"Change, when it comes, cracks everything open."
Dorothy Allen

Friday, February 24, 2012

Working Mom

I have dilemma.  Maybe some of you out there have it too.

I may complain (incessantly, at times) about my job.  It has it's faults, to be sure, but one of the major pluses to the role is the flexibility I have in my scheduling and work environment.  I have the ability to work from home much of the time, and the ability to attend appointments and with limited range, adjust my start and end times.  I am able to log out for an hour in the afternoon to attend a DR appt or a school function and either start my day earlier, or end my day later.

Compared to other management roles where I work, my day is actually pretty structured.  I have certain tasks that need to be completed at certain times.  I have daily, weekly and monthly deadlines and have to work within that structure.  I also have a boss that was seemingly transported to us from 1955, who believes the work day begins at 9 and ends at 5 (at least for us- lately he begins at 7 and ends at 3, but is lost and confused if one of us is unavailable at whatever hour he needs us.  But that's a story for another time.)

I enjoy the flexibility very much, and having worked a job for 14 years where I got the short end of the stick much of the time when it came to shifts and days off, I am very appreciative.

Working from home is awesome.  I can be super productive, work at my own pace, listen to music, or watch a show.  I don't have to rush in the morning to take a shower and do my hair, but can spread it out during the day.  When I am under the weather, I can stay in my pjs and work from my bed, with tea and toast at the ready.

Most importantly, I can see my kids a whole lot more!! 

We will eat breakfast and lunch together.  Sawyer loves to snuggle up beside me, and watch Dora, or just watch me working, "playing" on the computer, as she puts it.  As I sit, diligently typing, she will paint my toenails, put tiaras in my hair, paint my lips with coat after coat of gloss and basically use me as her plaything.

Geoff, after almost 7 months at home, looks forward to the break, I think.  He tends to retreat to his Bat Cave (aka comic room) or the dark, quiet confines of the basement. 

Thus enters my dilemma. 

I get paid to do an 8 hour work day.  I have a strong enough work ethic that I have the compulsive need to put in at least that much time (often longer).  As much as I love playing with Sawyer and spending time with her, I struggle to balance her incessant need to play, with my need to earn a living and work.  One of my resolutions for the year was to make quality time for my children, and to play more.  So, when the puzzles and Barbies come out, I try to do just that. 

But more and more often, I hear myself saying "Not now, Sawyer, Mommy is working."  I can see the heartbreak on her face and it hurts my own. 

How on earth to I strike a happy balance??  How do I take advantage of the fact that I am here for my 8 hour day, accessible and available to my children, but still get in the quantity and quality of the work that I need to do to keep my job and my livelihood?  How do I get a 3 year old to understand that I can play for my 15 minute break, but then I have to go back to work?  How do I make this work? 

Trust me, I understand that in the world of problems, this is a minor one, and one that some people would kill to have.  I get that I am lucky.  I want to make sure I am handling all of this correctly.  That I am doing what is best for me and for her. 

I need help!!

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "now, what do I do?"

1 comment:

  1. Well since it sounds like you can't do your 8 hours from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. you are going to have to lean on Geoff not to retreat to his office. You need to re-iterate that you are home working but you're doing just that, working so he's still on deck as the main caregiver.

    Or set the timer on the microwave with a limited amount of time and tell Sawyer at the beginning of each play period that you have only until that thing buzzes and then you'll set the timer again until your next play period. When the timer goes it's play time again! Give her 'projects' of her own to do while the work timer is on like colouring you a picture or taking a bath (with Dad watching) or cleaning up her room, or watching a movie in Sebastian's room, taking the dog for a walk with dad, etc. But be clear that until that timer goes off signally the start of a play period, she must be occupied with other things. And obviously when you are having your play period Geoff can then retreat to the basement for his 'me time' period. It's just a suggestion but maybe something to try.