When it all gets too much

A slight digression, in that this post is about me and not about my relationship with an anonymous alcoholic. As some of you may recall, I recently got made redundant, and then re-deployed into a new job. So far, s’ok.

Maybe it’s just new job blues, but I’m really hating it. Who knew creativity could be so tyrannical? One day I’m an editor, getting on with my reports and blogs, the next I’m expected to come up with communications strategies and creative campaigning concepts, while getting on with my reports and blogs. Wha-?

Nothing in my academic or professional career has prepared me for this awkward turn of events. I feel like I’m trapped inside an ad agency instead of the fuzzy NGO I joined nearly 10 years ago.

Serves me right for not moving on earlier, I guess. Now I can’t, because clearly the whole world wants people who can do this kind of work, not the old-fashioned stuff I used to do, and anyway, I missed my chance at taking the redundancy package so leaving now would mean leaving with nothing.

As my friends say, “You’ve got to earn your wages now.” And my wages are pretty good, really. So, my job has gone from being one I went the extra round for, because I was interested in it, to being the thing that pays my bills. It also costs me several sleepless nights a week.


The thing that makes it all that much harder is the fact that there’s no comfort at home. In the old, old days, I’d come home from a crappy day at work and get a hug or a head massage while we watched TV together. Now, I come home to me. Yes, Rosie’s there, but I’m the one who needs to provide some comfort to her (although I often fail on this count). She would, bless her, try to make me feel better, if she knew, but that’s not the way it works, is it? And it’s not the same as finding some protection in the embrace of someone who still thinks you’re actually ok and not rubbish at your job.

The other thing I’m particularly shite at is not transferring my stress onto the little one. I tell myself that tonight will be different, that I won’t shout at Rosie, and then I get home and find an excuse to shout at her. Poor child. I’m shouting at myself, of course. I’m pissed off at myself for being trapped in a job I feel ill equipped to do, and I take that anger out on my own child. Then I brood in the darkness, or type confessional pieces like this, all the while listening to her snores and knowing she deserves a far, far better mother than me.

Sometimes I even whisper this to her while she’s sleeping. I tell her I love her, that I don’t mean to shout, that she is a wonderful, clever girl. And I hope she can hear these words like the song of a unicorn in her dreams. I tell her these things when she’s awake, too, but they are lost in the din of her thoughts and all the other things I’m saying (like brush your teeth and hurry up! and have you gone to the toilet yet?).

So, tonight it just feels like it’s all too much, like I’m perpetually chasing after myself. Tomorrow, hopefully, I’ll catch up for a moment, before I’m dragged under again by another tailwind.


9 thoughts on “When it all gets too much

  1. Thanks for this.

    In my company, I took the redundancy package you didn’t and I’m now unemployed and looking for work. It’s tough out there and I wish I’d hung on and studied more. If you want to move, if advise you to do what I didn’t do and study up and find something.

    With your daughter, maybe practice meditating (it’s easy and real effective) and do it in the car before you first meet her after work. Exercise helps too and she might join in and find it fun. Well done for telling her you love her. Also do it in the quiet moments.

    Oh and ex problem drinker here. Left my ex because I quit drinking and she didn’t like the “dull” person I became.

    Thank you for your blog which I find interesting and I hope you find the happiness you seek.

    • Thanks, Tom. I’ve been doing the same type of work for nearly two decades now. Basically, I’m now in a role I never really wanted, but need, since I have to support my daughter. I’m sticking it out where I am because it’s the best training I’m going to get, painful as that may be for now. I guess there will be a a lot of these difficulties, until I find my feet (or not!). Glad you stopped drinking and managed to find your way. How odd – and sad – that your former partner finds the sober you dull. Being a drunk is the dullest thing there is, frankly. So says my (ex)husband. And on the other side of it, the uncertainty and madness associated with living with an alcoholic is excitement I can do without. Meditation… I used to do it when I was younger and had far less responsibilities. I should try it on the tube. I used to do vipassana meditation. Very effective. Guess it’s time I get back to it. I hope you find a new job soon!

  2. I was miserable often at my last job. It was all about money (which I don’t want to be about) and ironically, it was a job I had courted and had really wanted.
    There were days when I genuinely had a good time, but I knew almost from the start that I had made a mistake. I felt trapped and was not sure what to do.
    It took my mother’s illness to make me see that life is too short to not do what you really want. Happiness is an inside job. I hope you look within you and ask yourself- what would I really love to do and get paid for it?
    You deserve it. You really do!
    You don’t have to do anything right away. But I hope you decide to go after something that could really be fulfilling for you. Look around and see what’s out there.

    • The economic climate being what it is, I have to stay put. If I don’t have this salary, I wouldn’t be able to support the family. I’m glad you got out of your predicament. Sometimes I ask myself why I don’t just get up and go. Find another way to live somewhere warm and inexpensive.

  3. I went through a little spot not too long ago where I wasn’t as kind and loving to my boys as I needed to be. I was racked with guilt and felt I was just not a good dad, even though deep in my heart I knew I was…but I just wasn’t myself. I really had to work at seeing thing through their eyes…this mad, loud, yelling dad must have frightened them..perhaps made them feel that it was their fault I was like that. And really, i was just tired…not feeling good about myself, some fears thrown in there for good measure, etc. It’s taken me some time and work to sit in the moment more, to step away emotional-drama stuff and just breath. And that’s why I liked what Tom said there – taking a few minutes to meditate or be in stillness before greeting Rosie. I picture it like shedding the skin of work and life and allowing the love and tolerance and compassion to rise to the surface before seeing my sons.

    I know your situation is different than mine…but I know we all go through those challenges as parents. I think we don’t cut ourselves enough slack…and we can do that while still being there for the little ones 🙂

    Breath and continue telling her that she is the lovliest, smartest, funniest girl out there…they do listen to that stuff.


    • Yes. One thing we do have is good communication. I apologise when I have been horrible and tell her I do love her. We have enough happy moments for it to balance out but I rarely remember those moments. Time to shed the skin.

  4. I’ve done the same yelling thing, when it was myself and just stress in general I was yelling about. And I’d do the bedside, while she was sleeping thing; telling her I loved her and I was sorry. That part turned into a habit actually, I still go in while she’s sleeping and whisper that I love her and she’s perfect.

    Mommy’s aren’t perfect. No one’s perfect. All you can do is what you’re doing, rectifying it both for her and for yourself. Things have been calmer in mine and my daughter’s world the last year and a half. Even when life get crazy now I’ve found my balance and handle everyday stress’ better – you’ll find your balance and it’ll all be fine.

    • Thanks, CK. Glad to know I’m not the only one whispering confessions into my child’s sleep. I have to say, when she has her finger in my belly button (a favourite comfort thing of hers), my patience wanes a bit, but I’m learning to put up with it. : )

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