The more I work, the harder I work. It’s weird that way.

I worked too late to put EB down for bed even.

When I worked full time 3 or 4 years ago, I somehow got a lot a accomplished every day.  More than stuff for work, I mean.  I would have laundry done, the bed made, and kitchen cleaned – during the week.  Then I lost my job and was unemployed for about a year.  I felt like I didn’t have enough time for anything.  I had to-do lists that were so long and I just kept adding to them, or at least added more to them than I marked off.  Then I started working part time for my last job and got pregnant.  I scratched the surface of my piles of errands I needed to run, but usually only on days that I worked.  If I was home, I hung out in my PJ’s and watched TV till Hubs came home.  Then having EB, I had a plate more full than you would ever imagine (unless you’ve had a newborn, and then, you can well imagine it’s all baby, all the time.)

Yet somehow I managed to get laundry done.  Well, I’m talking after the 1st 8 weeks.  You can’t even get out of the house except to walk a crying baby around the block for 2 hours, so forget about going grocery shopping or doing taxes.  But I mostly got dressed and showered almost every day.  I brought EB out in the world more and more to keep doing the things I had to do.  But it wasn’t like it was when I was employed full time.  I was impressed with myself for even managing to feed myself and my kid everyday.  Full disclaimer: Hubs feeds me, but I feed EB.

Once I lost my job this past December, and then picking up this seasonal gig with only a week and a half left to it, I realized just how much I can get done in a day.  I’m organizing, cleaning, and doing actual work where I’m not checking on my blog every hour.  Just at night in my down time.  And tomorrow, EB starts daycare full time.  With the intention of solving this issue of me working 6 days straight for the SXSW Interactive festival.  I figured after this (awesome) gig was over, I’d put all this momentum and energy into Hubs and my landscape design business, actually getting all of the permits and doing the spreadsheets about whether or not these last couple of projects came in on budget.  You know, the business-type things that will keep us afloat, as we learned to use as a (bad) example from the place we both left in December.

So here I am, pregnant again, working late into the night several times a week.  And I feel great about it.  I used to dread just working 5 hours a day when it was what I did every day, to pay the bills.  Maybe because I’m having fun, I don’t know.  Or maybe it’s because I have so much to do right now, prepping for the baby, filling out Medicaid and chasing them down, taxes (I really need to do my taxes but it will have to wait until after SXSW), and other forms.  Basically I have forms coming out of my ass, all in a pile, and I’m doing some of them.  And the bigger the pile is, the more I’m taking it on.  He doesn’t feel good unless he’s making progress for us.  But he’s just so worn out.

And somehow my house is clean, my baby is happy, and so am I.  I’m not overwhelmed like I thought I would be.

Night night, Muno.

But can I just keep going full steam forever?  Is this what people do all the time?  Working and working, their whole life?  I certainly appreciated my time off, taking it slow for personal time or with EB and Hubs.  Hubs has been going full steam for about 2 years now, not even taking a weekend off.  If he’s not building something for work, he’s working on The Institute out back.  I think it’s had an effect on him, not feeling like he can pause or slow down.

In school, Hubs and I had ebbs and flows coming up to mid and final reviews in architecture (for Hubs) and landscape architeture (for me).  It’s different than studying for finals, where I crammed a semester’s worth of info trying to guess what would be on the final to be prepared with a thought-out, intriguing answer.  Well, there were a couple of finals in the architecture programs.  But most of our time was spent designing.  And then right around the reviews, we would spend every night going as late as we could those last few weeks.  Non-stop, sometimes staying up all night and then going to class.  Because you couldn’t fake a finished design.  You had to solve things, not just shuffle it around and see what you could get by with.  I really loved that.  It was a lot harder than starting over every semester with a new subject, in my opinion.  Not that architecture and landscape architecture are the absolute, most complicated things in the world.  Just, for me, it took more from me than school or anything else previously had.  Because ideas are easy to come by.  Finishing something takes work.

Right now, right before the festival, there is something in the air that’s very similar to final reviews for me.  Not that I have all the hard work – but I’m seeing a final product that a lot of people are contributing to, and putting it all together ahead of schedule, which is fun.  And there is an end date, a day that I have to go and go until the last day, then get to relax and enjoy my first SXSW.  I’ve lived in Austin for 12 years now, and I have yet to go see any of the shows or films.  I blame it on my mild agoraphobia.  And my hatred of finding parking downtown.  And that I get sleepy early.  So this should be interesting, knowing a bunch of people that will be down there working or volunteering, and actually being connected to this really exciting couple of weeks.

We have the grandmas on board EBsitting for evenings, so after working my tush off more than I have for 3 years, I’m going to have some fun.  And I’ll take pictures, promise.

Are you going to SXSW this year?  What are you excited about seeing?  I haven’t even settled on a schedule yet.

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18 thoughts on “The more I work, the harder I work. It’s weird that way.

  1. I like to putter, doing little things here and there, spending lots of time reading. Work forces me out of putter mode and into get it done mode. I accomplish a lot more when I’m juggling work and home. When I have a nasty deadline (like right now), I put in tons of hours and push to deliver what I’ve committed to doing. I think it has to do with commitments. I have a hard time keeping my commitments to myself. I have an easier time keeping my commitments to others. I take pride in doing what I say I will do.

  2. Wonder what your perspective will be when the new baby comes.
    I would also guess that, no matter how tired you are, you get the important stuff done…

  3. I was a single mother with only one daughter. I worked full time and worked in the garden, cut the grass, planted, weeded, sewed, cooked, cleaned. Now I can’t imagine how the heck I was able to juggle all that. I’ve been retired five years and can’t keep all those balls in the air like I used to. I guess you just do what ya gotta do when ya gotta do it.

    Now, I’m into so many things once again (but different) but get rattled more often. Guess it goes hand in hand with the territory. Then. And Now.

    More power to you.

  4. I’ve always found I’m more productive when I’m busier, but it’s hard to balance that and free time. Apparently people regret working too much as they’re dying….maybe it comes from being okay with not being busy all the time, or learning to change the definition of busy.

    I don’t know what I’m talking about.

  5. Oh, I hear you, sister. It’s all a juggle, isn’t? What I do like about working full-time at something I love and mothering is that it boils things down for me to what is important. My students take precedence over department meetings. Reading to my girls at bedtime is more important than a clean microwave. Eating healthy food matters more to me than clean laundry. It’s true. Stuff doesn’t get done, but I try really hard to get the good stuff done. Sounds like you’ve found work that is challenging and fulfilling. That will speak to EB more than a clean car, I’m betting.

  6. I’ve experienced this phenomenon as well. The more I have to do, the more I get done. I’m actually finding this to be true right now, even with all the NICU visits and taking care of Asher. Somehow I’m actually getting more of my “list” accomplished even with all this craziness going on. That is not to say I’m not beyond exhausted all the time. Cuz I am.
    I miss SXSW. I used to go to the music fest every year when I was a single gal who worked in the music biz and it was the BEST time. I hope you really enjoy yourself. Like BLOW IT OUT! At least as much as a pregnant woman can blow it out. ; )

    http://www.toulouseandtonic.com

  7. I went to NXNW in Canada last year. I think it’s 1/100th of the size of SXSW.

    Are San Antonio and/or Austin really that big of music scenes? I’ve heard rumors.

    • Austin, yes. SA? Not that I’ve heard. Austin gets Austin City Limits (the festival, not the show – well, AND the show, but they’re different) and SXSW, which gets HUGE names to come for several days. We have to spread it all out over downtown because there’s not really a big-time venue. But because it’s so saturated w/ musicians, Austin isn’t really that kind to local bands because everyone wants to tour through here.

      I didn’t realize NXNW went through Canada! I knew it went through California (SF) because of some meetings I’ve heard of. I’m a newbie at this and hate large groups of people, so this is going to be either awesome or scary.

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