|I'm a happy camper when I'm balanced.|
It's like that rare Saturday afternoon when your husband ran an errand with the baby, so your house is eerily quiet, and you're confusingly free to bite into a bunch of dark chocolate, take a quick, decadent soak in the bath, or beer-bong an episode of Real Housewives. This piece of information I now have could help new moms everywhere keep their sanity as they navigate the boredom of Stay At Home Mom-ism or the exploded flour bag of Working Mom life. I have - Clark Griswold, give me that drumroll - the schedule that will save your life.
Let's say you have a baby, and try the Stay At Home Mom life. Most of us come from the workforce, and staying at home is a huge adjustment that might actually give us depression (raises hand) from not feeling like we're being productive enough. Not that you're sitting on your ass eating bonbons in front of the TV; you're actually busier than you've ever been, but never in your working life did you attach accomplishment to spooning squashed peas into a baby's mouth, or wrestling a screwdriver out of your toddler's hand. You're craving that praise or payoff that comes from career-advancing projects.
But on the other hand, let's say three months after baby's born - or, because this is the worst country for maternity leave, three weeks, even - you're breast-pumping at your cubicle, thrown full-force into emails, deadlines and "Oh, hey, Amanda, can you circle back about the synergy with the bottom line" stuff. At work, you're cut no slack for keeping a human alive by night AND fulfilling work duties by day, and then at home, not only do you try to spend quality time with the baby because you've been working all day, but since you're the lady of the house, you're likely also picking up the place, doing laundry, trying to fit in a grocery shopping run, spending tons on eating out because you're too tired to cook, using the TV to babysit so you can return a few emails...just overall trying to fit 37 hours of work into a 24 hour day. Not to mention the daily haunting that is your daycare bill - life proves just as hard as a Working Mom as a Stay At Home Mom.
So here's where my Golden Schedule comes in to save the day. What if I told you the begrudged Stay At Home Mom can get out of the house a few days a week and make a name for herself without losing all that time to do household tasks and errands, and avoiding slap-in-the-face daycare bills? And what if I told you the frazzled, guilty Working Mom can finally have time to let her hair down at home and easily have time for motherly duties, without losing the working identity and paycheck? I ain't lying' when I say this is the PERFECT scenario!
New research says Millennials are moving toward careers of part-time jobs - one, two or even three - to maintain schedule flexibility as well as fulfill different interests. Inspired by this concept, I got a part-time job, where I negotiated a 24-hour workweek, 8am - 4pm MWF. That left me Tuesdays and Thursdays free to be a Stay At Home Mom, and weekends free (when my husband is home) to spend time as a family. It is, I'm telling you, the most amazing balance of work and home. If it were switched - MWF at home and T-Th at work - it wouldn't be enough "me." And if I worked on the weekends, it would feel like I'm being robbed of valuable two-parent time and spouse time. But this schedule gives me enough hours to make a paycheck that not only covers my son's three-day-a-week daycare, but also a little extra for savings or vacations that we wouldn't have otherwise. Not only do I feel fulfilled making money and having an identity outside the home, but also I'm less stressed when I work, knowing I'll have Tues-Thurs to get any errands done. And there's the most important factor: When I was a SAHM, sometimes I'd mentally check out amidst the household/parenting greymatter. But now that my mind gets stimulated and a break from baby MWF, I'm now 100-percent present and engaged as a mom when I'm home. That's what really makes it all worth it.
I know there are plenty of moms whose hearts explode with joy from being with baby 24/7, and also working moms whose sharp talents would be wasted on less than 40 hours a week. But this hard-earned wisdom (took me all 16 months of my son's life to figure out, to be exact) is for the woman - more sad than not - who's stuck in thought of, "there's gotta be a better way." Well, here it is, my sweet friend, I found it, just for you.