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Thursday, October 2, 2014

How I (Try to) Make it Work

     I don't read blogs as much as I used to back in the days of Google Reader (RIP) but lately I have been following this Moms Make it Work series on Julia's blog.  My family is entering a point of transition as my husband reaches the end of his undergraduate education and we decide where and how to take our next steps. I like reading thoughts from moms in all different life stages, from those who work full time to those who stay at home and the growing number of moms who, like me, straddle those two worlds. I've also gotten a lot of questions from friends and acquaintances about how work and childcare and chores are managed in our household, so I thought I'd do my own little "moms make it work" post about how I try to balance everything. (The answer is usually, "not very well.")
Barre buddies!

   A Typical Day
    Our days vary greatly depending on Graham's class schedule and my teaching schedule but we try to keep Gus's routine as consistent as possible. He tends to wake up at about 6:30 (though lately he's been sleeping until 7:00 am--glorious!) and I'll get him up, dressed, to the potty (on a good day) and downstairs where I try to get him to eat some breakfast as I make coffee. Graham leaves for school around 7:30 and, because we only have one car in our family, I'll often drive him the three miles to campus so Gus and I can have the car for running errands. Gus and I are home together until 3:00 pm, with the exception of Tuesdays when I teach three hours in the morning and Gus goes to a babysitter. I do my studio admin work like answering emails, updating student accounts, paying bills and planning lessons while Gus naps and usually squeeze in an extra hour of work or writing while he watches an episode of Sesame Street before or after his nap. At 3:00 pm Graham comes home and I usually head down to the studio to start "real" work. Graham stays home with Gus, making him dinner, giving him his bath and putting him down for bed around 7:00 pm. I'm grateful for a husband who doesn't mind our 50/50 childcare split because so far I've been able to work without paying for too much childcare! Every now and then, Gus has to come with me to the studio to clean or teach private lessons. He usually does well but I am not good at having a "mom brain" and "teacher brain" on at the same time, so I prefer him to stay home when I'm teaching.

Teaching Hours
     The last couple of years, I maintained a schedule where I was consistently teaching several hours of physically demanding classes Monday - Thursday, plus a couple of hours on Fridays or Saturdays, after taking care of a baby/toddler all day. Some people can handle that type of schedule but it was really wearing on my brain and body and a big strain for our family. This year I made the decision to combine a couple of ballet classes, so I'm at my studio for a total of about 20 teaching hours and four or five rehearsal hours each week, mostly on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings. Tuesdays I finish teaching before noon and have the evening off to take yoga or even stay home and have dinner at a normal time! Thursdays, I've been teaching a couple of Pilates and barre classes in another town but will soon be devoting those evenings to ministry with a Christian ballet company near Seneca Lake. I'm so excited for the opportunity to dance and perform a little bit again in a ministry capacity!
     I get home from work anywhere between 8:00 pm and 9:30 pm. Usually, I make myself a late dinner and spend an hour or two before bed catching up with my husband or reading. I know some WAHMs who are able to squeeze in some working hours at night but my brain just doesn't function productively at night so I try to stay off the computer and away from my "at-home" work unless there's something really pressing to be done.
I take care of most of the day-to-day chores in our household (at least the indoor ones) but I'm pretty terrible at it.  Graham says it's because I'm "only meticulous about ballet." Keeping the counters clean and free of clutter, the dirty dishes at a manageable number, and the laundry done is about the extent of my capabilities on a good day but I'm getting much better! A de-cluttered house and reasonably tidy kitchen are essential to my peace of mind.

Would I do it differently?
This is something I'm trying to figure out. In some ways, I have the best of both worlds. I used to think I'd really like being a stay-at-home-mom but the reality of it is so different and I know I'll always need another outlet (or ten). I do really appreciate that I get to earn a living, mostly outside the home, while simultaneously getting to spend my days with my son.
         Sometimes I'm frustrated with trying to be both a full-time working mom 100% responsible for her family's income and a full-time stay-at-home-mom. We've talked a little bit about it and we think our ideal situation would be for Graham to work full time and for me to just teach/dance/perform part-time in the evenings without the added stress of running a business. That said, I'm incredibly thankful to get to own a business in a field I love where I am right now. It just may not be forever--we're taking that one step, one year at a time.

How does your family "make it work"? I'd love to hear about it! 


1 comment:

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