I’ve neglected this blog to concentrate on the work/life balancing act and I must admit that it’s hard in many ways but also not as hard in some ways. In my usual pessimistic way, I will start off with the “ugly” truths.
– You will miss your kids. Even if you have a short commute or call home every hour (which you should not do at work), you will miss the little things. You’ll even miss changing their dirty diapers every few hours.
– You envy everyone with a more flexible schedule, and I mean EVERYONE, from housewives to retirees to your unemployed friend driving a beat-up car.
– You will get little sleep and still have to perform at work every day. It does get better as the child gets older, but the pure bliss of uninterrupted 8-hour sleep is a thing of the past.
– You will have good days and bad days, where you get mad at yourself for being a 9 to 5 cubicle slave.
– Everyone assumes you’re always thinking about the kids and since you’re a woman, you must be plotting your escape to stay at home.
– You have an excuse to shower. For those of you without kids, having the time to shower daily is a BIG deal for parents of infants / toddlers.
– You have time to eat in peace and quiet.
– You’ll have time to blog. If I stayed home, there’s no way I would bother to login to wordpress and keep writing. However, I do have down time at lunch to write so I will continue this blog.
– You have more time than you think! This last one is really important. Unless you’re one of those rare individuals who was always super-efficent and with a super high-powered job, chances are you will be able to find time for raising kids. I’m not going to lie and say that priorities don’t get shifted or that you will get as much time with them as a stay-at-home parent. However, I realize now how much time I wasted before kids. Here are some ways I save time now:
- Instead of watching re-runs of so-so sitcoms, I only make time to watch my favorite show.
- We no longer watch movies and plan to suspend or cancel Netflix.
- We don’t watch much sports (one game per week, if that!)
- I no longer sleep in on Saturday mornings.
- We’ve paid for cleaning service to do hated chores like mopping and deep cleaning.
- We are not exercising, which is not a good thing but I haven’t found time for that yet.
- On weekends I check emails and browse the web only once or twice and for less than 30 minutes.
- I rarely pack my lunch anymore. I spend more and bad fast food are everywhere; however I am making healthier food choices and try not to spend too much.
You will find the time and energy to enjoy parenthood!
In my case, I am fortunate to have helpful parents who are willing and able to help with childcare and a husband with a flexible work schedule. I am very lucky to return to a job that is challenging and rewarding enough to make it worthwhile.
I also admit that I don’t feel that much guilt. Despite some bad days, I’m okay with working. I knew going into parenthood that my steady income and health insurance would necessitate going back to work.
I won’t go into my thoughts about our country’s maternity leave policies or the whole working mother/SAH debate right now but I do plan to post up some advice and thoughts at a later date. I think the whole working mom/ SAH debate is rather useless. If you stay home, you’re not automatically mother of the year. You may be less frazzled but you may also be impatient, critical or suffocating toward your kids. My mom worked and she is the most patient, wonderful and generous mother in the world, no exaggeration. Those are qualities that are independent of working/not working.