Parenting Working Mum

What Do You Do When Your Work-Life Balance Isn’t Working?

  • November 18, 2016

Around the same time that I started my blog 15 months ago, I was working 24 hours a week and doing around 2 hours a night freelance work. This allowed me to reduce my hours at work, do the morning and afternoon school run every day, and still pay my share of the bills. My aim was to up the freelance work, leave the office job behind, and have much less rushing around in my life.

It hit me this week that I have failed miserably in my quest for a better work-life balance…


Things seem to have gone in the opposite direction. I’m now working 32 hours a week in the job I’ve been in for 9 years. Sadly I didn’t increase my hours on the back of a pay rise or a promotion. Things within the company changed and I was asked to alter my role slightly – as well as extra skills to add to the old CV, I had a feeling that if I didn’t accept these additional tasks would just be given to someone else.

So now I drop Little H off at breakfast club every morning so that I can be in the office by 08:30, and one day a week she stays at after school club until 5:30pm. Luckily she enjoys this so I don’t have to worry about the Mum Guilt any more than I already do.

I’m also now doing around 3 hours of freelance work per evening having taking on some extra work from an existing client.

The main problem is I’m shattered. And I have no time to do anything else.

I get up at 06:30, get ready for work, get Little H to school for 07:45 and rush off to be at my desk for 08:30. Apart from the one day that I leave work at 5pm, I leave the office at 2:15pm, rush to school, fight for a parking space, speed walk down the road, and be waiting outside the gates when they open at 3pm. We then usually head off to do an errand or two, like popping to the Supermarket, taking books back to the library, going to the Post Office, or to gymnastics on a Wednesday, before heading home. I then have around an hour to play with Little H before sorting dinner. Luckily the husband then comes in and takes over the child entertainment and we take turns with bath & bedtime. After that it’s time to have the quickest shower known to man and wolf my dinner down before doing my freelance work and falling in to bed at about 11:30pm.

This isn’t a “woe is me post”, I know I don’t have to do all of this. I could just stick to the day job that I’m not particularly happy in and we could still pay the bills. However, if I want to eventually be my own boss (who doesn’t) then I also need to do the freelance work now.

It’s not just working for myself that is the reason behind the freelance, it’s the not having to ask everyone to look after Little H in the school holidays, not having to ask permission from my boss for time off for school assemblies, not rushing around all the time, and doing something that I enjoy.

How long I can do it all for though is a decision I haven’t made yet, I’m stuck in a bit of a catch 22 really – I can’t give up my job until I have enough freelance work to cover my salary, but I can’t take on any more freelance work while I’m already working this much.

Do I give in and accept that I’ll just have to work for someone else until I retire?

Or do I just forgo sleep for a bit longer with the hope that there is going to be a light at the end of the tunnel?

I’m not really sure what the answer is but it’s helped a bit putting my thoughts onto ‘paper’. Have any of you been in a similar situation?

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  • Lucy's Locket

    I’ve managed to get myself into a routine where I work every evening too. Sometimes I enjoy it, but other times I feel exhausted and fed up. Sorry, I don’t have the answer!

  • Lucy's Locket

    I’ve managed to get myself into a routine where I work every evening too. Sometimes I enjoy it, but other times I feel exhausted and fed up. Sorry, I don’t have the answer!

  • Sinead (

    It’s so hard to juggle it all and it’s a constant rush! And I’m not even working. I am in awe of working mums who blog! How????! I keep telling myself that the pace will slow down in a few years. #stayclassymama

  • Jessica Foley

    I feel your pain. Work/life balance never seems to work out the way we’d like. It always seems like a never-ending cycle – spend more time on “work at home” (for me it’s a blog) so less time with the kids because I still have to work outside the home. It’s a struggle, but we make it work, right?

  • The Aloha Mummy

    I too feel this struggle. I’m currently on maternity but desperately trying to work things so that come March I can work as few hours employment possible with the highest wage but also pick up my self employment and get that back up to scratch as for most of that Bubs can actually be with me! That’s the dream though. But they say each journey starts with the first step so here I go!! Best of luck to you and your dreams!
    #stayclassymama ? ?

  • Devon Mama

    I know the feeling! I’ve just agreed to go back to work part time and I’m not sure how I feel about trying to cram it all in. I think you’ve got to get the balance right for your family, if you’re not getting that time perhaps it’s time to ease up on the job and focus more on the freelance. Could you reduce your hours at work or look elsewhere for a part time job to just bring in some money to support the freelancing? Good luck! #marvmondays

  • Manny - The Greenwich Mummy

    It’s really hard to juggle family life with work – both are just as demanding as each other. This is one of the reasons why personally I won’t go back to full-time work as it started to consume me and I was constantly under stress. I work part-time now (still on mat leave at the mo but looking forward to going back in March ’17) but working freelance is a dream that I’m still chasing and hopefully in a couple of years it will be possible.

    Best of luck with everything and hopefully in a few years you WILL be your own boss. xx #MarvMondays

  • Jo from Organised Jo

    You have just hit the nail on the head for me!, but I’m working 30 hours and thinking of taking in freelance work to start the change of working from some else to working for me. It is such a juggle, and it feels like you are forever pleasing everyone else but yourself. Do you think you would be brace enough to take the jump, leave the day job & dive straight into the freelance work? On the side of this, do you knd me asking how did you start with the freelance work? How did you find that first job? #MarvMondays

    • Sarah | Digital Motherhood

      I’d only be brave enough if I had enough money in the bank incase I didn’t get any extra freelance straight away. Got to be able to pay the bills! I found my first job via the People Per Hour website, was very lucky I worked with a lovely lady who offered me more work and I’m still working with 18 months later. Drop me an email if you want to chat freelance or message me on Twitter 🙂 xx

  • Kat

    Ah I really feel for you! I think it’s important to take some time off and away to just stop and relax but equally, the hard work you put in now will pay off in the future if you go self employed full time. It’s so tough finding the right balance isn’t it?! #MarvMondays

  • Catherine

    I think hang in there and hopefully the freelance stuff will pick up. Let go of things that really aren’t important (cleaning and ironing etc). #marvmondays

  • Jane Taylor

    Sarah, It’s a tough one. I left a pharmacy career I was unhappy in and took a year out to start my blog and do some voluntary work. I don’t regret leaving pharmacy but I’ve spent sooooo many more hours getting the blog off the ground. I need to set boundaries but also look at getting a part time job in the new year as I’ve had my year long break. What I would say is it’s seasons of our lives. FOr you, you’re at that turning point. You are super busy and exhausted but I pray it will get better. The important thing is to see if you really can pursue what you love…If it means being exhausted for a while but ends up with you having the freelance work you crave, hopefully this will be a temporary tough patch! Good luck in whatever you do! #marvmondays

  • Something About Baby

    It’s so hard – I am finding the work/life/blogging balance difficult right now, but I have no answers on how to change it. Other than stop blogging, which I don’t want to do. I need to find time to sort myself out otherwise I’m going to burn out and then I’m no use to anyone! I hope you can find your balance again, I think if you have that goal of working towards working for yourself, then it’s worth the sacrifices right now. But if you try and do too much, you’re at risk of no actually achieving anything. It’s a hard balance to strike! #MarvMondays

  • The Mum Project

    Wow this sounds exactly like my schedule but I replace freelance work with blog or catching up on work (it’s more work than blog most of the time because I changed my hours 7:30 to 4:30 and while this does give me that one hour to be with my son it means I have to catch up on emails and work that I missed), my job is really stressful at the moment. I totally empathise with your situation and I say if you aren’t happy at your job then keep working at the freelance work! Doing what you love is so much more important than paying the bills, you can do this. : ) If you ever want any support don’t hesitate to ask! I think it’s important we all help each other especially when someone is working towards their dream : ). Thanks so much for sharing with #StayClassyMama!


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