As mums whether you are a SAHM, Working Mum or WAHM finding balance is tough.
Can a work/children/life balance really be achieved?
Carol our Community Manager works from home part time and has two children aged 6 and 2; she tells us how she manages to have a work/life balance 80% of the time.
It is hard to find a consistent balance as life is so unpredictable. Last year I had two days a week to work. My Mother in Law would have my youngest on a Friday and my partner has Wednesdays off so I would work then while he kept her entertained and took over the running of the house. My MIL has been very ill since before Christmas so I lost a whole day and had to re arrange my working week. It involved a lot of nights until Little Miss started playgroup in February. I now get two hours on a Monday and school hours on a Wednesday and then I tend to do two evenings.
I have to be really organised and motivated. We get clothes ready the night before on school nights and we meal plan. I am incredibly lucky that my other half shares the housework and cooking with me. It’s not all left to me, we are a team. This means I can take my youngest out and enjoy the baby groups and coffee mornings.
I try not to work after 9pm so we can have some time together and I don’t work at all on Saturday’s so I can unwind.
I am very fortunate to be able to freelance and work from home. It wasn’t the original plan, I was going to go back to work part time but company wouldn’t agree to it so I left.
Some months I have a great balance and others I am up working until midnight!
We asked some Mum’s if they achieved a balance and how they did this:
Has only been achieved since I left teaching and started working for myself as self-employed. Before that I struggled and my children were in hospital frequently and I was not giving enough to my students. Emma Bradley
Balance? What is this balance you speak of? I find I am more on a see saw between work, kids, home and me, yes I know see saws have either an up or a down and are balanced in the middle, so maybe a see saw wasn’t a good example. When the kids are at school I focus on me, work and housework stuff, which works when the kids are well but when one is ill it tends to shift the focus to them and then I have to play catch up and work to silly hours which then leaves me feeling frazzled which has an impact on my supermum skills. I suppose juggling or spinning plates is a better example. You would have thought after 12 years and 2 kids I would be good at it, but I just take it day by day really. Jackie Elton
Tbh…I have found it much easier now my are teens and one is in Australia!!!… throughout my career I have prioritised the things that matter most and have days where i sit and tackle the jobs i tend to avoid to get them done and out of the way! Jane Smith
We get it, for the most part – we both work from home, for ourselves (well, for a multitude of individual clients, of course, but we are our own bosses). We share childcare and housework very much equally, including splitting the school runs. We have things that are just ours (washing is mine, gardening is his) but mostly it’s taking turns or who has the spare time at that point. We also do not have massively high standards when it comes to housework
We do the bulk of our work while the girls are at school, but both now and then fit in some evening or weekend work, too. We both have our own things we do for ourselves (art, computer games, cycle rides, being on committees) and we try to go out for lunch just the two of us once a week and also we like to have one or two TV shows (on DVD or Netflix, etc. – not scheduled TV, because that just doesn’t work!) that we watch together, as well.
Weekends we vary – sometimes one of us needs to do loads of work, sometimes we each do one day of working and one day of doing something with the children, and sometimes we manage to do something together as a whole family.
When I was working in-house, I was only able to do so because Chris did almost everything – all school runs, most of the shopping, all school events, all after-school clubs, all weekday cooking. But then I spent the whole weekend with the girls and would usually do some housework then, while he worked, because he couldn’t fit all his work in during school hours with all the other things he had to do. I missed out on school events and school runs and missed out on a lot of those little after-school chats and so on, so I didn’t like it.
So… yes, but only if you both have really flexible working conditions or work from home, I think. Tasha Goddard
At some point, I have been all 3 (not at the same time of course!) and I found part time / self-employed to be the best of both worlds. But it depends on everyone’s situation for the money wise which way it is best. I actually get more money as a WAHM earning absolutely nothing as a blogger as I did a SAHM on Income Support. Gemma Louise
The only way of achieving this balance was to go self employed and I work either early morning or very late at night. Then is a case of multi-tasking during the day between replying to emails, snapping photos, house work and child care. But I am 100% flexible, I can take holidays when we please and it suits our life with young kids. Elaine Croft
I really struggle with the work/life balance. I find that I am torn and feel guilty about leaving my family, but know they are looked after well, so I shouldn’t, but I do. And when I’m at work, I struggle to leave there. I’ve worked in the place I am in for 15 years and they are flexible, because I am with them and can be due to child care. It is hard when on your days off, you need to do chores, spend time with the kids, homework, school stuff, etc. I find it harder since they have started school. Meeting their friend’s mums at the school gate, having kids over, etc is harder. However, I don’t think I could give up my career; I’ve worked hard to get to where I am as a manager. Susan K Mann
I started working as a carer last year, after a 10 year break to bring up my children, but only lasted 6 months as I was spending so much time travelling between clients (and getting paid only for the hours I was actually at client’s houses, not the travelling) and I was losing so much time with my family. It just wasn’t worth it. I now work as an MSA (Dinner Lady to you & I!) at my eldest children’s’ school so I have weekends and all school holidays off. It works much better for us all. Heidi Boast
There is no work life/home balance. Every decision you make comes at the cost of something else Snaffles Mummy
I went back to work when my daughter was 6 months old and I worked 4 days a week, 1 of those at home. I’ve always had a really good work/life balance. My job is Regional so I need to be away from home at least twice a month. I’m very lucky to have a husband who can work flexibly and a good support network with my Mum and sisters who have helped us out over the years. My daughter has never missed out on anything, there has always been at least one of us at all nursery/school events and my husband and I have always been able to work our diaries around her needs. Clare Baillie