dear readers: how can one be fascinating when worn out?

The following is a query I recently received. My response below.
Feel free to add your comments.

Dear Fascinating Woman,

After following Fascinating Womanhood for over a year I've been forced back into working outside the home because my husband lost his job for over 3 months. Due to financial pressures, not to mention poor money decisions made in the past, we are forced to have both of us work outside the home until we either get completely out of debt or have a child (we both agree that a mother should stay home to raise the children.) But until that time comes, I'm stuck feeling in between worlds and I see the effect it's having on my home and marriage. My husband is not doing his part anymore, and I'm often so tired from work that I have let other aspects of our life slide (including housework, cooking, and definitely my appearance.) I am not feeling feminine at all.

Are there any specific baby steps I can take to still be a Fascinating Woman but still help my family in our time of need? We are already cutting the costs as much as possible and are working with our Church leaders and specialists to get our debt down as fast as possible, so not working right now is not an option.

Please help.

Thank you readers for any response. Please note that if you send a response via email I will post it in the comments section. This is the "official recommendation" I sent:

I think you need three things: a clear vision shared by your husband, more purpose, and some "girl" time.

For the first I think you need to have a series of conversations with your husband. Probably no more than 20 minutes. Where you have his undivided attention. I think the two of you need to come to a clear understanding of what your vision is for your family/marriage over the next 6 months - 2 years. Bring things out of the grandiose and down to specifics; such as, Who is doing what chores? Should we hire someone to clean house once a month? When do we budget? How do we keep ourselves to the budget? What are the actual numbers involved (incomes, debts, savings goals)? What sort of dates can we go on? What sort of activities are fun for the two of us? Do we need to plan times for intimacy? If so, when? Should we cut tv/video game/internet time? To how much? . . . and so on. I want to emphasize that this should be a shared vision. Not his vision, not your vision. Though I recommend having ideas to start the conversations with. (p.s. re-read through the information on being a "female counselor" and "responding with childlikeness" to help diffuse any defensiveness that may arise - or a kissing alarm may suffice.)

As to the second I think having a shared vision will help you feel that there is a purpose to your day-to-day activities. Still it is important to have a personal purpose and investment in what you are doing. Yes, you are working to help your family be financially solvent, but is there more to your work environment? Would you be less tired in a different field, or different environment? Do you want something where you show up, put in the time and go home with little supervision? If you did something where you weren't on your feet would you have more energy at home? . . . and so on. I'm not referring to just work purpose, what is your purpose in having your possessions? (and cleaning them, and organizing them, and so on) Maybe if you had fewer things you'd feel less stressed about housekeeping. Or, at least, if you knew their purpose you might feel less agitated. Anything you're feeling "ugh" about can have the "purpose" questions applied to it.

As to the third, "girl" time. This essentially means two things: you need time to be a girl; and you need time to be with girls. In specific terms I suggest "girl's night out (or in)" planned dates 1 - 3 times a month. Also plan time to be feminine: time to dress up for something, or to get a haircut, or wear your prettiest apron and make a new or favorite food, or watch a tender movie, or even time to just talk and share without trying to solve any of the problems. Just airing them out, so to speak. (more on this at the end of post "when my husband is wrong")

Hope that helps.
~Miss Liss

  1. I am grateful for youtube videos of a "roaring fire" you know the kind used in motel rooms. hee hee
  2. I am grateful for a trustworthy fishmonger.
  3. I am grateful for hazelnut chocolates.
  4. I am grateful the ayurvedic herbals are helping my body so much.
  5. I am grateful for prayer.


Fiona said...

By simplifying your life and doing little things each day. Look at outside obligations and see if they eat into your time and if they are worth that. Doing a little thing each day be it shave your legs and put moisturiser on them, do a load of washing or superficial tidying up of the living room or bedroom I find help me keep on top of things and feel positive. Go to bed early and get plenty of rest. You may feel like you should stay up late to get things done, but then just wake up exhausted the next day so it's not worth it. I have heard it said that an hour before midnight is worth two after. Better to get up early and do those things. Hope this helps.

Heartful of Hope said...

First, please let me offer sympathy - I know how hard this can be.... and wish that I could just offer a list of rules to make things go smoother and be less stressful. I think Fiona offers some good advice, and would like to add not to feel guilty about cutting out outside obligations and trying to make earlier bedtimes.
Also, try setting aside a few minutes a day (even if it's just ten) to 1). take extra care of your feminine appearance (shave, do your nails, whatever), and 2). straighten up some room in the house.
Lastly, try to include healthy food each day ( even if it's just a banana, apple, or carrot sticks
for lunch). It's really hard to maintain long term energy without some good-for-you food.
Hope that this is helpful to you!