Thursday, April 28, 2016

Burnout Syndrome

I just read an article about a woman who took a "meternity" because she was jealous of her pregnant friends taking a maternity leave.  One glance at the title and I thought, "oh geez, this is bound to stir some controversy."  It did and will continue to do so however, I understand what the woman in the article was feeling; not totally because I have kids and had maternity leave twice but I get what she is saying.

After transforming your body into an alien being,
you deserve a maternity leave.

Maternity leave is designed to allow new mothers to be away from work to tend to the new precious life they've just been given.  That is paramount.  It's exhausting, testing and hard as hell.  Being a parent is one of the most selfless acts of life; you are responsible for someone else and they depend on you completely.

Time away from the routine of your daily job does however allow some women to reassess their current lifestyle and the life style that they will go back to.  The article definitely explains her jealousy because what she is seeing is those with kids flying out of the door at 5 or 6 pm (she fails to address the part where they get to be parents for the rest of the night or if they take work home).  What I feel like she really wanted to convey was the self-focus she realized she needed.  Yes, it is about getting time off but I feel like the message was more about realizing that new parents get a smack across the face of life changing reality that makes them realize that maybe what they have been doing isn't what they really want to be doing.

Yup, this is what my working mom life looks like at the office three times per day... sacrifice
I understand this struggle.  Every. Single. Day.  As much as I want to stay home with my kids and cook organic meals full of vegetables, we need money to buy those organic (or not) foods.  Since I started working in my field I feel like I'm not sure that it is what I want to do, however I'm not a fool and all those bills I've accumulated aren't going to magically disappear when I decide that I've decided I want a life change.

As a working woman I definitely struggle with the choices that I have made in my life.  When I was growing up I felt like I was always being asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, like I needed to know right then and there.  What I know as an adult is I still don't know what I want to be.  As I stood in the shower this morning I often wonder what I would have done if I hadn't been listening to so many people who told me that there would be no money in that field or it's really hard for women to get jobs in that field.  I wonder what I would have done if they had said to me, "go be a pioneer, show the industry that you are a force and you are making way for more women to be powerhouses."  What would I have done?  Would I have taken such a traditional safe route?

Sometimes I think being an adult is merely about reassessing all the choices you've made and the skewed thoughts you once had.  I feel like we are a generation of great change however.  Our parents lived in a different time and had different values about work and life.

The crazy thing about our generation is how much we can be working without people even realizing it.  The more I talk to my friends about their work and schedules the more I realize that we are nearly always connected.  I can't tell you the last time I took a day off since I've been back from maternity leave that I was completely unplugged from work.  Between phone calls, texts and emails I'm always connected and seemingly working.

The article was right, it is hard to reassess your situation if you can't remove yourself from work.  Days and weeks fly by and I wonder things like, "It's nearly May.  What have I done so far this year?"  It's so easy to get into the routine of work.

Seeing beyond the routine of what you know and do is a task.  Who wants another task to add to their checklist??  Not me but it's in there.  Right in my app.  A daily reminder that I need to focus on the changes I'd like to see in myself.  I make these changes not only to be a better mother and wife but to be a person.  A person who I want my kids to see.

Would I have made these moves if I hadn't taken maternity leave?  Probably.  Would I have made such strides in the last two years?  I doubt it.  I believe that it would have taken me much longer to see that I needed to change paths.

Would I have gotten burnout syndrome before realizing that I needed a change in life?  Maybe.  I was well on my way there.  There was a period of time after my daughter was born where I thought, I'm just going to quit my job and we'll figure it out because I was at the end of my rope.  Things didn't change until I changed my perspective and started making changes towards a new career path.

So maybe everyone does need a "meternity".  I'm not saying your should get paid for that but I understand the need to let work take a back seat especially when you aren't sure of the path you are on or are feeling some type of way.  It isn't worth it to you or anyone else to feel like you have to do something that someone else pounded into your head.  Don't misconstrue this, once you figure out what you want to do, you better get on your grind and do it but when you do something you want to do it sure is different when the crappy parts come along.

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