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Thursday, September 09, 2010

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Well, it's an on-going battle, isn't it?! It always seems like either work or home is suffering. I think I am doing better than I used to be, though, and here's how I found more peace: Down-sizing my job. I just stepped down from my management-level position for a 24-hour-a-week position that just involves me coming in, doing my work, and leaving. No one reporting to me anymore.

Am i making a LOT less money...? YES. Am I so much more sane that it's hard to measure how much...?! YES YES YES!!! I leave by 3 to pick up kids from school, and one day a week I stay home completely with my daughter. I don't have to wait until 5 or 6 p.m. to hear about the school day; our dinner gets on the table at a reasonable hour; i even get more sleep because i can get chores done after school instead of late at night. IT. IS. AWESOME. Maybe wouldn't work for everyone, but it works for us.

And yes, someday I may go back, when kids are older and less needy. But for now, this feels right for us. We will have less in the way of perks, but we weren't too extravagant to begin with. And money can absolutely not buy one's sanity. : )

I am failing miserably in this area, and I'm not sure if I can correct it. Late nights, and weekends when my toddler leaves for Grandma's are the only times I get to work. It's hectic around here. I have to admit, it's nice to know I'm not the only one having a hard time with this. And when I complain, family members actually think I'm whining because as a attorney, I should know how to balance my time. Sad they don't realize that a J.D. has nothing to do with trying to be a wife and mom... I struggle just like everyone else.

Love this, Anna. I am going to check out the resources. And love your 5 tips. I'm trying to focus on #4 these days, and (surprise!) I'm finding work and parenting much less stressful and much more enjoyable! Thanks for the peek behind the curtain. xoxo

I'm right there with you, and have been for years as well. I too struggle to do it all and have it all and jam it all into 24 hrs/day. But having tried a variety of arrangements, schedules, and child care options, I can say one thing with certainty & conviction - if it ain't working after a couple months time, change it.

I tried working around my kids' naps/preschools & with very PT sitters - it didn't work so well. It's too much stop/start to really dig into & focus well on anything - which is why I'd end up working into the wee hours of the night when all was nice & quiet (OK, I still do that often enough but I'm getting better about it!).

I tried a more regular nanny at home - that also wasn't so great (the kids, once they were old enough, about 18mos-2 yrs, knew I was here in my office- which is a dedicated home office - even with the door shut & we could sometimes hear each other & it was distracting for all of us).

Then, despite all my fears & preconceived notions about daycare, after being a FT SAHM then PT WAHM for 4 yrs, I tried it. It's a daycare center located in a home with teachers who hold masters degrees in early childhood education etc. (which I do not!). We started very slowly, very PT - my then 2 & 4yo loved it - it was like a big playdate with friends with new toys etc.. My children have been thriving there. My youngest will start there too once she's walking and down to one nap a day. For now she's still home with me & a PT sitter who comes to read books & play with her between her naps. I get kisses & hugs as they pass by my office - it's great.

While my kids are very happily playing and learning (my oldest just started kindergarten!) I am able to really focus on my work and it's amazing how much more productive I can be when I have consolidated/focused work hours. Then, when the school day is over, I can turn it all off (at least for several hours) to focus just on them, have dinner and spend some time with my husband, and focus on the "life" part of the equation.

It's a total struggle, no doubt, but I still think it's worth it, don't you? Good luck! (See you at 12am soon I'm sure! ;)

"always working on her computer and always smelled like coffee."

Yes! and Oh Dear!

As I begin my new venture I'm realizing it's OK to ask for help. To take my kids to Grandma's or hire a sitter for a while.

I'm not superwoman and I shouldn't try to be. :)

I think this is something that can't be learned or practiced perfectly. Life never stops changing, what works for a while may not next year.

Thanks for posting. This is something I've been thinking about lately.

Thanks for the comment, Kristina! I agree - my tactics keep changing as the kids grow and my schedule is modified based on my projects and endeavors. We strictly rely on nannies (and now preschool 2X a week) because our families are in Texas. So, I have to choose and use the hours wisely! I am relieved to know that I am not the only one suffering from a work/life imbalance!
Thanks - look forward to meeting you.
Anna

Danielle,
Thanks so much for the comment! I do think it is worth it for sure. As much as I complain about the imbalance of work/life, I would not have it any other way! Sounds like you have figured out a good system (for now, anyway). Darling 2 just started in the Toddler Room where Darling 1 is attending Pre-K. It is so nice for them to go to "school" for a few hours a few days a week to play with and interact with other kids, plus have a nanny for a bit too. And yes, that still means that I am up far too late every single night. A work of a mom/lawyer/wife/wanna-be domestic goddess never ends!

Thanks, Anna

Thanks, Nic! I know you know how difficult it is to work from home full-time and raise a family full-time. Glad you found it helpful. I, too, am really trying to "be present" with whatever I am doing!!! This is not always easy!

Thanks for your support! It would be harder without you.
Anna

L. Eleana,

I could have written your comment about my life. Thanks for making me feel that I am not alone in my disorganized life! Love what I am doing, love my kids, but need a large staff on hand for everything to run properly - I'll keep dreaming -that is if I ever get to sleep!!!!
Thanks for reading and commenting!
Anna

Katy,
I hope your new schedule goes well! It sounds like a good fit for your whole family. I know you are excited about it! Good for you for recognizing that you needed a change and making it happen! Good luck to you!

Thanks for the support!

Anna

There is this Calvin & Hobbes comic strip that I think of when I get overwhelmed. Calvin is carrying a tall stack of books. Holmes asks what he's doing with so many books? Calvin replies that he has homework and this interest and that interest, and he is so far behind on his reading that he will never die. That's exactly how I feel about everything that I need and want to do! My (imperfect) resolution has been to 1) prioritize what's important; and 2) let go of the things that aren't important. So what if the dishes don't get washed right away or I'm a few minutes late or I don't have time to get my makeup just right or whatever it is that's holding me back from taking care of what's important. I will never be a domestic goddess - witness my unread Martha Stewart magazines - but I will have spent time with my family when they need it. And when I need it.

Bridgette
So sorry I'm replying to your comment so late. I read it and felt that I had replied, but see that I had not.
Good tips, indeed. You are so right too. Sometimes I need to be reminded about what is really important in this life too!

Thanks for reading and commenting,
Anna

Yes, motherhood=guilt! Now that the twins are here, I am learning to let things go!
For instance, sometimes we live out of laundry baskets. You read correctly! If I don't fold the laundry we get it out of the basket:). My kitchen RARELY looks straight! Does it bother me, yes. But as hard as I've tried I cannot keep bottles, bottle drying rack, formula, lunchbox etc. etc. off the counters for very long! I don't even want to talk about my closet! I work one to two days a week that I call my "days off":). Being a mom is hard and I'm certainly not going to pretend like I have it all together. I won't ever have it all together and for the most part I'm ok with it. I have my days but my kids are healthy and happy. Strengthening my faith and building loving relationships with my husband and kids trump the rest:)

Thanks, Liz! I'm sure you are an amazing mom and nurse;You were always so nurturing to us in college! Well said! Love you!

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