The last year and a half have been both physically and mentally draining. In the first 6 months of this year, I have been sick 5 times. Twice, I have needed to take antibiotics and that included a bout of pneumonia. Is it normal for parents to be sick so often?
I have been sick more times in the last 6 months than the previous 20 years combined. It is probably due to the fact I put a colossal amount of stress on my body and never get a chance to recover. My day is jam packed from 5AM until 10PM. I usually get between 6-7 hours sleep but maybe that is not enough.
I put my regular illness down to two things. Firstly, the lack of sleep and secondly, the amount of stress that my schedule causes me. I cannot remember the last time that I got a full 8 hours uninterrupted sleep. Either the babies wake up because they are sick or because of the heat or I wake up when the sun comes up and cannot go back to sleep.
My schedule is crazy. Since having the twins, I try maximise every second of my day. I feel that I spent the first 33 years of my life having fun and now I am playing catch up. The pressure of being the sole bread winner and wanting to perform at a high level in so many areas of life is draining. This pressure could be the reason that I am sick all the time. Maybe I should follow this advice.
In work, I put a tremendous amount of focus on my performance. This comes from an internal desire to make as much money as possible for my family. At home, I do everything in my power to give Olivia as many breaks as possible. In the evenings and on the weekends, I force her to take a break. While forcing her to take breaks, I never force myself to take breaks. If I take break from working or looking after the babies then I feel guilty.
On top of that, I write, work out, study German, meditate and read every single day. I ask myself, is it getting to a stage where it might all be too much? The most demanding two things are minding the twins and working. Between work and the twins I do about 90-100 hours of work per week.
“Between work and the twins I do about 90-100 hours of work per week.”
Berlin is one of the best cities in the World for raising a family. It’s safe, it’s affordable, there are more playgrounds and parks then you can imagine and Kindergarten/Education is free. This family friendly city comes with a price, the family sizes are much smaller. Smaller families means less help. They say it takes a village to raise a child. This was true for my childhood in Ireland but it’s not true here in Berlin.
Having twins and limited amount of help makes life that much harder. It is very hard to get a break from being a parent. As a working dad, I do not get many breaks from work and looking after the twins. Occasionally, one child will stay with their aunty or grandmother but that means that we still have on child. It seems like a break but it’s not a complete break. I think this lack of downtime is contributing to my regular sickness.
Writing this post has given me a lot of clarity and helped to understand that I am doing too much. Burning the candle at both ends is not healthy and I do not want to end up with a serious illness. Has anyone else been in a similar situation? I would love to hear from you in the comments below