“Work/life balance” is one of those cheesy, American parenting phrases that I hate (along with “play date”, “messy play” and “baby wearing”) but it’s something that I’ve been striving to achieve for a while.
When Little H was just 8 months old she started to spend 2 days a week with her grandparents while I went back to work. By 2 years old we added 1 day at nursery to her week, and by 2.5 years old she was doing 2 days at nursery and 2 days with grandparents while we were both working. Like a lot of families, it was just what we had to do to pay the mortgage and we didn’t really have any other options if we wanted to move out of our flat and into a nice family home with a little garden.
H is a very sociable child who absolutely loves spending time with her grandparents and enjoys nursery, so whilst we’d both obviously rather have been at home with her it was something that we didn’t feel too bad about doing.
Now H is starting school (sob!) and I’m beginning to resent and feel guilty about the fact that I have spent more time with my work colleagues than my own daughter over the last 3+ years. These are what everyone tells you are “the best years” and I’ve missed a big chunk of them. I know we’ll never get this time back so I desperately want to be around more for her as she embarks on the very scary journey of school.
These feelings combined with trying to fit the dreaded school run into a normal working day led to new plans for a better “work/life balance”. As I tell my husband – you’ve always gotta have a plan!
At the start of the year, when I started to form some little plans in my head, I took on two small freelance social media clients. It was a few extra hours per week that I could fit around my 4 full days in the office, however, this has grown quite quickly to more clients and I spend from approx 7pm-11pm every night of the week working. This is great, it’s extra money and I enjoy it, but I am shattered and spend more time with my laptop than my husband.
So in a couple of week’s time, it’s all change. Luckily I have a good boss who I’ve worked with for over 8 years, and I’ve been able to reduce my hours in the office quite a bit to enable me to drop off and pick up H from school every single day.
I’m really excited about this as it should give us an extra 3 hours a day together – we might just sit together and watch Disney Junior for most of it but it’s a big step towards more mummy/daughter time, and I can be there to meet her at the school gates every day.
I have a feeling though that my freelance work will creep into some of this extra time so that I can get to bed a bit earlier in the evening, so another plan might be necessary…I haven’t worked out exactly what yet but I always have a plan so watch this space!