Monday, 18 April 2011

Family vs. career - stop feeling guilty!

I regularly fluctuate between wishing I didn't have to work at all, and really enjoying the work I do and feeling a bit guilty about it.  After all, shouldn't I want to stay home with my children at all costs?

Well, I've come to the conclusion that I need to stop feeling guilty. The guilt will affect my performance and mood in all areas of my life and then I won't enjoy anything and no one will enjoy being around me!

If I really had the option to not work, I would definitely take a good long break from my career to see my children to a certain age where they are a little more independent.  After that, I would most definitely go back to work to a job that I love and to an environment that is flexible enough to adapt to my family life.

At the moment, I don't have the option, the family budget just won't allow it, so I count my blessings that I am working in an environment that is flexible and where work life balance is valued.

My 11 year old wants to work in a job like mine... so she must see something good about it ;)

Happy balancing!

Monday, 4 April 2011

Going back to work - how to get organized?

Well, after almost a year off work, that dreadful date was approaching and I was going to have to return to work, ready or not.   I don't know about everyone else, but for me it was a time of mixed feelings, but mostly I felt that I wished there were some way I could stay home a little longer.  My little "sunshine" was just getting to be so much fun and someone else was going to get to enjoy him! 

But like it or not, we were not in a situation that allowed for me to not go back to work, so I had to face reality.  I have been able to manage only going back into the office 3 days a week to start and working from home for a bit, and using some of my banked vacation time... but it is nonetheless quite a change in routines.  Oh, I didn't mention yet that I have two other children that are in school...

I do posess the ability to be quite organized actually, but I do have to work at it, and I tend towards being just as organized as I need to be...and perhaps I hadn't needed to be for a while ;)

So, I blew the dust of that part of my brain and thought about some of the things that I used to do to make running a household a little simpler when we don't have all day to plan dinner and do laundry (of course we never have all day for these things...I'm joking!).  Here's what I remember:
  • Plan meals in advance - this saves time, money and defaulting to unhealthy eating, my husband and I used to decide at the beginning of the week what would be for dinner each night and who would make it.  It can even be based on the weekly specials to save even more!  Doing the shopping in advance will follow from this.
  • Use a family calendar - this prevents mom and dad from both scheduling something on the same night without a sitter!  (And whoever forgets to write something down gets to rescedule if there is a conflict)
  • Have a routine - say, for example, you always do two loads of laundry on Tuesdays and Thursdays and catch up on the weekend, everyone in the house will know when to have their laundry in the right place to be washed (or at least they'll learn quickly!) 
  • Get the kids involved - the older children can certainly chip in and do their share.  They can likely help fold laundy and certainly put their own away, they can pack their lunch, empty dishwasher etc.  not having to worry about all these little things will add up to a lot less stress!
  • Have things ready the night before - the kids showered, lunches made and clothes laid out. 
  • Try to keep a tidy area - okay, maybe this is a personal thing... but if when I walk into the house I always see a mess... it immediately puts to mind all the things that need doing.  If we can keep the entrance and maybe the kitchen tidy, I'm so much happier!
Okay, so that's a start...and it helped me even to write them down... some I have always had in place, and some I had let slide for a while.  Let me know your ideas too!

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