Teetering on the See-saw

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I’m really enjoying my work at the moment.

Which is sort of important for any working parent. If you choose to work and spend time away from your family you want it to be meaningful and enjoyable and satisfying. Otherwise, why bother, right?

My current role is satisfying and challenging. It is definitely a step up from my previous finance role which never challenged me in the same way. After all I’m a lover of words, not numbers, which goes a long way to explaining why I’m much happier working on policy and projects than working on invoices and accounts.

While work is more satisfying, it is also more stressful and is testing the boundaries of my part-time hours. I feel I don’t come even close to doing what I feel needs to be done in my 5 hour day and there have been occasions where I’ve had to work a longer day or go in on a Friday to catch up.

This role started as a temporary development opportunity for me, a way for me to test the waters by taking a step up without jeopardizing my work/life balance. I have now been offered the role permanently which is awesome in so many ways (namely more money, work satisfaction, career progression) but not so awesome in one.

While I’m not being pressured to extend my part-time hours I know I will have to if I want to do my job well. That’s the reality. I’m looking into going back on a Friday which will mean placing Delilah into a new daycare setting but will avoid having to place Gilbert and Matilda in after school care.

I know I couldn’t place Gilbert in after hours care. He would not cope and it would not be fair on him or anyone else to make him try. And as much as Matilda would probably enjoy more organised activities in the afternoon, I know she would struggle to cope by the end of each week too.

Working 5 short days is not an ideal solution by any means. I will REALLY miss my Fridays where I usually catch up with cleaning, shopping, appointments and have time with friends. But I will miss that regular one-on-one time with Delilah the most – she is so much fun, with such a big personality and an insatiable thirst for knowledge – I love my Fridays with her.

Well, I hear you say, I could say no to this opportunity and maintain the status quo.

I could.

But, if I did, I would not be satisfied at work. I also know there will be fewer opportunities in future to make this progression while still working shorter hours. And there is the reality that my previous position was in a team on borrowed time anyway so there are no guarantees the status quo would remain long term even if I did turn this down.

At least this is on my own terms. I may have to return to work 5 days a week but I still have access to shorter days. I may feel increased mother guilt for placing Delilah into care 5 days a week but I can still be at school every afternoon for the kids. I can still give them the opportunity to do after school activities if they want to. I will still be the person they turn to every morning and every night.

As for work, I will need to manage my time better and learn to say no if I stand any chance of maximising my 5 hour days. It won’t be easy but I want this to work.

I need it to work.

Else I risk teetering on the wrong end of the work/life see-saw and sliding off completely.

Linking up with Jess from Diary of a SAHM for IBOT – happy Tuesday everyone!

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8 Responses

  1. Julie says:

    It is such a hard balance isn’t it? A satisfying and flexible work situation is so hard to find! I’m on the other end at the moment – happy to have less satisfying work, as long as I get paid – and prioritising home life. I guess, as my kids all get closer to school (or at school) these priorities may change.
    Julie recently posted..Cute and smart

    • Kirsty says:

      It’s an impossible position. Either way, I’ll feel like I’m cheating either myself, work or the kids and unfortunately we can’t afford for me not to work right now. I’m hoping I’ll feel more comfortable with the idea of 5 days at work before I have to commit formally to anything but I must admit I’m pretty conflicted right now…

  2. Penny says:

    I’m in a similar position at the moment. Do I take an extra day at work so that I can get the job done properly at or should I try to do it all but become stressed out in the process. I hate having to try and balance everything. Why can’t it ever be an easy decision.
    Penny recently posted..The Birthing Suite (Short Tale Tuesday)

    • Kirsty says:

      I know Penny – I hate trying to be all to everyone and then failing miserably at every turn (well that’s how it feels sometimes for me anyway!). I hope you can resolve your own dilemma too – I’m wishing positive vibes for us both!

  3. Jess says:

    Oh I feel for you. Such a hard decision to make. I think you just go with what brings you the most peace; that’s all you can do. Xx
    Jess recently posted..Peace, Love and Shopping

    • Kirsty says:

      Thanks Jess. I suppose that’s the big issue – both areas of my life can bring me peace in a different way, it’s just trying to find that delicate balance between them. I’m sure I’ll find it sometime, somehow, somewhere…

  4. Hello Kirsty,
    I know this dilemma, and I don’t think it goes away.
    Even those who are part-timers will tell you (as you alluded to) that there ends up being no such thing as P-T.
    Given your job satisfaction, and it seems like a professional love too…would the Mr consider one day a week leave?
    It’s doable.
    I know.
    So, maybe that is worth thinking about.
    Your days with the children are not any less complicated even with school for all of them, as there is always something coming up. Gilbert’s success in mainstream will be more challenging as time goes on, unless further intervention support is forthcoming.
    Like others who’ve striven for balance…it seems its a myth. There is no real balance as life is fluid.
    Hope you are ok ..and I haven’t caused you more to keep you awake.
    Denyse – from #Team Ibot.
    Denyse Whelan recently posted..Is Your Child Ready For School? Webinar Coming Soon!

    • Kirsty says:

      Denyse, I appreciate your honest advice, I always do.

      Balance is a myth and you can’t be everything to everyone – I’ve spent enough time vainly trying to do that. I want an interesting and fulfilling role but I don;t want it to be at the expense of the kids and I know things will get more challenging for us as time goes on. I want to give it a chance but I know there is a chance it won’t work out – I’m okay with that, for now.

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