Home day/Work day...

posted on: Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Home days, work days. I work part time so my week is split between the two. Work days are peppered through the week; so I have this ongoing contrast of my two 'lives'.

via Everything Fabulous

On home days I immerse myself with the children, the school run, the farmhouse, nutritious after-school snacks, re-grouping, cooking, admin, making piles of ironed laundry (will I ever get to the bottom of the ironing basket?!). My mind empties of the deadlines and strategy and corporate manoeuvring of my work days. What I find bizarre is that in each 'life' I am comfortable. I miss neither one when I do the other. Very rarely do I do any work on home days, other than tracking the state of my inbox. At work, I will sometimes be in a meeting and catch myself, with a shock; the realisation that I haven't even thought about my own children for an hour or two.

I am lucky to have this delineation and the chance to do both. I figure that opportunity is a rare one; maybe I have found and maintained, at least on paper, that pinnacle of the work/life balance. But in reality it can be...confusing. On home days I think and feel so little about work that I wonder why I persist in the double life. Yes, it's a means to an end but there are other consequences which every now and then I am fiercely reminded of. The project that I worked on earlier this year was a case in point, when nothing about life was balanced as I struggled with the professional challenges of an all-encompassing work effort can bring. For sure, home life suffered and the 'wounds' from that are only now making themselves known - you know how sometimes it takes six months for an effect to show in a child's behaviour?

So I keep on - amongst some criticism that I take on too much and the knowledge that my kids may look back on these years and recall me being rather frazzled at times, rushing from work to collect them after school; one of the only Mums at the school gates in heels and a suit, blackberry in hand.

...on home days I bake cakes just like this... ;-)
As I have said before and many commenters have reassured me there is no right answer. I notice though that now my children are older my contemporaries are talking about going back to work, just as the children are more self-sufficient at school. To me, having worked throughout following maternity leave, I would say my children still need me now, perhaps even more. In a way, if I didn't work, that would be of more use to them now than when they were toddlers. The fact is they are so much more aware now...and that awareness I feel when they comment that I spend too much time in front of my laptop or when they know they have to fall quiet in the car if 'Mummy's boss' calls.

Today is a home day, so I am going to zhush...potter...enjoy the view and be there after school full of smiles, in flat shoes, off to look for conkers for the school conker competition...

...the view from my window this morning...


  1. lou...i think you are one of those rare and wonderful women who have actually managed to *balance it all*...

    *all* being the two lives many of us lead...

    be it in heels or ballet flats...your kids love you for being there....

    you just sound soo happy & sure of it all...enjoy it...

    melissa xx

  2. I know what you mean about children needing us more when we get older. Since starting school last year, my eldest is so much more aware that some children's mummies pick them up EVERY DAY, and they get to stay at home in the school holidays.
    Oh, and what a beautiful view from your window!

  3. You sound like you manage so well. It's great that you can balance the two...goodluck with the conker search :)

    I just adore that shot from your window, beautiful!!

  4. Hi Lou I am like you in many ways..most ways actually but I particularly wanted to agree with your point about the children always needing you no matter their age - there is a lot of discussion about being with a little baby and that is of course important but I really do see in my 7 year old how much she needs my time. Anyway that's what I wanted to say..

  5. It's wonderful that you do have the opportunity to do both - and to appreciate both. I'm contemplating a shift to part-time. Still have to run the numbers and wait for the husband to determine his fate, but I'm hoping I'll be able to downshift at work. I am after that ever-elusive balance.

    Your kids are impacted by your working, sure. But they also have the opportunity to see you in a role other than Mom. That's a valuable thing I think.

    And yes, gorgeous view from your window - what a wonderful sight to see each morning!

  6. I think you do well to balance the high heels and hand bags with homework and homemade goodies and on the bad days you can just let them eat cake........

  7. Dear Lou, It sounds to me like you do absolutely perfectly at both... and the fact that you stop to ponder it just adds to your strength of character. As you say, theres no right and wrong thing to do. Loving your kids and being the best mum you can is what you do... in abundance! xxx

  8. Lou,

    If I ever have kids I'm going to be calling you. I think you've got it together and have thought your way through it - I really admire you for being able to successfully balance the two worlds.


  9. Lou, you are a wonder, seriously! I know we are always harder on ourselves but from an outside perspective, looks to me like you are doing a perfect job :)

    PS. Beautiful view, too!

  10. Lou, sounds like you are doing a fab job and focussing on home and work life so separately. We all have to do what feels right for us and our families, whether through necessity or choice.
    Hope you found some great conkers.

    PS - is that muffin photo from Cannelle et Vanille? Thats my very fav food blog.

  11. no way! Is that really the view from your window?! It is so magical. I absolutely love it, Lou! I admire your ability to balance work and home life. It is so challenging.

    xo M

  12. That view picture was beautiful. I hope to balance work and life like you do one day.

  13. I LOVE this post! You sound as though you've got it pretty sorted - but I agree there is no right answer that suits all. I worked all the way up to giving birth then went back to work full time shortly afterwards (I've 3 kids - boy 9 , girl twins 6.) I then went part time last year, and gave up all together in January when we moved to the countryside. Some would say I've done it in the wrong order, but I totally understand what you mean about the kids being more aware as they get older. The whole balance thing is a never ending challenge, but whatever the choices if we're happy - the kids tend to follow suit. xx p.s. LOVE your blog!

  14. really enjoyed your post, but jealous of the view that you have!!

  15. I am so jealous of the view from your window. Hopefully one day i'll enjoy something similar. Lovely post!


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