How do you juggle both? Does one always suffer?
I don’t know how to get it right.
There are many things about parenting that can be challenging: when your kid puts your credit card in the disc drive of your laptop, when they slap you in the face in their sleep because they’ve crawled into your bed at 5 AM, when they tantrum for no reason. But I didn’t expect when they beg you not to go to work as you drop them off at daycare.
I’ve been thinking about this fuzzy concept of work/ life balance a lot lately. It’s something that workplaces seem to be very pro lately and I’m glad for it, in theory.
But how do you actually balance it?
In my current full-time employment, my boss needs support provided by me.
However, my children also need support. I try to imagine how I will manage it all in a post-mat leave world. I commute into work every day and for the first few months after I return to work when my baby is born I will have to pick up and drop off at two different places. My husband can share some of that load certainly, but he’s always had a more erratic work schedule, and I’ve been the one with the set 9-5.
Over the course of my employment with this company, many things have changed; we were bought by another company and moved, resulting in a longer commute trek. Also the train schedules have changed over the last year, so I have to leave even earlier in order to pick up on time. This is on top of the fact my daughter is usually one of the first kids dropped off and last to leave, which makes me feel extremely guilty.
So to be fair, my work day has etched towards more of an 8-4 day rather than what was once a 9-5. But my workplace has been all about the work/ life balance corporate policy, and I thought it was okay.
My boss told me that, upon my return to work, I will need to start staying until 5. Now I am worried and stressed out. Even though its months away, how do I manage that? Do I look for another job and start all over? I’ve crunched the numbers, and we simply cannot afford for me to stay home or for a nanny. We have no available relatives in the area, and unless I want to make a major career change, commuting is inevitable.
So what do I do? I feel like I’m doing a disservice to my kids or my workplace no matter what.
In a company that boasts a work/ life balance, I feel a bit singled out as the only employee being asked to change their hours, especially when others who also live out of town and in similar roles have not. I like my boss, and I don’t want to rock the boat, but I feel like I’m being asked to choose and frankly I’m a little surprised it’s come to this.
I’ve always prided myself on going above and beyond at work, I like working hard, and it gives me purpose. I have career ambitions and aspirations to move beyond my current role, sure, but I’ve never been a ‘climb the ladder,’ type in need of a prestigious title either.
I guess I’m looking for something in the middle where I can work hard, be a good employee, and still feel like a good mother?