Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Putting a Tally on Stress

Okedokey. It’s been a long, long while since I’ve blogged. A year of blogging has come and gone with narry a peep from me. “Why’s that?” you say. Well, not-surprisingly, as I have mentioned before, blogging about parenting is usually only possible when one is not in the very act of parenting. Now, as we all know parenting, in itself, can be considered quite time consuming (even more so when you have little-to-no support infrastructure in the guise of babysitters etc.) As such, time is usually at a premium even when things are going smoothly.

Well, around about late October I started to wonder why I was going flat out and not making any progress. I was throwing myself headlong at housework, child rearing and the job only to find at the end of the day (often usually well into the “am” of the next) I was barely holding ground. I was getting frustrated and exhausted and couldn’t figure out why. That is, until I sat down and took stock of the event roster.

What is an event roster you may ask? Well, this is something I had to come up with on the fly. Essentially I started doing an audit of my day-to-day life starting in August and working my way through to the present day. In this, I included anything within my life that did not include the regular day to day routine, ie: job, commute, housework, quality time at home with the kids, and general maintenance. Into this list I poured everything that didn’t fall into these categories. These included such things as events within the greater family dynamic, change of location for family members, medical emergencies, job changes, financial emergencies, in short: anything that ate away at the 24hrs a day in which I had to operate.

Now, this time could have been eaten up in various ways. Often it was a direct action on my part to solve or manage a particular event or task. In other cases it was taking over for someone else while they dealt with a specific issue. In all cases, though, it had to amount into hours to be counted with anything over eight hours being counted as a single day’s worth of “event response” Grand total? In a four month (122 day) period I have lost 85.5 days worth of time that under normal circumstances would go into the daily routine outlined above. Don’t believe me? Check it out.

Event Roster in days (in no particular order):

Thyroid operation for Jamie’s mom. 2
Taking care of Jamie’s mom and apartment. 5
Brother’s divorce. 1
Brother’s property sold. 1
Jen’s sister’s pregnancy. 4
Last minute 5-day working trip to Toronto IHC. 6
Finding new daycare for Jamie. 4
Finding new school for Jamie. 4
First day of school and subsequent fallout. 2
First day of daycare and subsequent fallout. 1
Giving up old daycare and school 2
Move Jamie’s mother’s apartment. 3
New job for me 2
New job for Jen 2
Visit #1 from Jack 4
Visit #2 from Jack 4
Jack’s visit for the month of August 10
Halloween 2
Thanksgiving 2
Carp Fair 1
Birthday Party #1 3
Birthday Party #2 3
Parent-teacher interview #1 and #2 .5
HR payroll issues 1
Jen’s grandmother hospitalized once 4
Jen’s grandmother hospitalized twice 4
Jen’s grandmother hospitalized thrice 4
Day trip to Omega Park 1
Dental abcess .5
Root Canal .5
Repair to failed root canal filling .5
Transit Strike 1
Winter storm .5

Total: 85.5

Four month period: 122

Now, in a few cases these events were considered positive (Omega Park for instance) however, they still take a way from the overall routine which is why they’ve been counted. The majority of these items, however, are to be considered either negative or at the very least stress-causing. For instance a new daycare might be (on the whole) a good thing but finding it, arranging interviews, payments, working out transport to and from, and helping your child deal with the stress of the move do cut into the overall routine, let me tell you.

So, there you have it. The reason for my silence revealed. As we come into the holiday period I do hope to get myself back onto a more regular schedule as positive oriented events aren’t quite as stressful or taxing on the overall system. Still, for all you parents out there, if you’re feeling bagged sit down and tally up what’s been happening in your life. You might be surprised at what you find