Do you constantly feel the pull to spend more time with the kids, or have you reached the right balance? - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-08-2012, 07:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have felt the draw to stay home with the kids since DS1 was born 4 years ago, but have not been able to do it. I was in grad school at the time, and my husband convinced me to finish first, then when I finished, he convinced me to give this research position a try, and now, here I am, still feeling like I wish I was at home, at least more time, and yet apparently fearful that I will lose my career if I do it. Even though I have expressed my desires to DH, and he has reluctantly agreed to try and make it work sometime in the future, I am having a seriously hard time cutting the ties! I guess I worry if I will ever be able to get back in. I have a really flexible job at the moment, and except for the hours (FT), it couldn't be more ideal. Maybe that's why I'm holding on!

 

I know most of us working moms kindof need the money, and probably enjoy a lot of (or at least some) aspects of working. But, do you feel you have the right balance?  Do you wish you had more time with the kids? How many hours a week do you work? Do you worry about not being able to get back into your career someday in the future? What role does work play in your life? Is it just to pay the bills? Or is it part of your identity?


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Old 05-08-2012, 08:28 AM
 
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I've been thinking about these questions a lot lately because my job is really intense right now and taking up a lot of my time & energy, which is making it challenging to feel fully present as a parent in the way that I want. This particular intensity is somewhat temporary (the theater I work for is undergoing a renovation that starts this summer, so we're working on a bunch of closing celebrations, followed by cleaning out the space). So part of me knows that I can get back on track when things quiet down somewhat.

 

But I've also been realizing that my daughter is thriving. She loves her school. She has gained so much independence and she's growing so fast. She needs me...but it's different than it was when she was a baby. So I feel like I must be doing something right, because she is really OK, even though I'm really busy & distracted.

 

A big part of that is the involvement of my partner, who is an excellent caregiver, and is really the "main mom" right now. And we have a beloved nanny (L) who my daughter loves and who we consider a friend. L & her family are going through a really hard time right now because L's partner lost a baby at full term, and we've been part of the support network for them. And seeing how healing it is for L to spend time with my DD has made me realize that DD is her own person with her own connections in the world and her own place. I am an important part of her world, but I'm far from the whole picture.

 

The other thing is that I have a sense of a "calling" with my work. It feels very deep to me. I've never been very interested in developing a career or earning a lot of money. But I do feel called to do certain work, and I'm doing it. And I'm feeling a slight shift in my calling pulling me in. Over the next year, I hope to be able to take some time to figure out what that is, and whether I can fulfill that calling in my current job, or whether I need to find a different job.

 

Anyway, all of those things provide a context for my current situation which is helpful for me. It would be very easy to just feel inadequate at everything. In fact, that does come up for me from time to time. So I try to re-focus on what's working.

 

Thanks for asking these questions. I hope you'll get lots of other responses!


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Old 05-09-2012, 12:01 PM
 
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I feel like I currently have a wonderful balance.  I work 30 hours a week with most of those hours stacked M-W.  My job is very family friendly and flexible, so ds1 (1st grade) rides the bus here (I work in a library) and hangs out until DH gets off work.  Then DH picks him up and goes to get the other two and I'm usually home about 2-3 hours later, in time for bath and bed time.  On Thursdays I go pick ds1 up from school and usually run home and tidy the house before picking up the little ones.  And I'm off on Fridays, so sometimes the littles stay home with me that day or, if I have big errands to run, they'll go to school for a bit.  The bigger two can come to work with me if they're sick (not too sick, but too puny to go to school), but my boss is very encouraging of us to take time to be with our kids.  I love my work and feel like I'm making a difference and dh is great with the boys, and they LOVE school, so I feel like they are well cared for when I'm not around.  And we have so much fun on the weekends; it is really good quality time.


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Old 05-09-2012, 12:12 PM
 
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No, I don't have balance and I wish I did. I could reduce my hours at work to a four day a week schedule prettily easily but it would mean an astonishing loss of flexibility and income. I would become hourly so in addition to 20% less salary I would half my vacation time, all flexibility with my schedule, bonus ($5000), and the same raise I get now ($5000) plus I'd lose probably half of my 401k profit sharing.

 

So, yeah, I don't cry everyday at work like I did for the first YEAR but it is still tough. It was better in some ways when DH was a SAHD becuase it was easy to work at home and he would melt into the woodwork. But with a nanny, we have to have her full time and with slightly older kids, I end up being the one who melts into the woodwork.

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Old 05-09-2012, 06:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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JudiAU, so are you working 40 hours a week? And if you just had one day less, that would make it better?

 

liberal_chick,  your situation sounds absolutely ideal. Congratulations to you! Maybe just having that one day off that I used to have when a student would make a difference. I honestly do love what I do, though I don't think I can say at this stage I'm making much of a difference, though maybe there is potential for that in the future.

 

CIMama, it sounds like things are going well for you and your family. Hopefully it will seem more balanced when the intensity subsides a bit.


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Old 05-09-2012, 09:24 PM
 
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porcelina-- i do worry about not being "relevant'" if i take a few years off.  I have a 3 year old dd and newborn ds (4/4/12), and I only got one week off since i'm self employed.  so for balance, i think i'm doing *ok* but not great.  I work anywhere from 18-30 hours per week, depending on the week. I can work extra some weeks so i have more free time other weeks, but on average i work about 22/hrs per week, 4 days a week.  that said, dd is in childcare for 22 hours PLUS she's with my mom another 8 hours per week, so i do get some extra time for errands and housework, kind of.  that said, now that i have a newborn, the extras aren't really getting done anymore...

 

i am away from dd from 8:30am to 7pm on mon and wed and that hurts. tues and thurs its just 8:30 to 2:30. I'm off fir/sat/sun.  the hardest part for me right now is that, while i do get my work done, and I do get *some* housework done, i never seem to be able to find time to exercise, and don't have the heart to put dd in childcare at the gym on top of everything else..

 

that said, work for me is vital to my sanity.  i need the outlet, and we do need the paycheck.  


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Old 05-11-2012, 09:46 PM
 
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I wish there was a better balance. I'm so busy at work right now so when I get home, I'm pretty tired, plus DD still wakes up to nurse so I haven't gotten a full night's sleep in a really long time. I feel like there's so little time for having fun. We do try to make an effort to do fun things on weekends, but we also end up doing errands and cleaning too. The evenings after work go so quickly, between dinner, then cleaning up, it doesn't leave much time to play with the kids. If I could get home an hour earlier, I think that would be better. We now walk in the door after 5 and bedtime for DD is around 7 and DS is 8. I like being in bed by 10. I wish I didn't have to work full time. Part time is frowned upon. I carry all the insurance benefits since DH is self employed. I don't know what I am going to do when they are in school and have homework or sports.

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Old 05-11-2012, 09:59 PM
 
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I work 24 hours a week, 3 days a week. My husband and I split the childcare and my mom helps out one day a week. I like the amount of time I spend with my daughter, but I don't like what it does to my benefits. DH has health insurance so I'm not worried about that, but I have nothing in the way of disability insurance and may not even be able to get it privately, and that worries me since I do bring in more than half of our household income. My career is not progressing with the company I am with, but it can't really progress that far with this company anyway, and I am not interested in pursuing my career all that far. The position I'm in is okay as far as it goes, but sometimes I think I should go to four days a week to get those disability benefits, and then I'd have to put my daughter in day care, and I really don't want to.

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Old 05-12-2012, 10:12 AM
 
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I have always worked, but a year ago I went back to work full time.  I average 35 hours a week plus call.  Dh stays at home with the kids.  He is an awesome, wonderful SAH and homeschooling dad, but honestly, it hurts my heart.  I want so badly to be home with the kids and when I hear them go to Daddy for something, it makes me want to cry.  I know they love me and love spending time with me, but I hate being tired all the time and missing dance and karate classes because I have to work.  I hate missing bedtime 4 days a week and having them have to be quiet in the morning because I was on call last night or I worked late and need to sleep.  Honestly, I haven't found much balance in the last year, but I keep working on it because this is the way it has to be and it doesn't look like it is going to change anytime soon...

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Old 05-17-2012, 11:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by porcelina View Post

JudiAU, so are you working 40 hours a week? And if you just had one day less, that would make it better?

 

liberal_chick,  your situation sounds absolutely ideal. Congratulations to you! Maybe just having that one day off that I used to have when a student would make a difference. I honestly do love what I do, though I don't think I can say at this stage I'm making much of a difference, though maybe there is potential for that in the future.

 

CIMama, it sounds like things are going well for you and your family. Hopefully it will seem more balanced when the intensity subsides a bit.

 

Well, I've certainly debated it. But since I would lose all fexlibility probably not. As an exempt employee, I have a lot. As an hourly worker I just become a wage slave. Everyone in my office who has reduced hours generally recommends people NOT to do it.

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Old 05-21-2012, 03:05 PM
 
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I started working full time last fall. Before that, I was a student & had a couple of full time internships but right before I started my current job I was mostly home with my son for about 6 months. My work has been super intense for a while & I really miss the time I had with my son last year. He's three now & home most days with DH, grandma or his lovely babysitter. He's terribly social (I'm an introvert) so I think having all these wonderful people caring for him together is actually ideal for him. 

 

I love my work (even if my job is sometimes infuriating) so I don't ever think about staying home with DS full-time. When I was caring for him last year I was still working about 20-ish hours a week, but I felt totally irrelevant at my job since I wasn't there very much -- I could never get deeply into a project. 

 

As for a balance, though, no way have I found it. Since I started back at work I've been constantly experimenting with working shorter hours & bringing work home with me, just staying later & not taking work home with me, & everything in between. Right now, I'm working about 45 hours a week (good for a lawyer) but I'm gone about 10 hours a day with my commute.

 

The one thing I hate is only being around for the "routines" during the week -- breakfast & getting ready in the morning, dinner & bedtime in the evenings. (Now I feel irrelevant at home!) I feel the pull to spend more time with him but I try to make the most of the weekends & we'll keep reevaluating.


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