I was a working mom before divorce, and I worked very hard while married, working a full-time job and a part-time job at times. I always provided the medical benefits for our family during our marriage so a full time job was necessary. There were times that my husband was unemployed, so I would work two jobs to make ends meet.
I had worked as a police dispatcher for 6-1/2 years when I was younger. I left that and started working from home as a medical transcriptionist, which helped me to earn money while raising my family.
That created some unique issues for me. I spent about 16 years at home with very little social contact other than my family. I became a homebody, and not in a good way, in a shower-once-a-week, never-wear-makeup, always-in-sweats sort of way….hmmm, maybe that had something to do with the demise of my marriage too?
After my divorce I was forced by financial need to get out, meet people and find a job to make some real money. I found I suffered from social anxiety and actually would have panic attacks at the thought of going out in public alone, but financial need and my motherly instinct to provide for my children forced me to learn to put on makeup (looking back, there were some funny makeup mishaps I can laugh at now), do my hair and look presentable.
After the divorce I continued to be a working mom, working even harder because now I did not have his full paycheck to supplement mine yet now had a large financial burden. Yes, there was child support regularly coming in. My ex has always been good about child support, but I was struggling to make ends meet because child support is never the same money you are use to having access to while married.
I tried working as a server. I loved having cash in my hand when I ended a shift, but I was a failure at it. I was not good at getting guests in and out quickly, something my 2 oldest daughters (who were experienced servers at the time) had explained to me was necessary to earn good tips. I liked talking to the guests and getting to know them. If you ask my daughters, they say I talk too much, but I see that as a positive thing, not the embarrassment they view it as. I loved getting to know people because after working from home for 16 years, people were a new experience for me and I was enjoying it.
I was easily overwhelmed when things got really busy. Go figure, since serving my large family, I thought for sure, would prepare me for the rigors of serving…NOT! I screwed up orders, I cried…I got my feelings hurt…was not pleasant. Looking back, I was just like a kid…not attractive for a 40-something woman!
Currently, I work 2 part time police dispatch jobs and make a little extra money selling custom cookies from my website. Things do get busy, bordering overwhelming, but I have developed coping skills that help me to push through productively during that time, not meltdown into a sobbing puddle of uselessness. I do not have time for useless behavior, I need to make money and be productive.
Some of the things that I have found to be truly helpful with keeping me from getting overwhelmed, are:
1. Lists, to-do, every day I try to make a list the night before of what I need to get done the next day. This is so helpful to give me purpose in the morning and not waste time.
2. I put appointments, cookie orders, my work schedule and kids events in my iPhone calendar with reminders. This keeps me from forgetting where I need to be and when, and from getting caught of guard.
I would love to hear how you keep yourself organized and on task! Please share in the comments below!