My life is pretty stressful.
I’m not sure if stressful is the right word though. It’s busy and chaotic and very full, and it’s very loud and shouty with so many kids, but does that make it stressful? Or just crazy?
Rob’s life is very stressful. He has a borderline insane wife, four very lively children, a home life that is about as far from relaxing as you can get – and a super high pressured job to add to the mix.
I don’t know if you can compare the two and have them both fall under the same ‘stress’ umbrella, but sometimes we compare notes and try to work out which of us has the harder job and we can’t decide.
I would say Rob’s stress levels by about 11am on a saturday are around the same as they would be at around 11am on a bad day at work. The sort of stress where you feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle and want to go and lock yourself in a cupboard, away from people harassing you.
Some days Rob calls me in the afternoon to see how my day is going and I’ll say, “oh my God where do I start? Well Luca nearly got run over on the way to school because he was chasing a lizard and when I got back to the car I realised his bag was still in it and then when I got home the cat had spewed all over the sofa and the bloody tiler left the gate open so the dog ran away and when I got back to the house after rescuing him I’d locked myself out and I’m feeling really fat and haven’t run enough this week and I’m tired because bloody Jude is a freaken insomniac and I miss London and it’s too f***ing hot and what do you care and basically my day is just shit”. Thanks for asking.
“How about you, how’s your day at work going. Way better than mine probably”.
To which he’ll reply “Oh you know, fair to middling. Well we didn’t get the <insert ridiculous amount of money here> funding for xyz which means the project is stalled and the company will lose a stack of cash if we don’t get it elsewhere. Council are being a pack of assholes and won’t sign off on xyz and I just don’t have enough hours in the day. I won’t be home until midnight tonight because I have a teleconference to London and I’ve got to write a board paper when I get home before my meeting at 7am tomorrow. But it’s fine we’ll sort it out. Hope your day improves and by the way you aren’t fat”.
So then I just feel all shit and ridiculous because while I’m getting all stressed about the damn dog getting out again, he’s worried about the company’s welfare. Not quite apples and apples.
But he never says anything about his job being harder than mine because he copes with them equally. He finds being at home with the kids just as stressful as it is at work.
Isn’t that the craziest thing? But it’s true! Sometimes a weekend spent with the kids is so mental that I think it’s a relief to get on his sardine can packed train and shuffle back to the city come monday morning. I’d probably be scratching at the door trying to get out like I was being chased by a lion if it were me.
Today I was in the car and I rang him. It rang out but I never leave a message because it would go to the end of the voicemail queue in about ninety fourth place after all the calls he gets each day. So a minute later he sends me a text “IN MEETING CAN’T TALK WILL CALL YOU LATER”.
The reason he actually does that is because one particular afternoon when I had the shits, I had a go at him and said “one of these days something serious is going to happen when I need to contact you urgently and because you never answer your phone or reply to my sms’ or emails, you won’t know about it. It really worries me”.
So rather than call me a drama queen as I probably would have done, he just says “okay, I’ll take that on board. I hear what you’re saying”. So bloody sensible it’s ridiculous.
That and because weird and strange things do happen to me. Like running over a motorcyclist in my car (tick), or the workman digging the pool has broken his arm and been taken off in an ambulance (tick), or there is a fox hiding in our lounge room under the sofa (tick) … never a dull moment in my world.
But today it was another urgent thing I needed to tell him, so I knew he’d started to worry when he’d seen my few missed calls so when he texted back he couldn’t chat and was everything okay, I just texted him instead.
“I WAS CALLING TO TELL YOU THAT I JUST ATE A CUPCAKE AS BIG AS MY HEAD”.
It’s no wonder he doesn’t reply half the time. Don’t really help my own cause do I?