I had another post written and scheduled for this Sunday, but I had several questions and comments lately on my blog about how I manage to do so much with Anna while working full time, and I wanted to share some “secrets” to how it is possible. They can be summarized in one word: lucky (or blessed, if you are so inclined):
- I am lucky to have a job that is rather flexible. Several times I declined promotions and job offers that would require longer hours and more travel. My work hours are 7 am to 4 pm, and I can work from home whenever I choose. Sometimes I stay later or answer my emails after Anna is in bed, but job flexibility definitely helps in balancing life and work.
- I am lucky to earn enough to afford help. We have a cleaning lady that comes once every two weeks and a gardener that comes weekly. We make a point to keep the house in order between those cleaning times – usually clean-up/pick-up activities only take about 20-30 minutes a day. I do laundry and fold it while I talk on the conference calls. I didn’t touch an iron in ages :)
- I am very lucky to have a wonderful husband who is a friend and a true partner in parenting. He works as a consultant part time, and he only needs to be in the office one day a week. He is the one waking Anna up, getting her to school, picking her up, feeding her lunch and organizing playdates and activities for her non-school days. He is doing most shopping and other errands. We usually alternate cooking responsibilities, and we decide on Saturday night what we are going to be cooking (and buying) next week.
- I am lucky to have a short commute. Usually I come home at about 4:30 pm and have at least two uninterrupted hours with Anna before dinner time. It’s a lot of time together if you know what you want to do. I admit that I usually have a lot more ideas than time, and lately I also let Anna lead and choose most activities. The best “pearls of wisdom” that I put on the blog usually happen during play periods in the evening or our walks.
- I am lucky to find what works for us. Generally, we stick to short guided activities (think 15 minutes long) that don’t require a lot of set-up and clean-up. I discovered that I don’t deal well with the situations when I invest a lot into prepping an activity, and then it doesn’t go according to my master plan. I leave most messy activities, especially the ones that involve glitter, to Anna’s preschool.
- I am lucky that Anna is not addicted to watching TV. OK, this is not luck. A lot of thought, effort and sacrifice went into our decision to limit TV and electronic entertainment. We do watch TV occasionally during our times together, but it’s not something that we do daily.
- I am lucky to be an early riser. I usually wake up without an alarm at 5 am and have an hour to myself. That’s when I usually write my posts.
- I am lucky to live in a great neighborhood in the heart of Silicon Valley – with many great places to visit within about an hour drive and many activities created for kids. We have access to parks, hiking trails, beaches, museums, theaters. Again, we try to keep a balance and not to overschedule our weekends with endless sightseeing. We like to hang out as a family and we hope to get closer to our neighbors as time progresses.
How do you keep your life in balance? Would you care to write a post about a typical day in your life? I really liked this post by Susana, one of my favorite bloggers and fantastic homeschooling mom of four and this one by Leah, an incredibly creative homeschooling mom of six. Now, I am still wondering how those ladies keep it all together :)