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When my daughter tells me to relax, I know I’ve brought too much work home

Categories: Career Talk, Work It, Mom! Latest, Your life


woman-upset-in-office.jpgYou know how kids sometimes say things so perceptive that it makes you realize something very true?

Earlier today I was playing with my daughter when apparently I zoned out a bit (I know, it’s tough to do that when you’re a patient at her doctor’s clinic and you’ve been told to lie still on the floor, but it happened.) All of a sudden she got this very concerned adult look on her face, came up to me, touched my arm and said “Mommy, don’t worry, it’s OK.” Now, there is a slight chance that she was still in her doctor role and she was saying OK to me as a patient whose heart rate was quiet (a legitimate diagnosis she has given me before many times) — but there was this look in her eyes that made think differently.

She saw that I was zoning out and she knew that I do that when I worry.

Earlier we asked a question here on WIM about whether you bring your job stress home or leave it at work. I absolutely suck at that — my work stress has always followed me wherever I went. It’s definitely worse now that a) I run my own company and b) I work from home, making it difficult to physically separate from the stress, but it’s always been an issue. Part of the reason I am good at what I do — wait, wait, there is a rationale for posting this self-approving point here — is that I become very invested in whatever it is I am doing. The downside of this is that it’s very hard for me to shake off work-related stress.

I hate that and I consider it one of my worst habits/traits. It affects my husband and our relationship, and I know my daughter is old enough to feel it. (Not to mention that many-a-fights that I’ve had with my mom were due to the fact that I was stressed from work and picked up her call when I should have let it go.) I know that like with anything else, I need to seriously commit to learning to leave work at work because that’s the only way it will happen. Perhaps one of these days something will push me to actually do it.

Like the fact that one person who definitely should not be affected by anti-WIM boycott emails I get for publishing a controversial article or the fact that our site went down just when we’d just announced a new feature is my daughter.

Have you figured out how to leave job stress at work? Please share your tips in the comments. (No, really, I have my notepad ready.)

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2 comments so far...

  • Well, I’m picking up a mouth guard from my dentist tomorrow because I’m apparently in danger of grinding my molars into a thin paste while I sleep so I may not be the best person to post a tip for stress relief. File this under Desperate Mother — I work from home so every day about 5, I close the door to my office and then I go outside and walk around for a few minutes. (Yes, my neighbors think I’m insane.) And then I walk back in the front door like I just came home. It’s a conscious (weirdly ritualistic) break between my home and my work.

    I play with the kids, cook dinner if it’s my night (my husband and I switch off — he’s enlightened. Mostly) and I just commit to not working. The kids go to bed around 9 and then I sometimes go back to work for a few hours, but the hours between 5-9 belong to the family.

    Cara  |  March 16th, 2008 at 8:44 pm

  • OMG, Cara, I LOVE the idea of walking out and then back in. I take a walk during the day — some people meditate, I walk — but I am seriously thinking of changing the time and doing it at the end of the day. I think your idea is brilliant!

    Nataly  |  March 16th, 2008 at 9:05 pm