New Work Schedule Making Life Tough

by Anonymous

OK - here is my problem: I just got a new job. I know, in this economy, I should be thankful to have a job, but I am having a hard time adjusting my new work schedule that takes about 2 1/2 more hours of my day, every week day, than before with all the stuff I need to do with my kids and all the stuff at home.

I had a pretty good schedule worked out before, and while things weren't perfect they were generally pretty pleasant.

Clean kitchen, clean laundry, groceries in the fridge, etc. Now, because I have less time each day to do these things, the last couple of months have been passing with things slowly turning more chaotic. Now, clean laundry is piled on the floor next to dirty laundry, I have to buy fast food some nights because I haven't gotten to the grocery yet, and I can't seem to catch up with the dishes at all.

I want to fix this problem while I feel like I am at least still treading water, and before I really feel like I am drowning in laundry, dirty dishes, and whiny kids.

My old routines and schedules just don't work with my new work schedule. What can I do to make this situation better for me and the kids?

Taylor's response:

Guess what? I am dealing with a very similar situation myself right now, because I too just got a new job.

First, I want you to not be too hard on yourself. No one is perfect, and we only have so much time in a day, and we cannot do it all and still remain sane and well rested.

Here are some things I have been trying to do:

1. Pare down to what I feel is a necessity (a.k.a. prioritize). When you are overwhelmed, and feel like you have too many things on your plate, take some things off that just aren't as important. Then, don't feel guilty about it.

For example, in my home I have started doing less laundry. I use a towel a time or two more than before, I make the kids wear their pajamas more than once, etc. This helps me save time, and doesn't seem to have any meaningful negative impact on my home life -- no one cares or is hurt to do these things. A win-win.

2. Work on new routines that accommodates your new schedule.

I tried in vain for weeks to try to
fit in my morning routine into a schedule where I left the house an hour and a half earlier than I used to. Needless to say that did not work out so well for me, and I was starting to feel depressed about all the stuff I wasn't getting done.

Then, I realized that I just needed to change the time of day I did some of those things. Sure, it was convenient to do them in the morning before, but now I would just have to do them at night, or the weekend, and not try to shove activities into a time slot I realistically couldn't fit them into.

For example, I now empty the dishwasher at night instead of the morning, because I just don't seem to have time in the morning anymore since the schedule change.

3. Ask for help. You do not need to do all the household chores and child care responsibilities by yourself. I do not care whether you are a single Mom, work outside the home Mom, stay at home Mom, or any other type of Mom. Everyone in your household should help you, and you should help them. This is a partnership -- give and take. Kids and spouses need to participate in household stuff, not just women.

Now, the degree to which each person is responsible for various things around the home depends on circumstances unique to each family -- there is not right and wrong here that is correct for everyone equally. All I am saying is that if you feel overwhelmed those people in your household, your loved ones, should be people you can turn to for support and help. After all, if they feel overwhelmed and need support they can turn to you, right? Just don't feel like you have to take on the world by yourself. That's why you have a family -- no matter what it's composition is (including if that is just friends, if you live by yourself).

This issue has been on my mind a lot lately because of my change in jobs, and these are some of the strategies that come to my first. I hope they help.

I would also like to know what everyone else reading this thinks. Do you agree with my thoughts? Disagree? Have things to add? I would love to hear from you!

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