Home days, work days. I work part time so my week is split between the two. Work days are peppered through the week; so I have this ongoing contrast of my two ‘lives’.
|via Everything Fabulous|
On home days I immerse myself with the children, the school run, the farmhouse, nutritious after-school snacks, re-grouping, cooking, admin, making piles of ironed laundry (will I ever get to the bottom of the ironing basket?!). My mind empties of the deadlines and strategy and corporate manoeuvring of my work days. What I find bizarre is that in each ‘life’ I am comfortable. I miss neither one when I do the other. Very rarely do I do any work on home days, other than tracking the state of my inbox. At work, I will sometimes be in a meeting and catch myself, with a shock; the realisation that I haven’t even thought about my own children for an hour or two.
I am lucky to have this delineation and the chance to do both. I figure that opportunity is a rare one; maybe I have found and maintained, at least on paper, that pinnacle of the work/life balance. But in reality it can be…confusing. On home days I think and feel so little about work that I wonder why I persist in the double life. Yes, it’s a means to an end but there are other consequences which every now and then I am fiercely reminded of. The project that I worked on earlier this year was a case in point, when nothing about life was balanced as I struggled with the professional challenges of an all-encompassing work effort can bring. For sure, home life suffered and the ‘wounds’ from that are only now making themselves known – you know how sometimes it takes six months for an effect to show in a child’s behaviour?
So I keep on – amongst some criticism that I take on too much and the knowledge that my kids may look back on these years and recall me being rather frazzled at times, rushing from work to collect them after school; one of the only Mums at the school gates in heels and a suit, blackberry in hand.
As I have said before and many commenters have reassured me there is no right answer. I notice though that now my children are older my contemporaries are talking about going back to work, just as the children are more self-sufficient at school. To me, having worked throughout following maternity leave, I would say my children still need me now, perhaps even more. In a way, if I didn’t work, that would be of more use to them now than when they were toddlers. The fact is they are so much more aware now…and that awareness I feel when they comment that I spend too much time in front of my laptop or when they know they have to fall quiet in the car if ‘Mummy’s boss’ calls.
Today is a home day, so I am going to zhush…potter…enjoy the view and be there after school full of smiles, in flat shoes, off to look for conkers for the school conker competition..