Enjoying Balance

As you probably know I work part time – three days per week – so I can spend the rest of my time with these special guys:

my guys

It can be a bit of a juggle, but we make it work. I was going to share some tips but I’d like to hear from you instead :)

Do you have a story to share or advice on being a working parent? How do you make it work?

11 thoughts on “Enjoying Balance

  1. David S. ( @seemsArtless on Twitter )

    I work five days a week, but have the good fortune to work from home two days a week. On those days I can walk my daughter to school and pick her up in the afternoons; we can talk about the day, (literally) stop to smell the flowers, and I can have those brief conversations with other parents that helps keep us connected.

  2. wonderwebby

    Hi David. That’s lovely (I now have a mental picture of you stopping ot smell the flowers together) – I also really appreciate the opportunity to work from home some days. So true that those brief conversations with other parents help to keep you connected.

    Thanks for the link Yura!

  3. Kieran

    I have a colleague (nameless to protect the guilty) who one week decided to experiment: He would not respond to a single e-mailed request, “urgent” or not. At the end of the week, it turned out that every emergency resolved itself without his intervention, every client request changed (so any action he might have taken would have required rework), and every help-me-Obi-Wan-you’re-my-only-hope plea was served equally well by some flavor of Google.

    No, I don’t think my colleague’s results are typical, and I don’t think this is something that can be attempted in any old week. But I also don’t believe there’s EVER been or will be a week when ignoring my children like this would yield comparable results.

    I try to avoid viewing “balance” as a goal, since it means a constant struggle, with more effort pouring into hourly recalibration than into either work or life. Instead, I’ve adopted a model I call, “Who can I afford to disappoint today?” Mostly, I work my butt off to ensure the answer isn’t, “My kids.”

  4. wonderwebby

    Kieran, what a great way to explain it – and what a great reality check!

    I don’t think balance should be a goal either (I want a full life, not a balanced life.) Balance in this context is about balancing your priorities and the things that matter. It’s about weighing things up every second of every day to assess how (and if) things are working for your family- an altogether different kind of ambient intimacy and continuous partial attention;)

    Nice to see you here KK

  5. lwayswright

    I work 5 days a week. I have been a stay at home mom for a few years now so this is quite a change! My kids are teenagers, however, the change was quite a big deal to them. No matter how old kids get they still want to know mom is available when they need her. So, there has been mommy guilt for sure, and we have had to learn to juggle things a bit differently. But the good part is that the kids are now seeing first hand what it is mom has been doing, without help pretty much, around the house etc. They have stepped up quite a bit to start helping out and have learned that as a family we really need to pull together or it just won’t work. It has been a growing time for all of us. Not easy…but well worth it!

  6. wonderwebby

    lwayswright I think there is “mommy guilt” and juggling whether you are a stay at home mother or working mother (have experienced both scenarios myself.) The tips I read on keeping balanced seem to apply to both scenarios!

    I’m glad you and your family are finding your rhythm :)

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  8. susan

    I went back to work full-time two years ago, leaving “behind” a 14, 11 and 8 year old. The past two years have been a roller coaster of emotions – the excitement of being back in a professional environment with lots of co-workers to enjoy, and the sadness and utter despair of missing the kids, them missing me, and the speed-of-light pace at which my life now operates. I have now seen all sides – stay-at-home, work-from-home, working mom and this is definitely the hardest. Now I want to – need to – change it up again before I wither and die. Problem is we’ve “adjusted” to the full-time income and now we’re stuck. And then there’s the little matter of my passion – writing – and how to make my dreams come true and earn a dime in the process. I am over the top right now. Sorry. Just stumbled on your blog and started dumping.

  9. wonderwebby

    Susan – thanks for your honesty. It’s a huge thing – to admit and share when things are not working. So many people drift through life never stopping to consider what changes they can make to improve their situation. I sincerely hope you get ‘unstuck’ and also find a way to pursue your dream.

  10. Michelle Zamora

    Hi Jas, Well let’s just say parenting is the greatest and most rewarding of challenges. For our family, both my husband and I work, however 5 days for me was a challenge. So, we made a few changes that are working for our family. Here is my top hints list
    1. Compressed working weeks
    2. Flexible working hours – integrate work commitments with the needs of your family. It is great to work a little later so you can have time off during the day to attend school concerts for instance
    3. Working from home
    4. Family calendars – to organise and balance family commitments
    5. School programs – some advise from one of my mummy friends was to take advantage of the after school sporting and musical programs. So rather than tracing all over the city with after school training, the kids take advantage of what the school has to offer. Saves travel, time and sanity!

    However, I tend to agree with lwayswright – the mummy guilt factor is a challenge and always there. Wouldn’t it be lovely if there was a guilt fairy who could simply take your guilt and leave you a nice shiny perspective each day!

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