As a working parent, I'm always trying to find that perfect work-life balance. I'm not talking about the balance in which the house gets cleaned and there is a homemade meal on the table every night while I'm taking leaps and bounds with my career. All I want is to be able to get my work done and have my children feel like they are getting enough quality time with me. Just when I thought I had a new solution figured out (for the umpteenth time), my daughter decided to make it incredibly clear that I did not.
In my latest attempt at balancing the scales, I am sending my daughter to school three full days each week and keeping her home on the other two days. For the most part I have learned to just let my work go on the days when she is home except while she is napping. It is less than ideal, but on the flip side, I really do like having those three full days instead of the five half days she was doing previously. Despite the fact that I have now devoted my days with her to arranging play dates and trips to the park, on occasion I need to get a few things done before we head out the door in the morning. Certainly, my spending 15 minutes on the computer or phone so that I can in turn spend four hours at the park with her friends seems like a fair trade off. Not according to a two year old.
While I was on the phone the other morning in exactly that scenario, I heard a crash in the living room. And when I went to see what it was, she was standing next to my laptop which she had just flipped backwards in a fit of jealousy and attention seeking. I was beyond annoyed, but the fact is that she doesn't understand what "work" really is and that it's necessary for me to do in order for her to have a roof over her head. She is perfectly content going to school and whether she went five full days a week or two days a week; it wouldn't really matter to her as long as the time she gets with me is fully devoted to her and her brother.
Seeing as I work from home, this is a constant struggle, but what I've learned for sure is that even though I think having her home with me part time is better for her, it may not be if I can't commit to making sure that she is constantly engaged in something. I'm not sure that paying for more school is an option or even what I want, but I know that my schedule is going to need to be adjusted more so that she doesn't resent my working because in the long run that isn't going to be good for anyone.
This post was written by Sarah Fernandez.
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