My Balance Now

Before I moved closer to work, I had an hour drive to and from work.  I re-read my 2012 post that went into depth about how I balanced work/life and thought I’d update it.  Sometimes I can’t believe I endured this commute for so long.

1.  What’s your work schedule?

Before: I got up at 5:15 to 5:45 to get to work on time.  I got home by 5:30-6 pm., usually exhausted with an aching back.

Now: I get up around 6:25 and get to work on time.  I often have time for breakfast and light stretching/exercise!  My drive is 30 minutes tops (usually faster in the mornings when fewer people are on the road).  I get home by 5pm. Sometimes I even hit the gym or go to the park with the kids.  According to co-workers, I’m also less grumpy in the morning!

2. How do you handle childcare?

Before: Part-time nanny, freelancing husband with flexible schedule and more time at home.

Now: Still part-time nanny on occasion who does light housecleaning, plus A LOT of help from my mom.  My husband’s schedule and travel has picked up, which leaves me taking more time off for doctor appointments, illness and such. Pre-school pick-up is a pain to manage.

3. What do you find best about your current set-up?

I love my shorter commute which has resulted in more energy and quality time with spouse, self and kids!  I love getting more help from my mom since she is amazingly good and flexible with her schedule.

4. What advice would you give to other moms about the juggle?

It’s not really about working or not. It’s really about flexiblity. Even within the restraints of a traditional 9 to 5 job, I know I’m fortunate that my boss is understanding about childcare issues as long as I manage to meet deadlines.

I still stand by my love of online shopping: Order as much as you can online.

And I’ve converted to the dark side — smartphone with tons of apps. It’s the only way I can keep track of my emails and shopping lists. My husband and I communicate quickly via text, emails and shared shopping lists, too.

I’ve been taking some vacation days to do a mommy-and-me class with my kids on weekday mornings. It’s shorten my work hours which is nice on a mental level BUT also forces me to eat at my desk some days to get all my work done.  I love using that time to  learn and play with my kids alongside mostly stay-at-home moms or grandparents.  This alleviates a lot of mommy guilt because I have more hours with my kids overall and don’t have to cram all the fun stuff on weekends.

5. Do you think the juggle is harder for women than men?

Yes.  I’m actually guilt-free and good at ignoring snippy comments but I do spend more time cleaning the house and thinking/planning kid-friendly activities.

Feel free to chime in with details about how other women (and men) handle the work/life juggling act!

6 responses to “My Balance Now

  1. Chores are enough of a headache for us now as DINKs – I dread to think what it might be like with a family. UGH.

    Awesome that you shortened your commute. Sitting in traffic for ages first thing in the morning is not the best way to start the day!

  2. Oh we’ve definitely lowered our standards, don’t mind toys strewn about, get help as much as possible, and try to think of diaper changes as fun/quality time. Ha!

    • I don’t remember where I read it, but diaper changes *ARE* bonding time with the little ones 🙂 We also like to use grocery and Target runs as “quality time”, and IME it’s actually more fun to make it an outing with kids than to try and do errands alone on my “free” time.

  3. I am so lucky….I work 10 minutes from home….I really enjoy my job and have been allowed to start and finish my work day to match my daughter’s school bus. The flexibility is awesome and I am grateful every day that I can do this. My kids are teens..son is 18 and lives away at University and my 15 year old daughter is easy to sort, so really I am lucky. We moved to the country years ago and I have no family up here, so I am very lucky to have these arrangements. My suggestion is if you can try for flexible arrangments at work, be brave and go for it……it is definitely worth talking to your employer about. Otherwise get all of the help you can. When my kids were younger I employed a neighbor (an older, retired, lady) to pick the kids up from the bus and look after them for about an hour until I got home.

    For me all of this is up to me, my hubby works shift work (12 hour days/nights) and can only help on his days off.

  4. The commute matters so much, doesn’t it? I don’t think I could stand having an hour+ commute. My hubby doesn’t mind, because it gives him thinking time.

  5. I enjoy the occasional commute — like 20 minutes home from the train station that I’m by myself and thinking. But I could not stand an hour every time every day. I think there’s a balance. One problem with working from home is that there is no commute transition. I try to consciously take one — 10 minutes to read something fun before I re-emerge into family life.

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