I have never been so glad to see the weekend than I am today. This week has been the longest, busiest and most stressful one since I returned to work nearly four months ago now.
…Has it really been almost four months already?
The tiring and demanding nature of this week hasn’t anything to do with my family or home life and everything to do with my job (although not for reasons that you might think).
*Leans back in chair* *swigs cider from glass* *wishes it was gin*
Although I’ve found it hard adjusting to being a working mum again, I have created some semblance of a manageable routine. I was eventually honest with my boss and my family about how hard and tiring I was finding juggling a career, home and family. Thankfully, they all understood and have been supportive and flexible, helping me find a tolerable medium. I can now work from home one day a week or whenever I need to and my husband and in-laws do their best to be as flexible as possible in terms of childcare. I admit to being more philosophical about it all these days; my work/life balance may not be ten0% perfect but whose is? Another factor to my adjusted attitude is that I am trying to take proactive steps to improve things further. I’ve written about my top secret website project before so I won’t bore you with (non)details here. Don’t worry though; I will reveal all once I’m ready.
Anyway, I digress.
No, it’s not the ‘being back at work’ thing that has exhausted me this week but rather the demands of my job and the projects I work on.
I work in PR for a national health organisation that is often controversial and in the news so it’s inevitable there’ll be busy periods when campaigns or publications are launching. But, this week, after being ‘out of the game’ (as it were) for ten months on maternity leave and not having to deal with anything too high-profile so far this year, 2 of my projects reached a crescendo taking my stress levels along for the ride.
I love my job and enjoy being able to try and ‘shape’ a story. The satisfaction when you see that story translate into print or online news article and TV or radio packages, or see the word spread across social media channels is immense…but it does take seriously hard work (the stereotype of PR execs doing nothing but having long, boozy, schmoozing lunches is not an accurate one, let me tell you!)
I found myself working last weekend due to someone leaking news about one of my projects to a Sunday newspaper (grrr!) and then starting the week having to work very long, consistently busy days with hardly the opportunity for a toilet break never mind a lunch break, dealing with lots of requests for information and interviews. I found myself having to leave the house before Olivia and William awoke in the mornings and would eventually get home just before they went to bed at night. For 3 days straight I hardly saw my children. Work had well and truly taken over.
But, at least I knew this level of ‘hectic’ was just temporary and I’m pleased to report that my hard work paid off with lots of generally positive and informed media coverage about my 2 projects. Cue a very pleased Chief Executive and lots of happy colleagues – phew! As for me? I was exhausted!
So now it’s the weekend. I have time to breathe again; concentrate on my family; relax. I am in calmer waters (work-wise) once more…for now.
What do you do when work starts to take over? How do you cope? Do you grin and bear it and wait for it to pass, or do you take practical steps to readjust the balance once more?