I just came off a week of being on call. During that week I remained in a state of anxiety. I carried my work cell around as if my life depended on it, and I checked it regularly to make sure the battery was charged and that I hadn’t missed any calls.
But Friday at 8 AM my week ended, and at 5 PM I turned that phone off.
Yesterday my body was tired. I was thinking of all the things I needed and wanted to do this weekend, but I couldn’t seem to get myself to move. I spent the day napping and lying on the couch watching tired reruns. And that’s OK. It’s what I needed.
My job title is Child Protective Investigator, but the title in no way describes what I do.
I must walk into a home and make a determination, based on what I see and hear, as to whether or not a child is safe. Sometimes it’s easy. Other times it requires quick thinking to spot the truth amongst the bullshit.
But that’s not all I do.
I provide free transportation to places related to a case, such as counseling and medical appointments.
I am a Life Coach. I encourage people, but mostly women, to look beyond their current circumstances and aim for those lofty goals they’ve hidden for so long.
I am a lay counselor, specializing in all sorts of relationship counseling.
I teach parenting skills, and model those skills with their children.
I am a mediator between parents who cannot or will not talk to each other about the needs of their child.
I’m a man tracker. Yes, folks do hide from me, and I must be creative in finding ways of hunting them down.
I’m not doing all this for just one family. Oh no. I have anywhere from 15 to 25 active cases at any one time.
People call me all hours of the day and night. That’s why I turn my cell phone off after work hours if I’m not on call. And even that doesn’t keep them out of my head. I worry about children. I wonder if parents are doing what they need to be doing. I pray for families.
And sometimes I get sick of it all and decide I’m dealing with a bunch of idiots, and the planet would be a much better place without the lot of them.
So you see, I get how people who do animal rescue get tired and frustrated with people. God knows I do.
It’s important that we each take care of ourselves. For me, that means I have to sing. I have to write. I have to laugh.
I also have to be aware of what it is about me that attracts me to jobs such as these. I need to feel helpful, but I can’t let that need override my other needs. When I let the superhero take control, I get burnt out and I am not an effective helper. I’m not an effective anything.
Truth be told, while my job is important, it’s more important I take care of me.
So what is it that you do to take care of you?