Taking time out for me

If I had a dollar for every time someone has asked me lately if I’m pregnant, I’d have enough money to buy a …

… well, I’d probably only have a enough money to buy a cheap bottle of wine, but the moral of the story is that I’ve been asked the question a lot lately.

I don’t have a growing baby bump and I’m not suffering from morning sickness. The reason people have been jumping to this conclusion about me is because I’m soon to take six months’ leave from my day job.

This news has been a lot for some to wrap their heads around.

Whenever I tell someone about my leave they’re certain that I’m pregnant AGAIN or I want to stay at home and ‘do the mummy thing’.

They look at me a little strangely when I tell them I simply want to take time out. I then of course feel like a freeloading Norm-type person and compensate by saying I’ll be focusing on my writing and seeing if I can knock out this children’s picture book I’ve been banging on about for so long.

Truth be told, the real reason I’m taking this time out from work is that I recognised some time ago that I’m burnt out, I’m overwhelmed, and I feel like a hamster on a wheel. I recognised that I wasn’t happy and things needed to change.

This of course is nobody’s fault but my own. I’m a people pleaser, I have an inability to say no, I want to do ALL OF THE THINGS, have ridiculously high standards and have virtually forgotten the meaning of relaxation. I have every second of the day accounted for and if a space does appear I fill it with work, or helping people.

I just can’t seem to stop and it sucks. I want to stop. I want to recalibrate and I want to get back to being me – all parts of me – mummy, wife, and me.

I was given a book recently that I’ve found incredibly useful in helping me to understand what I’m experiencing at the moment. If you find yourself feeling a little burnt out or overwhelmed, I’d love you to read it too. It’s not a long read. I was able to devour it from cover to cover over the weekend. The book is Practical Perfection by author, self-confessed perfectionist, and blogging extraordinaire Kelly Exeter.

Practical Perfection discusses burnout, overwhelm and the feeling of being a hamster on a wheel and what drives this behaviour.

It was an eye-opening read for me. After reading the first chapter I was convinced I was burnt out, after the second I decided I was overwhelmed, after the third I thought oh crap – I think I’m burnt out, overwhelmed and a hamster on the wheel. Thankfully, Kelly provides a number of simple strategies to manage these things.

Practical Perfection couldn’t have landed in my lap at a better time. A time when I really, really, really needed a guiding voice to help break me out of this hole I feel like I’m in. My anxiety is close to the worst it’s ever been and my spark has dulled.

Kelly’s book spoke directly to me and has given me the kick up the pants I needed to take back control of my life. I can’t wait to kick off my leave in just under two weeks’ time and start putting some of these strategies into action.

While I undoubtedly will fill up my leave with writing, Jamberry, and my volunteer work, I’ll also be consciously working on getting some semblance of balance back into my life, so I can be the best mum, wife and version of me that I can be.

Please note: This is not a sponsored post. I found Practical Perfection incredibly helpful and am sure many of you will too.

Are you a perfectionist? Are you highly driven and work yourself into the ground to meet your own expectations? Have you suffered from burnout and overwhelm? How did you overcome it?

Linking up today with my mate Jess for IBOT.

69 comments on Taking time out for me

  1. Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
    March 15, 2016 at 5:57 am (1 year ago)

    I think we should all press pause on our projects and day jobs for a while. So many people think that every decision is a final one. It is possible for us to press pause and wander off for a while, then come back.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 16, 2016 at 8:52 pm (1 year ago)

      I love this, Leanne. Thank you!

      Reply
  2. Sare
    March 15, 2016 at 6:01 am (1 year ago)

    Good for you! ❤️

    Reply
  3. Ingrid @ Fabulous and Fun Life
    March 15, 2016 at 6:02 am (1 year ago)

    Kelly’s book sounds like something I need to read but I’m a bit afraid to look at it as I don’t know that I can currently get off my own hamster wheel! Various family members recent injuries have my wheel spinning faster than ever!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 16, 2016 at 8:53 pm (1 year ago)

      Oh Ingrid. I feel for you. I hope you can get some downtime soon x

      Reply
  4. Lydia C. lee
    March 15, 2016 at 6:11 am (1 year ago)

    I am high fiving you from here. I’ve worked full time with kids, part time with kids and SAHM. The hardest of all those is full time with kids, and the only person who loses out is you, because you become like a dervish to make sure the kids don’t miss out. So you’re baking and washing at 10 pm, you don’t see your friends because you skip lunch to work, and need to see the kids at every opportunity and so on, so of course you get burnt out! But good for you for doing something about it!!! Hope you come back and fel recharged and excited. AND get published!!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 16, 2016 at 8:54 pm (1 year ago)

      Thanks so much, Lydia. I’m glad you get it. I think a lot of mums will 🙂

      Reply
  5. Bec Senyard
    March 15, 2016 at 6:30 am (1 year ago)

    You need this break Renee. And I know it’s going to be a good for you and your family in so many ways. I hope these next two weeks aren’t too chaotic as you finish up projects so you can start your leave. You know I’m always here for a chat and… we might be able to actually catch up during the week? I reckon our younger girls would LOVE that. x

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 16, 2016 at 8:54 pm (1 year ago)

      Yes, that would be fabulous. I’d love that too x

      Reply
  6. Hugzilla
    March 15, 2016 at 6:38 am (1 year ago)

    Well done for acknowledging that you are at breaking point and making the decision to step back! I’m not a perfectionist and am not terribly driven so I don’t tend to have this problem but I can see how the pressure to do so much and be so much catches up with people. Forget about anyone who wants to sermonise or speculate about your leave of absence. It’s none of their damn business and they can get stuffed.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 16, 2016 at 8:56 pm (1 year ago)

      Haha!True that, Hugzy x

      Reply
  7. Kathy
    March 15, 2016 at 6:55 am (1 year ago)

    Practical Perfection is great and I’m sure the break will be great for you too. I’m so pleased you are doing this for yourself. Work can wait. There is nothing more important than looking after yourself.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 16, 2016 at 8:57 pm (1 year ago)

      Thanks Kathy. I feel like the time is right and if I don’t take the break now, I never will.

      Reply
  8. Adam Edwardson
    March 15, 2016 at 7:01 am (1 year ago)

    Good on ya Ren.

    Reply
  9. Amy @ HandbagMafia
    March 15, 2016 at 7:13 am (1 year ago)

    If you can afford such a break, I say go for it! You’re very lucky to have that luxury and I bet it improves how you see things by quite a bit 🙂

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 16, 2016 at 8:59 pm (1 year ago)

      I am very lucky, Amy. I’m very grateful for the job I have and how flexible they are. Times will be tough for us financially, but I’m also very lucky to have a supportive husband who recognises my unhappiness and knows that we’ve just got to do what we can to make it work.

      Reply
  10. Natalie @ Our Parallel Connection
    March 15, 2016 at 7:17 am (1 year ago)

    Not a perfectionist but I will work at something until i achieve it. This in itself keeps me running around like a chook with no head.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 16, 2016 at 8:59 pm (1 year ago)

      I bet it does, Natalie. Don’t forget to take some time out for you.

      Reply
  11. Min@WriteoftheMiddle
    March 15, 2016 at 7:28 am (1 year ago)

    I’m so, so, so glad you are taking this break Renee! I was just like you but I had to crash and burn completely before I finally took a break. I have learned that making ourselves a priority is a must! I have Kelly’s book too. Haven’t started to read it yet but I have no doubt it will be awesome. 🙂 xo

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 16, 2016 at 9:00 pm (1 year ago)

      Min, I tell you, you will love it xx

      Reply
  12. Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid
    March 15, 2016 at 8:05 am (1 year ago)

    I must read Kelly’s book -her last one was a cracker, and I’m currently listening to her podcast and loving it. I think the world is like one big hamster wheel these days and it’s full of overwhelm. My husband’s stroke at 42 was a massive wake up call for us and since then we’ve tried to do less and rest more. You’re six month break is awesome, but even little daily changes can make a huge difference because everybody needs a break.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 16, 2016 at 9:01 pm (1 year ago)

      Sammie, that is so true. We just need to find those tiny snippets of time during the day every day to do something for ourselves.

      Reply
  13. Nicole@ The Builders Wife
    March 15, 2016 at 9:53 am (1 year ago)

    Go you Renee, so many don’t even take the time to reflect on where they are let alone make big decisions to make change. It sounds like the break is just what you need, and who knows where it might lead! Good luck for the last bit of time at work until you start your break xx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 16, 2016 at 9:09 pm (1 year ago)

      Thanks so much, Nicole x

      Reply
  14. Cathy@lifethroughthehaze
    March 15, 2016 at 9:59 am (1 year ago)

    I am currently on an enforced time out if you like. I didn’t listen to my body, I didn’t tie any of the physical concerns together (neither did my drs), I ignored my head, pushed through the chronic exhaustion, accepted that the constant state of panic I lived with was normal.
    It took a complete physical and mental breakdown where I lost the ability to use the left hand side of my body to land me in hospital. I also in the process have lost my recall to my short term memories. So I have too much unfiled and disorganised information floating around in my head and that means every night I go to sleep and wake up and don’t remember yesterday. There are sometimes familiarities about things but most of the time there’s nothing.
    Good for you for recognising you need to take that time out and that you need to recharge! Enjoy that time.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 16, 2016 at 9:11 pm (1 year ago)

      Oh my goodness, Cathy. I am so sorry to hear this has happened to you. Thank you for sharing. This is an important story to share with other women overdoing it to the extreme. I hope you’re feeling a little better now. What a lesson to learn. Hugs to you.

      Reply
  15. Simone
    March 15, 2016 at 10:36 am (1 year ago)

    Good on you darling! I think I need to read this book and follow in your footsteps by taking some serious steps to getting off the hamster wheel too.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 16, 2016 at 9:13 pm (1 year ago)

      Yes, darling. You are working extremely hard and doing everything you can for bub too. It’s hard not to overdo it. It’s a great read. Quick, helpful and cheap too x

      Reply
  16. JF Gibson
    March 15, 2016 at 10:57 am (1 year ago)

    I hate that we have to justify why we make choices! Good on you for taking time out for you. It is about time we women, and men even, stand up and say, “Hey! I can’t do this anymore.”
    I have no doubt your time will be spent worthwhile relaxing, getting back to who you are, writing and jamberrying. But most importantly you’ll be giving your family the wonderful gift of a mum who knows when to say stop, and get off to be a better person, wife and mother. Love to you hun. x

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 16, 2016 at 9:14 pm (1 year ago)

      Thanks Jodi 🙂 Yep, I’ve definitely reached that point where I can’t do this anymore. Here’s to an exciting six months ahead. Thanks for your support as always x

      Reply
  17. Vanessa
    March 15, 2016 at 11:42 am (1 year ago)

    People seem to assume that we owe them an expectation. Big kudos to you for taking time off – that 6 months off is literally a dream of mine.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 16, 2016 at 9:15 pm (1 year ago)

      Yes, I’m extremely lucky! I’m determined to not waste it.

      Reply
  18. Kelly
    March 15, 2016 at 12:01 pm (1 year ago)

    Enjoy your break! That’s incredibly brave to take some time out for yourself. I mean, it should be done, but not many people do it. Well done. x

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 16, 2016 at 9:16 pm (1 year ago)

      Thanks Kelly. I must admit that among all of the excitement I am nervous about it x

      Reply
  19. Haidee@Maybe Baby Brothers
    March 15, 2016 at 12:19 pm (1 year ago)

    That book sounds really good Renee. I suffered burn out at the beginning of last year and it sent me on a spiral of self destruction (I even deactivated Facebook!). I was just so busy and had two boys at difficult ages, long work days, no time, lived in chaos, had anxiety over stupid little shit and just felt blah! Out of that hole I started writing this blog though! Quitting FB gave me a lot of time on my hands and I channeled it into writing and I haven’t looked back! I’m in such a happy place now and that’s because I am doing something just for ME and something that I really enjoy. Enjoy your break and channel your energy into YOU. You’ll feel soooo much better for it. Recognising that life isn’t fun anymore and you’ve lost your sparkle is the first step, having the courage to then make changes to fix it is a perfect second step!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 16, 2016 at 9:17 pm (1 year ago)

      Thanks so much, Haidee. I’m so pleased to hear you’re in a good place right now and were able to get back to yourself after completely burning out. That would have been a scary time. This blogging caper is very cathartic x

      Reply
  20. EssentiallyJess
    March 15, 2016 at 12:48 pm (1 year ago)

    I’m so pleased for you Renee. You really deserve this.
    And I do hope you buy yourself that cheap bottle of wine. Or even a more expensive one if you like! 😉

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 16, 2016 at 9:18 pm (1 year ago)

      Lol. Thanks Jess 🙂

      Reply
  21. Eva @ The Multitasking Woman
    March 15, 2016 at 1:18 pm (1 year ago)

    Oh Renee!!! I’m so glad you recognised you needed a break! Am I a perfectionist? I was but am working on not being one anymore because my past experience tells me it’s just not worth it. Same with being highly driven. I think I always will be but I’m learning about priorities and learning when to STOP and look after me and not worry about the other people I’m trying to keep happy. Take care lovely. x

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 16, 2016 at 9:18 pm (1 year ago)

      Good on you, Eva. I’m so glad to hear that you’ve found the right balance. The trick now is to try to maintain that balance 🙂 x

      Reply
  22. Ashleigh @ MyMeow
    March 15, 2016 at 3:18 pm (1 year ago)

    Best thing I did in November was quit my job, with no job to go to and no plan. I don’t have kids so the eyebrows I was getting, like “what am I going to do with all that time?” After being stressed out, I did some travelling, travel writing, and it actually took me two months to recover from how stressed I was to think about work again. While we chewed through some savings, now I have a part time job that is better for my mental health. Do it! You will never look back, people question it because they are jealous or they wonder why they did not make better choices for themselves. What we don’t give ourselves enough in this life, is time.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 16, 2016 at 9:20 pm (1 year ago)

      Ashleigh, thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I’ve felt nervous about this and selfish, but ultimately I think it’s what I need to do in order to move forward.

      Reply
  23. Kylie Purtell
    March 15, 2016 at 4:01 pm (1 year ago)

    I have downloaded Kelly’s book to my Kindle but I haven’t started reading it yet. It’s good that you’ve realised how you’re feeling and taking steps to make it better. It’s so important to take time out for ourselves every now and then to just not think about life and relax, or to work out exactly what you’re thinking about life and how you want to change it. To be honest I’m really looking forward to logging off the computer in an hour and switching off my brain from everything but Dave and the girls for a couple of hours.

    Dave and I desperately need some alone time together and it’s been hard to come by lately with both of us working so much (Dave overtime, me booking jobs and doing my marketing course) and because I do my work on Dave’s days off so it doesn’t leave much time for us to just hang out together. We need to book a night away together I think so we can work out a plan for the next year or two because life is about to get very hectic and we need to prepare ourselves for it!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 16, 2016 at 9:22 pm (1 year ago)

      Exactly. I really hope you guys can get that one on one time together. It’s so important.

      Reply
  24. Emily
    March 15, 2016 at 7:06 pm (1 year ago)

    Lovely post. I adore Practical Perfection – and its author! (And I can’t WAIT to see your children’s book. Please please please please please.)

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 16, 2016 at 9:23 pm (1 year ago)

      You’ll be the first to read the draft 🙂 If I can ever get my thoughts together 🙂

      Reply
  25. Vicki @ Knocked Up and Abroad
    March 15, 2016 at 8:59 pm (1 year ago)

    Yay! I’m so pleased to hear you have made this big decision to take time out. This is huge! Us woman folk struggle the most with admitting burn out and actually doing something about it like you have is almost unheard of, so I am very excited for you and for woman-kind. I’m pretty sure I’m suffering from burn out and overwhelm right now but I have no idea how to overcome it when by and large it’s due to lack of sleep! I am at my childrens mercy. Of course frequent little time outs are a must for me. This arvo I went shopping for 2 hours by myself, looking at things for MYSELF. xxx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 16, 2016 at 9:02 pm (1 year ago)

      Oh Vicki!!! What a dream come true for you! Two whole hours to yourself. I hope you spoilt yourself with something. I feel for you at the moment, I really do. I hope that little cutie of yours will give you a decent night’s sleep soon xx

      Reply
  26. Jo @ You had us at hello
    March 16, 2016 at 1:34 am (1 year ago)

    This sounds like an awesome plan Renee! Well done for recognising where you’re at! Clever Kelly – I’ll have to read her book. I’m sure the time out is just the tonic you need. You know what’s best for you – don’t forget it xx

    Reply
  27. Lauren @ Create Bake Make
    March 16, 2016 at 6:09 am (1 year ago)

    I think you are making the best decision for both you and your family Renee. This is exactly what you ALL need. Please don’t feel like you ever have to justify yourself to anyone xx

    Reply
  28. Ashlea @ Glamour Coastal Living
    March 16, 2016 at 8:56 am (1 year ago)

    Yay good for you – I too am a yes person and struggle to say no. I care too much for others and it leaves me drained and depleted at times. I am so proud of you for being able to take this time to recharge your mental and physical health. Go you!! x

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 16, 2016 at 9:04 pm (1 year ago)

      I’m glad you can understand, Ashlea. It sure is draining. I hope you’re taking care of yourself too x

      Reply
  29. Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me
    March 16, 2016 at 1:25 pm (1 year ago)

    Ren I’m super stoked you are having some time out, it’s just what the doctor ordered. Can’t wait to find out more about your book – you’ve got this girl!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 16, 2016 at 9:05 pm (1 year ago)

      Thank you for your support as always super Em xx

      Reply
  30. Robyna | The Mummy & The Minx
    March 16, 2016 at 2:48 pm (1 year ago)

    Good for you. It’s so important to listen to ourselves and make the right choices (even if they seem strange to others). No-one ever wished they worked more when they are nearing the end of life.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 16, 2016 at 9:06 pm (1 year ago)

      So true, Robyna. I feel like if I don’t make this change now, I never will 🙂

      Reply
  31. Elisha
    March 16, 2016 at 7:31 pm (1 year ago)

    Looking fwd to hearing about your next ventures. Well overdue as you have expressed and ever so rightly. Good on you matey and good luck!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 16, 2016 at 9:06 pm (1 year ago)

      Thanks so much, Elisha 🙂

      Reply
  32. Emma @ Life, kids and a glass of red
    March 21, 2016 at 8:38 am (1 year ago)

    Sounds like a great book! Enjoy your time out for a bit. I pressed pause on work awhile ago for a couple of years to refocus on family and to get off the hamster wheel. Best decision.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 25, 2016 at 6:23 am (1 year ago)

      I’m so glad to hear that,Emma! I’ve been feeling nervous about it. It’s great to hear positive stories from other people.

      Reply
  33. Zanni Hacska
    March 23, 2016 at 9:04 am (1 year ago)

    I am so proud of you. What a brave and sensible move x

    Reply
  34. Nicole Roberts
    April 1, 2016 at 8:30 pm (1 year ago)

    I have already read the first chapter and a bit scared to continue as I too know I will be all three and I too know that I need to take time off but for various reasons this is not currently possible. It is so nice to read though that you are. Kudos to you for doing so.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      April 4, 2016 at 6:15 am (1 year ago)

      Thanks Nicole. Yes, definitely finish the book. I’ve found it so helpful and continue to refer to it.

      Reply

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