My life is stressful (and how!)
November 15, 2004 9:20 AM   Subscribe

My life is overflowing with stress. I have a wife and a 3 year old. We moved recently to a metropolitan area and we are having serious issues adjusting. I may have miscalculated the financial burden of where we are living, although we moved here to make more money, in addition my wife is starting two new jobs and is now having health problems (which she is blaming on the stress). Neither of us are the most organized people in the world and family won't be much help financially (in fact issues on my side of the family are adding to the stress). If you've been in this sort of situation, how the hell do I get out? What is the first step?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The first step is to decide that you're over your limit and your life has to be changed. Even if it takes you a year to get the breathing room to begin thinking about moving, changing jobs, whatever, it will calm you down a little to know that you've made a decision and you won't have to keep on dealing with this exhausting routine forever.

Know your limit. Work + relationship + urban sensory overload frequently drives me batty, and that's good for no one.
posted by scarabic at 9:45 AM on November 15, 2004

If you are in Austin, I will babysit for free! Email is in my profile. Some churches offer (nearly) free mother's-day-out programs on a regular basis, too.

We uprooted our lives, moving away from free childcare and our parents to go to grad school. We agreed that we didn't really have the option of backing out once we got here, so we just set about dealing with the pressures any way possible.

If you decide to stay, I would advise building up your community contacts. Introduce yourself to neighbors, get involved with an organization and/or church where you can find folks you relate to, spend time talking to co-workers about their favorite haunts and free entertainment in your area. You will feel less stress if you make a few friends.

Someone else will have to counsel you on how to leave. Good luck!
posted by whatnot at 9:46 AM on November 15, 2004

It's really hard to make good decisions when you're stressed or panic-ed. If at all possible, you and your wife should find a way to have someone take care of your 3 year old for an afternoon, and spend some time together trying to go over the financial plan in a rational way - like how much is coming in and how much needs to go out every month. Try to make it a totally rational numbers based discussion, and don't budget imaginary money (like if I get this gig, I'd be bringing in X hundreds).

If you got more going out than coming in, you'll only be able to sustain it for as long as you've got savings.

With this analysis in hand, you and your wife will need to decide if you can deal with the sacrifices that will be called for if you stay. It's really hard when you're right on the edge, but if you're all working together without illusions and with a shared committment, it can help bring families together.

On the other hand, if you find that you're really not prepared for a hugely stressful, couple of years with no money coming in, don't be embarrassed to pack it in and make a new plan. Sometimes "staying the course" is good, but other times it's better to just cut your losses and bail, in my opinion.
posted by jasper411 at 10:02 AM on November 15, 2004

Finding, and Getting, The Help You Need
posted by ruelle at 11:08 AM on November 15, 2004

Yeah, definitely don't drive yourselves over a cliff because you're reluctant to admit you might have made a mistake.

Even if you can't just fix everything in one fell swoop, you'll almost certainly find that confronting the issues together, and affirming your joint commitment to dealing with it, will go a long way to making the personal/emotional piece less stressful.

As a good example, I'd hazard a guess that the stress your wife feels isn't just from working very hard, but from just not knowing when the situation is going to end. She's also maybe concerned that you're somehow OK with the current circumstances, or just not up to dealing with it head on. Sitting down with her, working through a very clear profile of where you are right now, and then deciding what to do about it would probably do a lot to help her see the light at the end of the tunnel. It also puts you both in a situation where you can reinforce each other when the tough decisions that are going to get you out of the tight spot need to be made.
posted by LairBob at 11:13 AM on November 15, 2004

Find someone to look after the child for a day (or two) and sit down with your wife somewhere nice (local coffee shop, museum, etc) and think about how to relieve some of the pressures. If you can do this on a weekday it will be better as the coffee shop or whatever will be less busy and give you more time to chat. Art galleries and the like are good as you can stroll and relieve your mind of obvious worries. You'd be surprised what kinds of solutions might pop into your head as you stare at a painting...
posted by humuhumu at 11:36 AM on November 15, 2004

See if either of your wife's jobs has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). This is precisely what they're there for.

Ask for help. Call friends or sympathetic family members and talk it out.

If you're part of a church or similar organization, ask for help there. Even a few hours of babysitting time a week would help you and your wife have time to plan and cope.

You could email one of the responders in this thread with your location. Maybe there's a MeFite nearby who could help. Good luck.
posted by theora55 at 12:06 PM on November 15, 2004

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