Mastering the art of balance

Today was the second and last day of my working week. My two-day working week seems to be the envy of my work colleagues, who like to make reference to my ‘long weekend’ or ‘holiday’ any chance they get.

But even though from the outside it may seem like I am enjoying the perfect balance of paid employment and ‘lady of leisure’ status, the reality can be quite different. As anyone juggling children and employment will tell you, some days you won’t be doing either job very well.

Take today for example:

5.00am Woke up to sound of J crying. Go get him from his cot and it seems that his cough that he had started to get yesterday had gotten worse. He is supposed to have an MRI under general anesthetic tomorrow (a whole separate blog post!) and any cold symptoms should be seen by a doctor to see if he’ll be fit for the procedure.

5.30am Mr P and I have discussion about who will stay home – it’s decided I’ll go to work and Mr P will stay home as he has already got a half day off to go to a specialist appointment in the afternoon. But who will look after Jarvis while Mr P is at the specialist? Agree to take the day as it comes and cross that bridge when we come to it … afterall J may still be okay for day care.

6.00am Breakfast with the boy and continue to get ready. Decide to go into work early in case I need to go meet Mr P at the specialist at a hospital across town later in the day. Catch the 6.39am train. Train is 5 minutes late.

7.10am Walk into work and pick up from yesterday, writing a feature on fuel prices … and finally find a way into the story. Keep plugging away at it until my co-workers start to arrive at 8.30am.

8.00am Mr P rings, he’s got J into the doctor at 10.45am and rang daycare to let them know the situation. I breathe a sigh of relief that he’s got it under control. Continue plugging away at work.

11.00am Mr P rings. J has bronciolitis. No daycare. No MRI tomorrow. I start to make plans to meet Mr P at hospital … look up train times, work out how long I’ll need to be out of the office. Guilt starts to kick in from both directions … guilty I have to be out of the office and hope my boss isn’t pissed off and guilty that I’m not there with my boy.

11.30am Labour over email to boss, informing him of the situation. Know I am being silly, but guilty feelings continue.

12.00pm Boss says that’s fine – very sympathetic. Suddenly feel much better.

12.35pm Walk to station and get on train. Trip to hospital only 13 minutes, meet Mr P and J there and walk to hospital. J looks and sounds terrible and cries when he sees me. Mother guilt decides to knee me in the pit of my stomach.

1.10pm Appointment time. J and I have lunch and then go for walk around the river. He coughs alot and is fairly unsettled so we head back to wait for Mr P. Meanwhile, Children’s hospital rings with new day for MRI. Luckily there’s no delay and by the time we get upstairs, Mr P is coming out.

2.20pm Head back to work.

2.35pm Say goodbye to my boys and put my work hat back on. Incredibly, the break did me good and I edit back the story that I just couldn’t get to sound right and start on another story.

The afternoon continues in uneventful fashion (thank god!) until I log off and leave the empty office at 5.50pm. Off to enjoy my long weekend consisting of a ill and whingy boy, follow up doctors appointment and administering ventolin four-hourly! Ha ha…

Having said that, I think this is as close to balance as I can get right now and there will always be days like this. Days when I feel unappreciated and unproductive. Days when I wish that I didn’t have to hold it together and days when I might just have to be happy with not doing everything as well as I’d like. Such is the juggle, some days some of the balls might fall. The trick is to keep walking.

I’d love to hear about your juggling style, especially on days when everything seems to happen all at once!

Photo by oedipusphinx — — — — theJWDban on Flickr.com

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11 thoughts on “Mastering the art of balance

  1. Generally I just drink more coffee to deal with the longer (emotionally or actually) days. If the boy won’t let you put him down long enough to make/buy it, bribe someone else to bring it to you!

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  2. Oh I’m hearing you. I was working 2.5 days until a couple of weeks ago and I found it difficult to find balance with 3 small people at home. I finished my 9 month contract and am now home full-time again for awhile. I’m loving it! (now if only I could sleep …. I’m up at 3.45 commenting on blogs instead!!!!!)

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  3. I find balance an interesting word… virtually impossible in my life to equally balance anything.
    I prioritise. Remember why I do things and leave out the umimportant or unnecessary.
    But still sometimes I have days where I just don’t have time to eat… and that is important.

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  4. One word – WINE!!! no, not really but sometimes it does help..
    As a mother, the word “balance” is like this Nirvana that never seems achievable..
    Priororitising is very important – ask yourself “what is the most important thing to be done right now”..
    with the possible return to work for me (from home mind you) I am dreading the whole working, getting household organised, kids organised, husband organised etc.. but I am keen to return to the workforce and will just have to become a pro at the whole balance thing.. ! Great topic xx

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  5. I just smile sweetly and resist the urge to rip their pancreas out through their chosen orifice when people at work rib me about being a part time worker.

    Dude, I would HAPPILY swap for your paypacket and reduced stress.

    And coffee is your friend.

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  6. oh my goodness. I don’t know what to say. That is one heck of a balancing act, well done!

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