Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Burning....Up

I don't know if I'm "burning out" or just "burning at both ends" or doing something else entirely, but I know that the place I'm at doesn't feel very good.

I'm at a place where I feel that my job is taking over my entire life.  Even to write on my blog--this blog that is supposed to be my personal space--I have stopped myself from writing this post for fear of what my families (my families I work with) will think.  [I don't want them to worry.]  But goodness, I just have to have a space that is for me to vent and this is it.

It's bad ya'll.  Real bad.  Here are some things that start happening in my house when the mommy does nothing but work all day every day.
  • My little kids literally put their faces over the arm of my chair and directly between my face and the computer screen to speak to me.  This is the only way they think they can get my attention.
  • In the rare instance that I put my computer down and my lap is free it's like a race to see who can get on my lap first--kids or dogs.  Seriously.  Sounds funny, but it's completely sad.
  • My 10 year old son made dinner for the whole family last night because, "I know you have to work mommy."
  • This weekend my family worked out in the yard while I sat inside working on the computer.  I went out to check on them at one point and something was said about hard workers.  My son for some reason felt he had to come to my defense and said, "Mom, you're the hardest worker I know!  You work every day and every night and on Saturday and Sunday!"  If he only knew that is *NOT* the message I want to be sending to him about how a parent should be working!
  • My youngest child "plays" adoption coordinator.  She walks around with a phone on her shoulder, knows the words "I-600," "social welfare," and "referral."
  • Even the sleeping pills don't work.
This work is my great passion (second only to my family), but it is currently eating me alive.  There is no walking away from it.  I post business hours, but people know I work from home and constantly call me after 5pm.  They know I'm at home and figure I will pick up for them.  GUILT.  Some people will call over and over because they know I'm home!  I suppose I could open the computer at 8am and close it at 5pm but I'm telling you, I WOULD NEVER GET EVERYTHING DONE in that amount of time.  It's more than that amount of job now.  Three years ago it was a just-barely full time job.  I could take a day off, or work half a day, and have no problem keeping up.  Now, to catch a cold and miss a few days can put me behind for a week.

My children are enrolled for next year's charter homeschool and yet I haven't had the time or motivation to even look at the curriculum choices.  Do you know how sad that is?  This is my kids' education!  I already take the wimpy way out by doing online curriculum for our "homeschool" but now I can't even find the time (or mental energy) to choose the program they are going to use?  It's completely and utterly pitiful.

I don't hardly remember the time when I was "just" the mom.  It was 5 years ago.  I know I was missing this work at that time, but my kids KNEW me.  Imagine that.  They didn't just draw pictures of me with a computer in my lap (like my littles do now--the only way they've ever known me).  My big kids knew me as an active mom who did things with them!  Ugh.  Now the tears.  I miss that.  I want that for my little ones and I don't know how to give it to them.

People say, "I don't know how you do it all."  I had someone say that to me today.  Well, I don't!  I'm not!  We are just surviving.  My "all" is going more to this job and my kids are getting what's left over.  That's how I feel right now.  Yes, they know how to behave and they are learning fine at homeschool.  But they are missing the family experiences that I want them to have--memories that I will never have with them because of this job.

I had a family tell me today that THEY are who I should be losing sleep over at night.  Now this family is wonderful and I love them dearly.  They are having a tough time and they just cracked (much like I'm doing right now).  They had no idea that what they said to me on this day was being said on the worst day they could have said it to me.  They had no idea that I've been dealing with powerhouses in Ghana and the U.S. all day long while my children pop their little heads in front of my face sweetly seeking my attention (but no longer even expecting it).  NO.  I am not losing sleep over their case.  I am losing sleep over the loss of my motherhood as I try to help others obtain their own.  THAT is what I am losing sleep over!

The worst thing about this is I have no answer to the situation.  SOMETHING HAS GOT TO GIVE.

Quit.  I can't.  To do so would be to mess up the lives of 50-something families.  I would never.  Plus, there's still the small inconvenient truth that I love this work.  I love Ghana.  And I am committed to her people.

Continue.  I can't.  My family is suffering too much, even if they don't realize it.  They are so in love with me that they faithfully accept all of the drama that is Ghana adoption as part of their everyday lives.  It's not fair to them.  It's not even fair to me.  I miss my children.  Something must change.

Please pray with me that the Lord will reveal whatever change must be brought about before I completely burn up and turn into ashes.

Anita
P.S.  I reserve the right to bring cheerier posts tomorrow.

9 comments:

CarrieT 11:26 PM  

I will be praying for you, Anita. Your frustration is very obvious. I don't have any answers but will pray you get some relief and can spend more time with your family. Hugs to you!

Carrie T. - mom to 4 from Korea

Brandi 12:24 AM  

I love you, I love you, I love you. Praying for you sis and I'm here for you. Praying that the
Lord brings you divine help and space to be you, your kids mommy who is passionate about Ghana. Xoxo. Brandi

Renee 5:32 AM  

Praying for you! I have often thought your job to be one of the hardest around. The good days must be glorious but there is so much that goes on between application and homecoming that falls on you.

Love you and I thank God for you!

Lisa Olsen 9:15 AM  

1 Chronicles 28:20
20 David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.

This verse really encouraged me when I was hitting a similar wall at the end of this teaching year, I just wanted to leave the (hard, challenging, low, difficult) class and be done, but I knew I couldn't. So often in the Bible we are told be strong and courageous but I loved and needed the addition of "and do the work" as well as the "or discouraged." Remember that we are never asked to do it alone... we can't! God is with you, and will not fail you in your service (even if it isn't building a temple).

Please know that whether it is ever said or acknowledged, you are a blessing to every family you work with and for because you help create families! What a high calling to be in the line of work of making families! I pray that God will show you a way to do the work in a way that also allows you to be the mom you are called to be to your precious little ones.

TheBowlingFamily 11:49 AM  

Praying for you direction and clarity Anita!

Sammie 11:53 AM  

I am proud of you for posting this. You need to take care of yourself first. If you don't you won't be good for any one. Its hard for those of us who are "helpers" to be able to set limits. Especially when its something like adoption. Also when a program or a job grows and its something we love.

You took the first step, now you need to stick to it and set the limits. Do NOT answere any work related phone calls after 5:00 You have all of our permission. Set strong limits and put self care first so that you can continue to do this work. I just attended a works shop for something called Trauma Stewardship, There is a book out with this tittle by the woman who does the workshop, Its great stuff about self care and how not to burn out when you are helping others.

Go take a day off, take care of yourself and your family. Ghana and its adoptions can survive without you for a day : )

Mama D’s Dozen 12:14 AM  

Can you hire a part-time worker to do some of the work? There has to be a way to split the job between 2 people.

You will always love Ghana. You will always have a passion for adoption. But, your children will not always be young.

A few months ago, my husband had been unemployed for 4 months and a job literally fell into my lap . . . as an Adoption Case Worker. I could hardly believe it. We needed an income. I have a lot of administrative skills and experience. I was sooo... excited to be able to work with adoptive families.

Then ... I prayed about it all weekend, and had to call first thing on Monday morning and tell them, "No. I'm sorry." The Lord had told me CLEARLY that I was not to take the job. My children had to be my first and foremost priority.

Now ... I am looking for a part-time job .... that I can work from home (this other job was in an office 8-5), that I can bring in some income with, but that I will not have to sacrifice my family for.

PRAYING that the LORD shows you CLEARLY what HIS plan is for you and your family.


Laurel :)

Rachel 1:19 PM  

Praying for you! I can only imagine how hard your job must be. Like someone else suggested, it seems like you should talk to your agency about getting you an assistant. If you have someone to take care of the more routine matters that would free you up to focus on the important stuff. Thank you for all of the work that you do!

Anonymous 3:42 PM  

One word comes to mind:

quit.

That sounds harsh but I don't mean it that way at all. It is truth. You only have your babies once, you only have this season in their lives onces, you are only a mommy to little ones, once. If they are suffering (and it sounds like they are), then changes need to be made. Maybe not quitting if that's not financially possible. But definately setting serious boundaries (only work so many hours per week, regardless of which crisis arises, put down the laptop, keep weekends for family only).

I have read your blog for years and have treasured your passion for orphans. But that passion cannot come at the expense of making your children "motherless" in a sense, while you find mothers for other babies.

Hugs,
Kris