There can be a clash between work and life when someone close to you gets sick. Your predictable work schedule and unpredictable parenting responsibilities both demand so much of your time, take up an insane amount of energy and when one of them blows up, they both can blow up because it’s hard to cope.
This is what happened to me last week. They both blew up because someone became ill. Everything is calm now and getting back to normal. But during my chaotic week it dawned on me just how challenging things can get when work and life clash. Here’s an explanation of why work and life can clash how to get thing back to normal when someone’s been sick.
You Can Take Comfort in Your Work’s Predictability
You’re told what to do through a job description. Sure there is some flexibility like how and where you get things done, but for the most part you are told what’s expected of you. There are goals you have to meet each quarter and year. Some goals are set for you and some are set by you. Hopefully there are performance reviews where you’re given feedback on how well or poorly you are doing.
If you work in a large team you can depend on them to help resolve problems. If there is a big problem a meeting is called. Or maybe it’s just you and your manager. You have guidance from someone more experienced than you. Their support feels wonderful when you’re stuck on something. Their motivation and encouragement can help steer you through tough times.
Just because it’s predictable doesn’t mean it’s easy. Work can cause stress and anxiety, for sure. Your goals push you forward but can also cause you to worry. Emergencies pop-up that sets you off balance. Not everything can be controlled. There is a good share of challenges in business but for the most part the work that you do is predictable and manageable.
You are hopefully entitled to sick days. We can jokingly say that mom’s don’t get sick days, like that commercial says but when you’re a working mom you can drop the kids off at school and jump back into bed. But when someone else in the house gets sick, get ready for work and life to clash.
Parenthood’s Unpredictability is Hard to Manage During a Work/Life Clash
There is no parenthood handbook that guarantees you success. You’re on you own left with your intuition and mommy energy. You may not make time for personal goals but I’m sure one of the goals for your family is to keep everyone alive and happy.
You have good days where you think, “I’ve got this under control” and then one of the kids has a melt down and you “don’t have this under control”. Your children are unpredictable and sometimes so is your reaction to them.
You can’t predict when someone will be sick and what you’re reaction will be. It causes a ripple effect like it did for me last week. If your spouse gets sick everything rides on your shoulders. You stop caring about work deadlines. The housework doesn’t get done and you don’t even notice nor care. Everyone else in the house becomes your second priority. If you’re lucky you have family members come over and help out.
While caring for a sick loved one so much coordination is done while you’re under duress. This taxes your emotions and energy level, but yet you are manage this because of your mommy energy.
Survive the Clash Through Self-Awareness, Mini Goals, and Self-Care
So many things are out of our control when someone gets sick. To help you survive it’s important to strengthen your emotional intelligence. Start by being more self-aware of the emotions you are feeling and why you feel them. Next, assess what other people are feeling and be empathetic.
When your emotions are not controlling your behavior or choices it’s easier to set mini-goals toward everyone feeling better. Setting goals according to your current priorities and not your emotions saves you time and energy. When you have more energy you can start caring more about the housework you’ve needed ignored. Just kidding! I meant you will have more energy to care for who ever is sick.
Your self-care is critical to surviving a work/life clash when someone is sick. It’s as simple as not being too hard on your self, to not blame yourself for things, and stopping to rest. You are able to be more positive and that kind of sunshine is always needed when someone is sick.
There is nothing predictable about sickness like how people will take the news that you need to take some time off from work or how the kids will feel about what’s going on. Eventually things settle down and normalcy returns. But until then, patience can give you strength to be the rock someone is depending on.
Working mom, have you experienced a work/life clash when someone got sick? Tell us about it in the comments below.
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