Monday, 29 February 2016

The wake up call to the work/family life balance


After a busy start to the year with work, we decided to get away for a long weekend at Centre Parcs. Lots of happy memories (and the FitBit went came into its own) as our first get-away as a family of four. Our lodge was booked until Monday morning 10am, but we wanted to keep our eldest in his routine of his new nursery in an attempt to overcome his anxious transition, so we left late Sunday evening to return home. Having booked the Monday off work to do tip runs, and financial stuff that does not usually get a look in, I thought I'd do the nursery run and pick-up as I've not had the opportunity to do so since he started in January. And I'm pleased to say our eldest was delighted with this change to the usual journey, and it gave my wife the chance to have a lay-in (with our youngest).

We set off walking, and talked about what he could tell his teachers and friends about his weekend, and that we'd print some pictures off to stick in his activity book for show-and-tell later in the evening. Before we knew it we were at the gates being welcomed in. He took me into the building showing me where everything was, pictures of his friends and dragged me over to his teacher. To which he then clammed up and hid behind me, eventually coming round when I started talking about his weekend. We had a massive hug, and off he went to find his name on the table. And a morning and afternoon of tedious jobs awaited me.

The pick-up came around all to quick, so I darted across to the nursery walking past parents in parked cars, which as a novice seemed a little odd. But it was not until I got to the playground where I clearly stuck out like a saw thumb as a new-be, as there were groups of parents huddled round, that I realised why the others were in their car's. Thankfully I didn't have to stand around for long, before I was greeted by my son grinning from ear-to-ear, sprinting across the playground. The walk home was just as fun as that of the morning. I must admit it's something I'm envious of that my wife gets to do, and be involved with. Even when getting home and within a space of 30mins all emotions come pouring out due to tiredness. It was nice to be apart of this little world that typically I'm excluded from due to the hours I work midweek.

The moment came just before bedtime when I was hit with how much my eldest enjoyed the change to his routine, but not in a good way on my part:
My eldest: "Daddy, can you take me and pick me up tomorrow, please"
Me: "I'd love to, but I have to work tomorrow, so mummy will take you and pick you up"
My eldest: "Why do you have to work?"
Me: "To buy things like food, clothes and weekends away"
My eldest: "You work too much, and you don't have to go to work tomorrow, because they don't have anymore money".

Whilst his reasoning was funny, this is the first time my eldest has made any comment about the hours I work. I always try to make sure that in the evenings I give him my full attention, even when I've got other things on my mind.  I often bring work home with me, which when things are not running smoothly as part of the bedtime routine, I'm guilty (and I have to admit that I hate this), that in the back of my mind I'm thinking about being delayed in starting. I thought I had masked this from my eldest, but with the conversation from today he's clearly picking up on things quicker than I had given him credit for. So, I may not be able to do anything about the hours I work mid-week, but I'm determined to make sure that I get the work-life balance in order, so my sons don't feel they're second behind work, and the weekend away certainly helped as a starting point.



23 comments:

  1. I commend you for recognising this, time is so precious and we are all guilty of being consumed by responsibilities that we often dont get the balance right. Im sure that day was magical for your eldest child to have you pick them up, I remember being so excited when my dad would rarely pick me up - I would run straight past my mum totally ignoring her (Which she told me years later hurt her feelings!) Hope you manage to get a balance that works for you all x

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. It's a difficult thing getting the balance right and I guess its always after a holiday/time away that you get to reflect. A bit like the New Year's Resolutions that quickly get discarded. However, this feels more important than 'going to the gym'. So is something I'm determined to keep. Because ultimitly I'll like him to look back as you have done with fond memories.

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  2. I remember my eldest coming up with something a little like this, that was the start of me quitting the day job and us moving to Cornwall and Coombe Mill #abitofeverything

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  3. Thanks for reading and sharing. It certainly does make you stop and take stock.

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  4. Great post. I think we are all guilty of having what we want to do after the kids are in bed (whether work or TV or blogging). I myself try and push those thought away but it can be hard! Great that you have recognised this and can perhaps make a few small changes. Thanks for sharing with #bestandworst x

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    1. Thanks for sharing Sarah. It's a constant balancing act. But already the past 3.5 years have flown past and if I'm not careful so will the next.

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  5. Thanks for sharing this, we are all guilty of wishing to do other stuff as soon as the kids are in bed. Glad that you to do the nursery drop off and pick up, that must have been really special for your soon. Claire X #abitofeverything

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    1. Thanks for commenting. It's a hard habit to kick, but one worth doing.

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  6. Oh it is so tricky to get the balance right but it sounds like you are a totally dedicated parent. I don't think anybody feels like they really get it right all the time, you just have to do your best. When I was little my Dad worked away most weeks and was back at weekends, and my mum was a SAHM! Two extremes but Dad working away was what allowed for my mum to be able to stay at home. It just made our weekends with him even better and he always made the effort to ask about school etc. Sounds like already you are very involved with everything so I'd say you're doing great!! #coolmumclub

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    1. Thanks, certainly trying as we all are. Just hope that my sons appreciate everything when they're older =:0)

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  7. Well done on recognising this, it's so difficult but it sounds as though you are an amazing parent. #fridayfrolics

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, really appreciate it.

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  8. I can so relate to your post. I have lots of guilt over my working hours as I can't do the pickups and drop offs at all. It is true that we need to find the balance and I hope I can find mine too! They grow up too quickly and before you know it, they'll be driving themselves off to school! Such a well written and thought provoking post. Thanks for sharing with #abitofeverything

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    1. Thanks for reading and commenting. It certainly is a shame, I need to remember that holidays are a small part of the year so as not to miss out on the other 50 weeks of the year.

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  9. It's a really hard balance to get right. Makes the holidays even more precious. Thanks for linking up to #FridayFrolics

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  10. When you look at it from the kid's perspective, work really does seem like the craziest thing out (bar the need to earn money to keep the family afloat). I feel like an utter douchebag every time I have to explain it to my little girl...thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub!

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    1. Thanks Talya, glad I'm not alone =:0)

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  11. Great post. Finding that balance is hard when you work and have children. Thanks for linking up to #justanotherlinky xx

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    1. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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  12. I know that when the other half does the very rare nursery run, Zach absolutely loves it. We both work full time but Zach has definitely mentioned about why do we have to work before. I wish we had a better work/life balance and hope that in time that can be the case - before it's too late of course! Great post and glad that nursery run made you evaluate the important things :) Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

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    1. Thanks for sharing and commenting. It is a difficult balancing act, one which will get harder when my wife goes back to work. All new period of adjustment. Keeps things interesting I guess.

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  13. Great post, I am the main carer in our house whilst my Husband works quite long hours. It makes me sad that he misses out on so much, just ordinary moments like taking our girls to school and putting them to bed. All so special - work life balance is such a tricky one to master!!

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    1. Hi Natalie, thanks for your comment and sharing your experience.

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