Full Disclosure: I work.
There are a lot of articles that talk about who has it worse or which is harder. This is not one of them. In order to work, I simply outsource what I would otherwise do myself. Right or wrong, it’s just a function of where I am in life. The question I seem to be getting a lot is “How do you do it?” Whether this is a serious question or not, I thought I’d write about it.
I think a lot of working comes down to priorities. I’ve already written about finding a company that supports you, the whole package (mom, wife, chef….). My priorities are wife and mother first. Period. If being a Mom means I can’t come to your 5pm evening social because the sitter is sick…I chose being Mom. If Sweetpea has an eye infection…I will be at home. I could theoretically hire someone for that too but I want to be the present Mom. I want to go to soccer on Friday. I want to attend the 1pm 1 year old parade. So first and foremost. Priorities. If my priorities stunt my career for now, so be it. That being said, when I’m at work. I am at work. If you email me after hours, I will read it but I will reply fully…later. My biggest motto is: plan, predict, prioritize (and then communicate). So the answer to: can I do it?…I just need to be able to schedule it. Once I schedule it, I can maneuver around whatever “it” is.
I’m not one for staying home 24/7. Some people prefer staying home. I really like to explore, get out and DO. So I’ll admit that my ability to get OUT of the house is severely degraded…but if we can do it with a smile (no yelling or tears), SUCCESS. Oftentimes, I prepare myself by saying okay, the goal is we do this with happiness. We will probably be late but happy. Travel to me means Baby E has been on two “International” flights at 5 months. Sweetpea went on 16 round trip stateside flights before the age of 2 (many were for work). But sometimes it’s just getting to the park 5 minutes away (it will take 30 minutes). So to the how do you do it….you just do. Sweetpea likes to ask “can we go on a field trip?” Sure Baby E will scream when she’s hungry, Sweetpea will cry when she’s tired but we have fun! I bring the Tula for Baby E and the umbrella stroller for Sweetpea when we get to the end of ropes. As to flights, I could simply not go or just go. A trip to the airport is supposed to take 2 hours….it took us 4. So it is what it is? My biggest thought here is: how would I not? Would I simply leave one kid behind? I could but then I’d miss her! So it’s just different.
I just find if I’m positive, the kids are positive, and that makes a HUGE difference. On our trip to South Korea, Sweetpea helped by pushing that little red bag. (She did let go of it and we did spend 30 minutes in the airport trying to find it…but we just kept a good attitude…lesson learned…don’t give said bag to a 3 year old no matter how enthusiastic she is….obvious statement of the year…whoops). So whether it’s a “Mommy Moment” at work to pump, or pushing a ridiculous stroller…having a good attitude makes it fun.
I found after Sweetpea, I lost the ability for task management. Determined not to experience this again, I fell in LOVE with Day Designer Planners. I have one for work and one for everything else. I try very hard to separate work from play. Sure it’s “old fashioned” to write things down…but it works for me. So if writing it down helps making “it” happen — so be it. As long as it gets on the calendar, it happens. Unless I’m feeling lazy. Which does happen. I will say I like to be busy, but I find I have a lot of down time.
Take Time For You and Your Partner
Even if it’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches after the kids go down. This is a priority to me: I do not want my husband and I to become “two ships passing” (coined by my mom). It is so easy to simply grow apart. I don’t think people say to themselves we’re going to grow apart so we can get divorced. I think what happens is the messy diapers, preschool, dogs, and other mundane day to day just distract you. So take a minute. Read a book together (put it on Amazon Kindle and read a page here and there), go on a date night and get dressed up, share news articles you find interesting (I’m on Facebook anyways…I can spare time to share an article!)….find ways to grow together in the day to day. Share parenting decisions!
In all things Moderation…including moderation. I try to find a balance in everything. Work for a period of time…I find if I spend all my time on the computer or tablet that Sweetpea emulates me…so I try to remember that what I do…she will do. So we try to focus on balance. Balance in TV watching, in sugar intake, in going out…it take work. But I feel if I balance, I can fit quite a bit in my “basket.”