Sunday, August 8, 2010

Aug1_MamaAnna

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 :)

14 comments:

Mom and Kiddo said...

Very good post! I also am lucky to have a husband who does a whole lot of work around here. I might do a similar post to this one. :)

Kylie said...

Thanks for sharing this with us. :)

Christy said...

Fantastic post. Thanks for sharing. You must also be a very organized person to make the most of every minute! Anna is also very lucky!

littlewondersdays said...

I think it is wonderful how you balance home and work. It's not an easy thing to do. I find being an early riser is the best thing for me too. Having time to yourself can make such a difference.

Terra said...

Thanks for sharing. I'm also an early riser, but so is my youngest child (she is 1). We usually spend some quiet time together before my 3 year old daughter wakes up. I was working this past year as well, and couldn't find the time to get anything done. You are truly an inspiration.

Julie said...

Interesting post. We have a lot in common! I think a flexible job is the big benefit to being able to do more with the kids. The only big difference between us is that I'm writing my posts at midnight, not 5am! I am not a morning person. :-)

Debbie said...

Great post! Thank you for sharing I have often wondered how you seem to keep it all together. After I have rested I may consider telling about our schedule or non schedule.

SANDRA said...

I think it is wonderful that you and your husband can balance work and family life.

I really enjoyed reading your post. It gave me inspiration.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Thanks for the compliment! It's been a very long time since I've touched an iron, either - maybe that's the secret :)

My Family My Forever said...

Natalie, you and I are both very blessed:-) to have wonderful husbands who are true partners and such help. I don't know how I would do it without him, I truly don't.

I loved reading this post and seeing how a day in your life goes! Now, if I could only get that cleaning lady:-).

Thank you for sharing this, and thank you for the kind words you included about me.

You are an inspiration Natalie, and a truly wonderful mom!

MaryAnne said...

I wrote a post on this a while back - I think not touching an iron has a lot to do with making time for my life also =)

How I would love a cleaning lady, though - and our yard would look so much nicer with a gardener!

Ticia said...

I strive to be organized. I'm just not that good at it.

Pathfinder Mom said...

I admire the fact that you can juggle work and motherhood so well. I would have a very hard time throwing a job on top of the things that I do. It sounds like you've developed a system that really works well for the whole family. Kudos to you. Your dedication and quality time with Anna really shows.

Jackie H. said...

What a sweet post. You are lucky but Anna is lucky, too. She is lucky to have a mom who makes sacrifices to make her a priority. Even as a SAHM I can learn a good lesson from this :)