What do you do when your work life doesn’t accommodate?
Just call me a juggler. For about 8 hours at work I am managing deadlines, completing tasks, and running to meetings. After work, I help to make dinner, finish some chores, schedule playdates, help with school work, rush to doctors appointments, and deal with bedtime.
It’s not easy being a full-time working mom, but I have learned to adjust my career to fit motherhood. Yes, it can be done!
I have switched job positions, employers, shift times, and work from home days to fit my definition of motherhood.
Being a mom and being able to work outside of the home is important to me. Therefore, I have to make this full-time working mom thing work for me and my family.
When I got pregnant I was worked at a bank. The branch was open until 7pm on weeknights and open on Saturdays. I knew immediately that I did not want to come back after maternity leave. Things didn’t go as planned and I was back at the branch. Not even two months after my maternity leave ended, I was in a new position.
My new position was in downtown Pittsburgh. The hours and commute were fantastic. My husband and I would leave for work together and get home at the same time. This made our evenings go a lot smoother.
Then life happened. We sold our house. I was already actively searching for a new job because after two years in my position I knew it was time to move on. I interviewed for a few jobs and was even offered two that I declined. Let me say that it is okay to say no to a job that you don’t believe would be a good fit for your family dynamic. The positions I was offered were not a good decision for my professional growth or for my family. I walked away and continued searching.
One day a friend of mine sent me a position she thought I might be interested in at a different institution. Even though I was nervous, I jumped at the opportunity for an interview.
When they called to offer me the job it was a significant salary increase, a couple less working hours, and an option to work from home. I knew my commute would now double, but the benefits outweighed the negatives and I accepted the offer.
It was almost a year into the job where I realized my shift times were not working. I was getting home about an hour after my husband. He was doing all of the dropping off and picking up my son from school and my mother-in-laws. Dinner and bedtime always felt rushed.
I was able to change my work time to an earlier shift. Now, I leave for work while my husband and son are still sleeping and we get home at the same time. I am able to pick my son up from his grandmas if his dad is working late. This makes our evening routine a lot less chaotic as we are now able to share the responsibilities of chauffeur.
I am also able to pick my son up from school on my work from home days. I skip lunch to do this, but it means so much to me that I am able to show up for him.
I am lucky where I have a job that is flexible. It allows me to create my own balance. But, as soon as I feel like that balance is jeopardized I will have to move on.
Being a mom is hard. The sacrifices, early mornings, late nights, and everything in between. No matter how hard motherhood is, I try to take a step back and ask myself is this working? If it isn’t, I adjust.
In the end, all I want is a work-life balance that fits the needs of my family.
What is your definition of work-life balance?