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Do your family/friends understand how busy & pressured you are?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by lucyrose50, Dec 22, 2011.

  1. lucyrose50

    lucyrose50 Occasional commenter

    The reason I'm posting is that as well as being under massive pressure at work, as we all are these days, I'm getting constant pressure from my family (mainly from my parents & grandma) who really don't seem to get the fact that I have virtually no free time and mountains of things filling up my brain, and I'm wondering how other people's friends and family are about it and if you have any suggestions for how to get them to understand it.
    My family are all basically nice people and my parents have always been pretty laid back and supportive, but over the last couple of years every time I talk to them they seem to be having a go at me about something I haven't done - my house isn't tidy enough, my garden needs weeding, I haven't answered their email...the list goes on! My grandma regularly complains to my mum about how all of her other grandchildren phone her and visit her more than I do (she lives 2 hours away from me), and on my birthday recently she sent me a card that said "I haven't bothered buying you a present this year seeing as you didn't get me one on my birthday" (I'd sent her a card, and phoned to apologise for not being able to get over to visit her, which she seemed to accept at the time).
    I've explained over and over again to them how much work I have to do and how difficult I find it fitting everything in, but I can only do this so much before it just sounds like excuses. I find it very hurtful that if I haven't done something that in their opinion I should have done, they immediately come to the conclusion that it's because I don't care rather than thinking that maybe I'm really struggling to do everything I need/want to do. When I recently tried to point this out to them and ask for a bit of understanding, their response was basically to tell me that I need to see it from their point of view and make more effort! I really am at my wits end, I've always been close to my family but it's at the point now where I really don't want to visit them or phone them because it just makes me even more stressed than I already am. Help!
     
  2. lucyrose50

    lucyrose50 Occasional commenter

    The reason I'm posting is that as well as being under massive pressure at work, as we all are these days, I'm getting constant pressure from my family (mainly from my parents & grandma) who really don't seem to get the fact that I have virtually no free time and mountains of things filling up my brain, and I'm wondering how other people's friends and family are about it and if you have any suggestions for how to get them to understand it.
    My family are all basically nice people and my parents have always been pretty laid back and supportive, but over the last couple of years every time I talk to them they seem to be having a go at me about something I haven't done - my house isn't tidy enough, my garden needs weeding, I haven't answered their email...the list goes on! My grandma regularly complains to my mum about how all of her other grandchildren phone her and visit her more than I do (she lives 2 hours away from me), and on my birthday recently she sent me a card that said "I haven't bothered buying you a present this year seeing as you didn't get me one on my birthday" (I'd sent her a card, and phoned to apologise for not being able to get over to visit her, which she seemed to accept at the time).
    I've explained over and over again to them how much work I have to do and how difficult I find it fitting everything in, but I can only do this so much before it just sounds like excuses. I find it very hurtful that if I haven't done something that in their opinion I should have done, they immediately come to the conclusion that it's because I don't care rather than thinking that maybe I'm really struggling to do everything I need/want to do. When I recently tried to point this out to them and ask for a bit of understanding, their response was basically to tell me that I need to see it from their point of view and make more effort! I really am at my wits end, I've always been close to my family but it's at the point now where I really don't want to visit them or phone them because it just makes me even more stressed than I already am. Help!
     
  3. Hi Lucyrose - I am afraid I don't have any real suggestions on how to improve the situation, but I can totally relate to what you are saying that people not doing the job don't really appreciate how all-consuming the job can be. My immediate family are very understanding because they know how much I'm doing - the wider family are less so. For your grandma to be complaining to your Mum is totally unfair - if she has an issue, let her actually talk it through with you, as a fellow adult. She obviously never complained when you called and apologised, but is happy enough to moan to your Mum and then send you unnecessarily snidey birthday cards. I'm so sorry that I don't have any real advice to give you - short of keeping a log of every job done in a working week and missing nothing out for them to see for themselves, I think it goes with the territory. :-( Take care of yourself. You are certainly not alone.
     
  4. I think everyone who teaches can sympathise with you.
    However, you work to live..you do not live to work.
    It is time to put your family first.
    1. Sit down with your line manager in January and be honest with your workload.
    2. Leave school at a designated time every day (5:00, 5:30 whatever) and leave all the work at school.
    Otherwise, what is the point?
     
  5. You sound like a very dedicated teacher - and I totally sympathise with your dilemma I too have a non-teaching family who even after 20 years of me doing this job still cannot understand why I can't leave school at the same time the children do!
    Anyone that has not been a teacher cannot understand the volume of work the job entails - I've lost count of the number of times we have had parent helpers in school who after a few weeks have said they had no idea how hard and demanding the job was. So what I'm saying is ...... it isn't your family's fault. What you need to do is what I have learned to do over the years - prioritise and accept you can't do everything. Your family should be your priority, if your work is impacting on your relationship with them then you need to cut back. Set aside time each week for yourself and your family and keep to it.
    Good luck, I know it's not easy, this isn't a job that ever gets 'finished' [​IMG]
     
  6. lucyrose50

    lucyrose50 Occasional commenter

    I'm no more dedicated than any other teacher, in fact I know many
    people who manage to take on way more responsibilities at school than I
    do, but if I cut back on the time I spend working then I won't be able
    to do all of the tasks expected of me and I'll be in trouble, simple as
    that.
    The odd thing is, my parents were very supportive when I was doing my PGCE and was a big ball of stress with no free time, so I don't see why they can't understand that I'm similarly busy with work now. I'd have actually thought my mum would have some appreciation of what it's like to be so busy, because when I was in my teens I remember her regularly getting stressed about all the things she had to do, and she only worked part time as a teaching assistant, so it surely shouldn't be that difficult for her to think how she'd have felt if she was doing a job like mine.
    Do you know the most annoying thing? Every time I talk to my parents, particularly my mum, she goes on and on about how busy they are and how they have a massive never-ending list of things they need to do...and they're both retired!!!!!
     
  7. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    I agree you should look to see if there is anything you are doing that could be done differently so that you have more personal time. As for your family I'd be more explicit about how you feel or nothing will change. Your gran should have told you how she felt at the time and you should of said how hurt you felt by the card.
     
  8. lucyrose50

    lucyrose50 Occasional commenter

    Believe me, if there was anything I could do to reduce my workload, I would. All of the teachers in my school feel the same this year, we seem to have had loads of extra work piled on us and I know of several people (myself included) who have been told off for not managing to do it all. The situation is clearly not sustainable but we all sort of feel like we're waiting for this message to get through to the leadership team!
    I have done my best to explain to my parents and my grandma how I feel, but it doesn't seem to have done any good. I've tried numerous times in the past, my mum even made me cry last time I saw her because she went on and on about my front garden being a mess (of all things!) even after I'd asked her to please leave it because I'm already under enough pressure. When I visited my grandma the other day I told her that I was upset that she'd thought I didn't care about her because I hadn't bought her a birthday present, and explained again how busy I've been, and her response was to tell me that I'm "lackadaisical" and then write me a cheque for my birthday! Whatever I say, it really doesn't seem to be getting through and it's just an extra stress on top of everything else.
    Thanks everyone for your responses, it helps to know other people know how I feel! I do like the idea of presenting them with a day by day account of all the things I do with my time, I might try that next term :)
     
  9. I think a log of your week - in detail - should show your family why you're up to your ears in work! Or invite your mum to stay during a working week and she can witness it all first-hand!
    If you have so much work that you can't keep up your family relationships, however, you have TOO MUCH work. And you say that you all feel like this at your school this year. (Why? Is there a new head? A new initiative?) So: present management with a log of your week - and I mean all of you! Show clearly how many hours you are having to put in outside the classroom and be specific about what you've been doing. Cover this with a polite memo saying that the workload is unreasonable.
    After all, sweated labour was supposed to vanish in this country over a hundred years ago.... Have a good Christmas break!
     
  10. I think you need to try to get your family to understand the work load, the diary idea is a good one.
    However, I also think your work/life balance needs some re-adjustment, you should have time to pop to the shops, do your gardening, have a bath, whatever you do to unwind. If you recognise that school are asking too much of you then why try to keep it up? What is the worst that will happen if you don't?
    My school has a marking policy that i'd never be able to keep up - every 3 weeks. Which sounds ok, until I point out that I teach 14 different classes. I mark when I need to, and I make sure it's good marking, so when SLT wander in & look at my marking, it's good quality, just not as regularly as they'd like. When they mention this I point out the large number of classes compared to other subjects, they nod, go away & I never hear anything about it again.... I could get stressed & wound up by it all, marking every second of the day, but then i'd be a rubbish teacher. I try to keep my stress levels down as it impacts on me, and therefore my teaching & the learning of my students.
    I don't think I work as many hours as you, but I do work hard & find it frustrating I don't have time to excercise, during the week I work & weekends are for washing clothes & washing up. As a result i've attached my new years resolution below.........
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/teacher-network/2011/dec/07/teachers-work-life-balance?fb=native&CMP=FBCNETTXT9038
    Merry Midwinter!
    Gruffy
     
  11. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    Could you post on secondary and see what people are doing in your situation? If everyone feels the same is it a union issue? People at your school must also have families and you can't keep up that pace. They obviously dont understand when you say you are busy as they are using the same response. If they are retired it would be helpful if they came and just did the garden once to help you get on top of it. However I think the real issue is not your family it is your work life balance x
     
  12. greta444

    greta444 New commenter

    Can you afford a cleaner/gardener for just a few hours a week? Makes a lot of difference to stress levels, especially as you're getting it in the ear about a messy house/garden.
     
  13. carriecat10

    carriecat10 Occasional commenter Community helper

    Great advice if you an arrange it.
    I have a cleaner once a fortnight and do my shopping online so I don't have to spend my weekends cleaning and shopping ... makes a huge difference!
    Once a week I meet up with some girlfriends in the evening. This arrangement makes me organise my time to allow for it to happen. At the weekend I spend a couple of hours finishing planning.
    I prefer to get all my work done at school so I don't bring any work home. One thing that has helped me is organising my time before and after school. At the end of each day I always prepare for the next day first and then spend any spare time marking. In the morning I mark again.
    I have cut down my marking considerably by:
    • getting children to mark their own work
    • asking children to comment on their understanding of the LOs and responding to this comment
    • marking a focus group each week
    • commenting on guided tasks at the time
    Hope some of these ideas help. At some point you have to say 'enough is enough' and make sure you have time to relax and enjoy yourself.
    Carrie [​IMG]
     
  14. jarndyce

    jarndyce Occasional commenter

    Cleaner heartily recommended - shop around, you can often get them agreeing to come every fortnight if you think weekly would be too extravagant!
     

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