Workin’ 9-5…

Wow, that was a bit of an unplanned blogging hiatus. Is it egotistical of me to apologize for not blogging, like assuming that I’m important enough that you missed me or something? :) I’ve been trying to sign in for the last two days but it wasn’t working. I just reset our internet and all of the sudden Google likes me again. So weird. 

So the lack of blogging can only be attributed to the need to do other things. The beginning of the month is sometimes busy for me with having to send out email updates to friends and family, and to mission supporters. Then there’s the accounting/receipting that needs to be done. And quarterly I get to do the newsletter and make sure it gets sent off to the right people for printing and sending in a reasonable amount of time. All of that fell on my desk last week and threw me.
See, I’ve been trying, well thinking and planning, to have a more structured mommy vs. work time. As in, having specific work hours each week where I could focus on just work as much as possible, and then freeing myself up to do mommy and home stuff the rest of the time. I thought the transition would have been easier, but to be honest, it’s a challenge to work and live in the same place. Our Monday through Friday routine starts at 6 am when we open the doors. This is the time that all our workers arrive on site and we need to be available. While I get breakfast going Chris does a walk through the yard checking in with everyone and letting them know that he knows they’re there and that they need to get going. Having our home and office in a space that’s only about 900 sq. feet doesn’t warrant much separation from things and it’s challenging for me. Some days I want to cook breakfast in my pajamas, but I can’t. Some days I want to spend a few hours doing Leslie things that I know would be good and healthy for me. My goal is to get a schedule going where everyone knows that I’m “working” at specific times of the week. Frankly I don’t think our workers care, I think it’s something that’s needed more for us as a family because Chris and I have kind of gotten into a routine and we need to change up the routine because I know it’ll be better for everyone. 
One thing that I struggle with, with trying to do the separation, is that I feel like we live in a fish bowl. Our house is round. We have windows all around that have big shutter doors and bars. No glass, no louvers. If we want the house to be a reasonable temperature we need to keep the shutters open. Keeping the shutters open means that everyone can see in and see everything that we’re doing. There is little privacy, there is no where to go to get away from things. One thing that’s different about our mission and many others that we see is that we don’t have a wall. We live right on the beach, so putting a wall up means that we cut off a great beach view. Walling in three sides of the property and leaving one open doesn’t make sense because a wall is essentially there for security measures. The result is that everyone walking by on three of the four sides has a great view of our lives, all day long, seven days a week. When you feel like you’re always available to be watched it leaves a sense of needing to be doing something. Anything. 
That, and the fact that all day long, five days a week, we have people on site that are working. Busy working. Hard working. Two days a week I have someone in my house working. I feel a pressure that I should be leading by example because I don’t want people to think I’m not pulling my weight. The result is that I can sit on my computer all day long because it looks more like work than if I was sitting a reading a book. I might not be doing anything important but I am doing a good job of making it look like I am. I have tried to cut back on the mission work that I do so I can be a mom and focus on Olivia, but I don’t always feel like I have the freedom to do that. I know much of it is self imposed, but it’s hard to break free from that when I’ve ingrained it in my head for the last two and a half years. I find I have a hard time equating my work as a mom – being available for my daughter – and a wife with the work I do for the mission. Isn’t that weird? I want to put my family first, and work second, but I’m still having a hard time getting there, finding the balance. 
That was a long winded explanation to say that work got the better of me this last week. I know that I need to set some specific boundaries, such as setting specific work hours and letting the people that need to know, know, so there aren’t expectations of anything else. I also need to work on it personally and give myself the freedom to do other things, to push those voices out of my head that are telling me that I *should* be “working”. 
Phew. Sometimes it’s nice to vent. :)
The other “busyness” around here has just been general life stuff. Tuesday Chris, Matt, Olivia and I took a trip to Port to deliver a bunch of filters and then visit some friends. It was actually a really nice day and we had a great visit. 
The dorm is coming along well, and aside from a small problem with the windows that should be taken care of this week, we’re right on target for finish day – next week. Next Wednesday to be exact. My aunt is arriving Wednesday and will be staying in the house so Matt needs to be moved out to the dorm where he’ll live until Phase Two of the project is done. We’ve got the painting almost done and it looks so good in there! We’re really excited about how the project is coming together and can’t wait to use the building. 
Last week we set training dates. It was all dependent on the dorm being done and now that we’re in sight of that mark we could set dates. We’ve had people waiting since last summer when the hold up was a container shipment carrying our new welder, something we needed for making molds which newly trained technicians need to get started. Once we got the container we went to work on the molds, but then knocked down the building where everyone stays when we have classes. 
I always have to look at the calendar in advance to emotionally prep myself for what’s coming. The reason being is the big stuff on the calendar, like doing classes and hosting visitors tends to mean more involvement from me whether it’s preparing class materials, doing meal plans or prepping accommodations. I also tend to do much better with routine and need to gear up for a big change to that. It’s hard to having people here 24/7 because we do live in a fish bowl. You’re sort of always “on” and don’t get the same time to unwind and regroup. It is wearing as much as it might be enjoyable. 
As of now every other week has something happening, or people visiting, from now until the end of the year. In a week and a half my aunt arrives. In August we’re hosting two training classes. In September I leave for a week and the guys are on their own with Little Miss O. Five days after I return we host a group. Then we have tentative plans to be visited by a potential volunteer followed by a Vision Trip. Two weeks off and another Vision Trip, five days off and a visit from Chris’ mom and sister (yay!), then a few weeks and my family arrives for the holidays. Oh, and sometime in the fall we might try to squeeze  another training in. Yes, it’s enough to make ones head spin. And yes, it does feel overwhelming to think of it like this, but it is what it is and I know we’ll move through it well. I just need to gear up :)
This is a complete diversion, but I’m interested in feedback on this one. Olivia has developed a whine. A whine that seems to be present for about 90% of her waking hours. I have all sorts of theories for it and why it’s manifested itself. Is it the upset in routine for the last three months? Is it that she’s frustrated that she can’t be more mobile? Does she need more entertainment? Does she just need us more? Does she want to be held more? Sigh. Chris and I are getting to be pretty much done with it and have no freakin’ idea what to do. She was such an easy baby for the first 5 months of her life. She still is easy. Just easy with a whine. :) Any suggestions? 
With that I’m going to sign off and go watch Numbers with my guy. It’s our goal to watch the entire third season this weekend. Okay, not really, but almost. :) We’re goons and do nothing but sit around and watch tv shows on our days off. It’s where the fans are and it means not having to exert energy when it’s hot. 
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About Leslie

I'm Leslie. Wife. Mother. Missionary. In the day to day my husband and I are responsible for running Clean Water for Haiti, a humanitarian mission that builds and distributes water filters to Haitian families. Living in Haiti full time provides lots of stories, and as I tell my husband, our grandkids probably won't believe most of them. Maybe writing them down will give me some credibility.

2 thoughts on “Workin’ 9-5…

  1. Hey Les, Is her tummy hard? It may be that she has gas or could be lactose intolerant. My son was like that until I found out he was lactose intolerant and switched to soy based formulas. After that life was good again.Good luck

  2. Hi LesI think the girl may have found her voice. It is the THING to do, when you find it you use it. She is a girl!Hope you keep up the great blogs.I am coming to Haiti again in October.Would love to visit or to catch up with you if you are not swamped at that time.If you and Chris need a sitter, let me know!Keep strong and committed to the cause.Lori

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