the appropriate “work muscles”. (Good term.) Glad it’s getting easier.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I can really relate to your situation and think the fitness comparison is only partly the answer. I too did some 24/7 times in my past life and now don’t know hoe – or more importantly – why? Hiking, riding, time with friends – there’s so much more … As an aside, working single parents have always been my heroes – just don’t know how they do it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was a crazy time of my life and there wasn’t really time for much else but the plus side is that it allowed us to save a lot of money and that then set us up so I could stay home when the kids were little so I don’t regret it. And I guess in a way that’s a “why”.

      I don’t know how they do it either. They are absolute heroes.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Like you H I have not worked full time, other than filling in on occasion, since my children were born. I feel so grateful that we were able to make that choice when many others can not. I am full of admiration for the stamina and energy it takes to work full time, let alone raise a family at the same time. The analogy of fitness for it is a good one.
    As to something I have lost my fitness for that would be running. It’s a bit over two years since I ran a marathon. When I gasp my way through 5kms now it seems impossible that the event actually took place. As though I imagined the whole thing because now it does not seem within the remotest of possibilities.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The plus side to that crazy time in my life pre-kids was that we put aside a lot of savings during that time and that then allowed us the luxury of choosing to have me stay home when the kids were little. Even now, I only need to work part time and it gives me the flexibility to work casually. We’re very lucky.

      Oh, Sue. I hear you. And I’m only going on how on earth I managed to run a half marathon. It must be depressing at times to think that you once ran a full marathon. But then, you cycle up mountains so I don’t think you should be too hard on yourself!

      Like

  7. I’ve always worked full time, but I had the advantage of having my wife at home to take care of our daughter. For years, I traveled a ton, and she took care of everything. I don’t think either of us have the energy to ever do that again. I’m glad you’re feeling better. Being sick in the summer is just the worst.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Some years ago when the kids were younger, my husband let me disappear overseas for a month while he carried the can on his own. He wasn’t able to get time off and had to juggle work with the kids. Fortunately, his work is fairly flexible and he can work from home when he needs to but it was still hard. I think it made him realise just how much easier his work life was with me at home and it was worth foregoing the extra money. I’m working now but the advantage of casual relief teaching is that it fits with school hours and I can say no when I need to. I feel very fortunate to be able to take that flexibility.

      It is the worst. So it’s lucky it’s actually winter here. 😛 😀

      Liked by 1 person

        • We also had the amazing timing that the project mentioned in my post was winding up when I got pregnant and I was able to take my maternity leave and then they gave me a redundancy package which helped in the staying home thing.

          I had to laugh when I got back from that trip because I think the Husband was torn between wanting to brag how well he coped and wanting to say it was awful so I wouldn’t do it again. 😀 But it couldn’t have been too awful because he let me do it again last year. 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

  8. Oh goodness yes. Just last night, when The Mister was complaining of how much longer it takes him to mow a yard now, compared to when he was young, I was saying to him the following: Two years and eight months ago, in our dining room, I hung wallpaper, cut and hung trim, painted all the trim, painted all the walls, the ceiling, and the hallway in the center of our house in FOUR days total. Due to our newish kitten’s paw-handiwork, last month, I peeled off and re-hung SOME new paper, re-painted SOME trim and walls in SIX days total.
    I busted my behind to get that done before starting my first leave-the-house job in ten years. This job has incredible flexibility, I’m like the add-on help. The last job I had in this field, I frequently worked 12-16 hour days. I think I could still do it now, but I think I’d be a bad wife and mother, completely spent from work, with nothing left to give my family, but maybe for take-out dinner. :/

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so impressed with your wallpapering skills! I wouldn’t know where to start. My husband has a demanding job and is rarely home in time for dinner. There’s no way we could both be working in high pressure jobs and adequately care for our children. The casual teaching works well as I can pick up the kids from school and be home in the holidays (even if I don’t get paid during them). I don’t know how single parents do it or families with both parents working demanding jobs.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. We were a 2 career family with kids and no extended family nearby to provide help when the going got rough. It definitely wasn’t easy. I had the *luxury* of a husband who hit above his weight class in sharing household responsibilities.
    I have no idea how single parents survive … some of them going to night school at the same time!!

    Since I’m writing this from the (disad)vantage point of week 4 of an injury, I’d say I’ve lost fitness for just about everything. EVERYTHING takes much longer to do. If possible, I don’t bother.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Mosy, take it easy, both on your blog and yourself. Everything will fall back into place when you are feeling well again. We’ll all still be here, waiting for your return. I dream of the time when I can drop a day’s teaching and work a four day week. Hopefully in a couple of years and then it will only be a couple more and I can retire. Luckily for me, I’m in a wonderful school with fantastic staff, a beautiful little class and a marvellously supportive TA so it’s not difficult to go to work every Monday. I try not to wish the time away. And my daughters are now both grown, independent young women happily following their passions and I don’t have the added responsibilities of taking care of them at home. That does make working life so much easier.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Eldest Son has finally gone back to uni, Middle and Youngest Sons are at school and work has not called me in. I am alone in the house. I intend to relax and breathe. 🙂

      I think having a lovely work environment and a more relaxed home life would make things a bit easier but I still admire you for teaching full time, particularly knowing all the extra work that has to be done. Sounds like you have the end plan worked out though, so that would help I imagine.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Listen to that woman – she knows !
    As for me, why, fitness is my middle name. NOT. Never been fit in me life. Never had to be, really. But then, I don’t have kids … which is a good thing for THEM ! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Hope you’re feeling much better. I’m full of admiration for anyone who can go off to a job, and take care of kids and manage to do anything else. I think I’ve totally lost my fitness for anything that involves much sustained thinking. I’m hoping it’s lack of practice rather than age. Take care of yourself.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am feeling better, thanks Su. And work hasn’t called today so I get to have a day at home to properly recover.

      I’m always hoping anything I’ve lost fitness for is lack of practice rather than age. I prefer not to think about the ageing thing……

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I read your post yesterday and it has stayed in my mind…I haven’t worked full time in a work place for a long time either, but I work far more hours than I would in an office in my home..I do feel however that I would find it absolutely exhausting to be in that environment again though. I guess at home I can take breaks when I choose, and manage my own time…?
    You have my full sympathy and understanding of why you have been so worn out.
    When it comes to fitness, even if I can’t workout for a few days/couple of weeks due to injury, I fear I’m losing my fitness, I fear I’ll never be able to run ever again!!!! Then I get back to the gym and, of course, I find its all still there 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Working at your own pace and, if you’re an introvert like me, on your own at home would be less wearing than the constant demands and stimuli of a workplace. My hours aren’t long but it’s intense and some days I come home feeling like I have sensory overload. It’s all relative, I guess.

      I was surprised I managed to run 6km after taking 8 months off. It was very slow and it wasn’t pretty but it amazed me that there was any fitness still there. But then, work – where I’m on my feet all day – would probably help to maintain it to a certain level.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I have to agree, I find face to face social interaction exhausting nowadays, I’m definitely happiest in my own space, either on my own or just with my boys. Even if someone comes for lunch for a few hours I end up worn out! I guess it all comes down to what you get used to?
        And I’m forever being told that your body doesn’t forget when it comes to exercise…but like you say, it just ends up being slow, or hard bloody work for a while!

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Honestly, I don’t know how people work full time and take care of a family. I’m married but I don’t have children, and I’m pretty much exhausted by the end of a week. However, I do get to work from home most of the time, if I’m not seeing customers in Australia or overseas; if I had to go into the office every day, I think I’d crack. Commuting is one of the biggest time-wasters and is also a complete energy-sapper. And a noisy office is a blood-pressure hazard, particularly for an introvert (effusive salespeople: you can’t kill them; you can’t live without them :mrgreen: )

    Obviously-being a teacher, you don’t have much choice but to go to your place of work. Perhaps you should consider a career change, or offering online tutoring instead.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is already my fifth career change. 😀 I actually love the work in terms of the actual teaching but I don’t love all the bits that come with it which is why I’m happy to stay a relief teacher rather than chase an actual position. I’m not sure I’d have the tolerance for a busy office any more either.

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    • I still have nightmares about some of my journeys home. The stinking hot days when the air conditioning wouldn’t work. The freezing wet nights when the train would get cancelled. Sitting on the floor because there weren’t enough seats. Running full tilt down Bourke St to catch the train because the next one wasn’t for more than an hour. All the stories we commuters share, right? (The Eldest Son now enjoying them on his commute to university.) Urgh. Couldn’t go back to that.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I can only sympathise and admire. I mostly worked from home when the kids were small, and my husband bore the entire brunt of earning our living until I took full-time work when they were in their teens. I actually think I was most tired with two smalls at home all day (one non-sleeper – as in 5 hours a good night). Energy, health and motivation are so entwined, it’s sometimes difficult to tell which is causing what. Check health first, then question motivation… you could just be doing too much (? pot, kettle, black). good luck, hope you feel full of bounce again soon. Age comes in waves, but I sometimes have more energy now than I did 20 years ago, so fear not.

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    • Doing too much? Moi?? 😀 I had a day at home yesterday which worked wonders on letting me catch my breath. But I was back into it today and I’ve already been called in tomorrow and booked for Friday….. Hey, it’s nice to be wanted. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  16. As someone who went into teaching at a late stage in life I have to say it was the most exhausting job I have ever had. I worked full-time in IT, long days, long commute and raised 4 kids on my own, so I know what tough is. But teaching sucked away my soul. Not just the challenging kids – and there were a few – but the relentless call on my ‘free’ time. Covering for teachers who were sick, lunch-time and after school detentions, meetings before and after lessons, pupil reports, analysing stats for senior management, learning new skills and software (I taught IT), teaching staff. I could go on, but it just makes me depressed. No wonder teachers burn out. And then people complain about how long the holidays are. Except half the holidays are spent writing schemes of work. Updating computer systems, marking stuff you never had time for. Being ill. So I sympathise. And I’m also glad that I made the decision to quit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Goodness, Jude! How do you still have your sanity?? Full time in IT was hard enough pre-children and with a partner. How on earth did you manage with four kids on your own?? You are amazing. And I’m with you on the excessive extra demands on teachers. Annoys me no end when people comment about “you only work 9 to 3.30” or “you have twelve weeks holidays”. They have NO IDEA. And I’ve only had a taster when I got a part-time contract in first term. Meetings, reports, assessments, more meetings, planning…. Hooley. I’m not sure what it’s like where you are but here the majority of graduate teachers have left teaching within five years. Can’t say I blame them.

      I’m glad you survived and you’ve got time to wander beaches and hillsides and gardens now. You’ve earned it!

      Like

      • I only lasted five years and many younger teachers left before that. I will never forget a young head of department crying her eyes out in the loo. She was soooo tired and had so many demands on her. She went off sick soon after and then left. Woe betide you though if you dare to lift your head above the parapet in meetings to query decisions, many is the time I have seen (sensible) people shot down in flames. I began to understand why those who had been there a long time never spoke out. It is an insidious workplace. And I worked in a ‘good’ school. But then even more demands are made on you to keep it good. My worst career move…

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Hope you are feeling better, Heather. Yes, I don’t know how I managed to fit everything in, looking back. Working full time teacher, being a single mum, keeping a big garden going and the occasional bit of housework…. now I’m retired, I really don’t know how I managed, as my days are just as full! I am so grateful to be retired and able to determine how to spend my time. Life only gets better! Reading Heyjude’s comment, it was computers coming in that made things harder for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am feeling much better, thanks Barbara. I had a day at home yesterday which helped a lot. How you managed full time teaching as a single parent, I’ll never know. Although, as The Husband has a demanding job, often a lot of the children responsibilities are up to me anyway. It’s easier now they’re older and I can say “get your own dinner” when I need to! 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  18. Yes, I feel for you. I remember it being fairly intense working, having to earn a crust and having young children. The way out would be to not work, not have kids and just bum about. Sometimes bumming about brings out the creativity. If not, it might result in sleeping under a bridge and line up for soup from the salvos.
    Most compromise. They have kids, work, and suffer consequences or enjoy rewards for doing that. It might be best to look forward being retired, have an income, and do what one likes, which can result in writing on blogs or books and cook pasta or potato bakes. It is never all that easy, no matter what age.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My work habits since having the kids have often been based on what works best with the family rather than pursuing anything fulfilling. When I was in a very boring office job for a time, I always considered it the means to an end. It was flexible which helped with the kids and it gave me a bit of pocket money to let me do the things I liked to do outside work. I’m feeling lucky now to have a better paid job with hours that work better with the kids and that I also enjoy very much.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Oh I could totally relate with this; giving up my fitness and health for other things in life that keeps us busy. You are not alone. Sometimes the life takes the best of us. But don’t forget to assign yourself at least few hours in a week before you start to lose yourself under all the stress.
    Hope you have a better week ahead 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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