Talking about good balance could be pretty painful for a working mother. How do you find the good balance between career and family? Is there a rule, a procedure? Is it supposed to be easy or hard? Why do other women seem to be handling the situation perfectly while I'm struggling through the whole thing? Will I ever find the answers? Here's a typical week day of mine...
Set my alarm for 6am this morning and when it went off it was painful...Got up at 6.20, had a shower, washed my hair and put my "usual" everyday clothes on which is normally jeans and top. When I go to the kitchen Lucas is already there fully dressed in his school uniform and eating breakfast (dream child!). His older sister Izzy on the other end still upstairs in her room - which isn't very much of a surprise to be honest as she is always the last one out the door (why? well, in her defence, she's 17) I go upstairs, knock on her door, open it and there she is sitting at her desk studying for her exam. (Izzy is doing her end of year 11 exams) She is still wearing her comfy house clothes. She greets me with a smile. As her music plays in the background she announces that her pdhpe exam is scheduled for 12.30pm today and that therefore she does not need to catch the early train. "Great" I say. Now I know why she is smiling. She'll get a lift to school and she'll get to drive the car (she's a learner) and add more hours to her log book. I don't mind that as she's quite a good little driver now and plus I get to be driven around which is very rare these days. I go back downstairs and drive Lucas to the station. Back home and Georgia, my youngest, is having breakfast and trying to finish her homework (doesn't happen very often that she finishes it off in the morning but this week we ran out of time...yep!), when she's done I help her to get dressed for school and I pack her lunch. Meanwhile Izzy is ready to go too and so we are out the door quick. Izzy drives. We drop Georgia off first then Izzy drives herself to school, when we get there we say good-bye and I wish her good luck for the exam. Back home I find a pretty untidy kitchen which puts me in a bad mood almost instantly but I keep going. I go to my office, shut the door and try to get on with my day. The next four hours or so are a blur. If I'm driving around after lunch I'll be constantly looking at the time worrying that I will not get back in time to pick Georgia up. Am I insane? Maybe so. I write myself a to do list every week and try and stick to it but sometimes I fail miserably!
A thing I do pretty well (I think) is to organise the kids stuff in advance, things like: dance/sports bag, sports clothes and school uniform have got to be ready the night before or in the morning it's the end of the world! Same thing with books and readers, not to mention my biggest nightmare: notes (always a note to return)! They have to go back to school the next day(or never), for me it's just too easy to forget so I'll get them done straight away and that way I'm ahead of myself and happy! Then there's the next issue: quality time with the kids. When they are little of course it's fairly easy as we are alway with them but when they are teenagers it becomes a little bit more complicated to find the time to sit down with them and have a proper chat. So I came up with a rule (ah!) and it's simple; we sit for dinner together at least twice a week and we meet at the local coffee shop one afternoon a week - when everyone is free - for us it's Thursday arvo, I have tea, they have a milkshake, they are happy and chatty at that time and I get to catch up on all the goss, it's great! It's the highlight of my week and I would not miss is for the world. That is what's important isn't it? So who cares if dinner is not ready in time sometimes or if I'm too exhausted to take the dog for a walk? If the washing stays in the machine for a day or two before moving to the washing line (!!) and my ironing seats there for a week (maybe two?...) before it gets done? I mean who does the world think I am? Wonder woman?
For Heaven's sake, I'm only human! So please if you have a secret, if you have found the good balance, please, please be kind and...share!
(Some great tips on how to juggle career and family here)