It has been 9 days since my last post.
Everything is ok, nobody is hurt, nothing bad happened… but I have had to face the fact that I might be dealing with a bit of burnout. Not specifically blog-related, either.
You might remember that not too long ago, my husband went on a trip and had to stay away for six weeks. Six weeks of doing it all, with both girls, including German homework, home stuff, small emergencies. Six weeks when I started out ok, then stumbled, then got up and kept going, but feeling a little bruised. By the end of the six weeks, I was exhausted, and frankly a little resentful towards my husband. I was also mad at myself for not being better at this – after all, there are single mothers all around the world doing this all year long, and here I was wussing out after 6 short (ha!) weeks.
This stuff is hard. Being a mom is hard. This isn’t about working hard on no sleep and getting little acknowledgement or appreciation. Been there, done that.
This is about working hard, often on little sleep, often being so stressed and so busy you forget to eat, and getting little appreciation, and having to be patient and play nice and help with homework and make meals and give cuddles and be loving and caring and sing lullabies and read books at bedtime even when you are so exhausted you can barely think straight… and get ready to start over the next day.
Tracking? Good. Now try doing that without any support system, without any family around, in a country that has been home for years but doesn’t feel like it, a country you kind of like but still need regular breaks from just so you won’t go nuts.
Still with me? You might just see where I was when my husband finally got back. I was so happy to see him, so relieved he was back… but I didn’t feel better.
And in the past month or so since he’s been back, everything has been feeling like hard work, often a giant pain in the butt. It’s like I have virtually run out of patience, understanding and willingness to help. (I say virtually, because I still have enough decency left in me to want to be nice.)
Which is when I thought of something I read in a book once:
There. I’m a dry well. That describes how I feel fairly accurately.
I still love my family and my friends, but I don’t feel like doing anything for or with anybody. I just wish I could spend one weekend somewhere I don’t know anyone and I could do whatever I want, or do nothing at all, without anyone to ask what I’m doing, what I’m reading, or ask me to make them a sandwich.
There’s a very slim chance I am going to get that just now, the timing is simply awful. But the girls are on vacation, and at the very least I don’t have to get up early every day. And we can do stuff: go to the zoo, take a boat trip on the Zurich lake, make brownies and popsicles, go for a picnic, make bracelets.
That sounds tiring. But it also sounds like fun. It sounds like stuff I might want to get off my butt to do, voluntarily, because I want to, not because I have to.
Maybe I am not sick of everything, just sick of the daily routine. I’ve always known that I thrive on changes and the unexpected, it’s part of why I love traveling so much. Maybe the best cure for this type of burnout isn’t rest, but fun.
Which means that summer might be just what the doctor ordered.