While I certainly don't claim to have the handle on this topic, and other mamas (ahem, Soulemama) certainly put me to shame, I've been asked a few times recently about how I manage to balance working full-time+parenting+creative outlets so I thought I'd take a few minutes to address this ever-popular topic.
I do work full-time for a national bank, but I am fortunate to have the flexibility to work from home and have the flexibility to arrange my schedule around anything at my kids' schools that might need my attention. My work also has a community service policy that includes volunteer work, and I choose to use my volunteer time at my kids' schools as well. One of the ways I use working from home to my benefit is by using my lunch hour judiciously, generally by grocery shopping (sans kids, it goes much more quickly), starting dinner (prep work like veggie chopping or setting up the bread machine), and other household tasks that might otherwise cut into my evenings. I try to reserve the hour or so between dinner and bathtime for whatever activities the kids are engaged in, lately (as you might have noticed by our pictures) they've been riding bikes and skateboards or drawing in the driveway. Although often when I'm out in the driveway with them, I'm also knitting. Some evenings though, like last night when it was raining, we just do an art project in the kitchen or something else creative, involving vehicles if the decision is Finn's.
I tend to hone one creative outlet for myself at a time. Lately that's been knitting (no surprise for regular readers), although in the past it's been felting, crocheting, pottery, glasswork, sewing. All summer there have been a couple of projects begging for my attention, but I just can't seem to put down the knitting! The wonderful thing about knitting is that it's so transportable. I knit in the car, waiting in line, on the phone, even occasionally while cooking. I really love the outlet that knitting has given me, but hopefully as fall nears, I'll carve out a little more time for other endeavors as well.
Weekends are such a luxury here since Paul and I both work full-time. We also have a unique situation in that we have 4 kids every other weekend, and the alternate weekends belong to just Finn. On our kid-ful weekends, I tend to plan lots of projects, activities, and slow food meals, and we really concentrate on creating and learning together. On the Finn-ful weekends, Paul and I tend to spend one on one time with him or special time as the three of us, but we also plan more house projects and personal creativity projects during this time. We also have cultivated a love of Indian food in Finn so these are our Indian food weekends. :)
Last but not least, I decided a few years ago that a clean house was important, but a completely picked-up, laundry-always-done, kitchen-always-spotless house was not, especially if it cost me the experiences that I wanted to give my kids and that I wanted to have with my kids. We all help keep things tidy, but we focus much time on simple rituals like weekly farmer's market outings, nightly reading, new art projects, and nature walks...which is what they'll remember of their childhood anyway.
I admire you so! I worked from home for two years after I had Eli but once Kye was born I couldn't handle it any more. I felt like I couldn't find a good balance between my work and kid time. So a year ago I left my job. It was the right decision, but every once in awhile I wonder if I should have toughed it out and maybe it would have gotten easier. It sounds like you have a wonderful system and I LOVE reading about all the great experiences you give your children.ReplyDelete
I'm so glad you wrote about this. I've always admired your ability to balance so many different things at once. You're an inspiration.ReplyDelete
Mmmmmm Indian food. You have GOT to tell me where to find Indian food in K-ville!?!??!ReplyDelete
Your are an amazing Mama Joy, very inspirational :) And your knitted hats in the previous post are just lovely...ReplyDelete
You are awesome! Balance is a tricky thing for me and I always wonder others do it. I enjoyed reading about how you make it work!!! I do love how Finn loves Indian food, too!ReplyDelete
I so agree that a spotless house is not important, it's the family time and rituals that our children will remember. One of these days I will get round to doing some housework, but for now we have other things to do :)ReplyDelete
I left you an award at my blog. No need to pass it on unless you want to but I just wanted you to know that I think your blog is great :)
wow, I admire how you are able to identify what are the most meaningful experiences for each of your children and then provide it. You are juggling alot; but doing an amazing job! I think you have a talent for identifying that which has meaning, the ability to focus on what is in front of you and the sense to throw the rest away. thank you for sharing!ReplyDelete