Most working parents know the balance of work/home life is extremely hard to manage. You want to get back into the workforce after being a stay at home parent to interact with your colleagues, be engaged and have a purpose, feel like you are achieving something and start contributing again to the family income.
The morning routine of getting your kids out of bed, making their lunch, ensuring they have enough breakfast before going to school, getting dressed, brushing their teeth, don't destroy the house before leaving, dropping them at school or daycare as well as getting yourself ready for your workday can be exhausting. Gone are the days of just getting yourself out of bed, going for a run, making a quick smoothie and flying out the door to start your workday.
The struggle is REAL!
You get to work, perform a full day, pick up kids on the way home from work, get home and hopefully have the shared responsibility with your partner of getting the kids fed, bathed, doing their homework, spending a bit of time reading some books and winding down before getting them to bed, to then go through their school bags and find the lunch that you made wasn’t eaten, the school friend’s birthday party invite (note to self to buy a present next time you are at the shops) and sending your RSVP, filling in the forms for swimming and reading when their next show and tell is and marking it in your calendar so you don’t forget.
All you want to do is sit on the couch with your feet up and watch Netflix but know you have to do the washing as you have run out of school uniforms, make some muffins for school with no nuts or eggs as that’s the school policy and pay a few household bills only to do it all again the next day.
Add in the uncertainty of pandemic life and waiting to find out if your child was a close contact at school and working out who will isolate with them for the week and which parent can manage working from home - who has the least amount of meetings and who doesn’t need to go into the office.
AND, try fitting in some exercise, have a social life, spend quality time with your partner and make time for yourself…
I’m sure this sounds all too familiar for many parents but for me, the reality of working back in an office has been for the most part, great.
Having a husband that can pick up kids from school, start dinner and shower the kids before I get home from work is extremely helpful.
I can get up early 2 days of the week, and go for a run whilst my husband gets the kids sorted so at least I can still get my exercise in.
Having a day off a week with no kids is great but don’t think I’m at the day spa all day getting facials and massages…. there’s still all the other ‘stuff’ I have to do, the meal planning, grocery shopping, life admin, Dr's appointments, cleaning the house and running around but overall, I think we are managing it well.
I went from working for myself and not having anyone to run ideas past to working in an office with some pretty amazing people who always make me laugh, despite what kind of day I’m having.
The mental load and decision fatigue (yes this is an actual ‘thing’) is probably the worst part of working part-time and running a household and I don’t think any returning to work parent will ever find that perfect balance.
The one thing I have learnt about returning to work is that you can’t say yes to everything… Start saying no – it’s ok to say no!
Sometimes you are a better parent for working, and sometimes you are a better parent staying at home. Whatever way works for you and your family, I’m sure you would all agree, that regardless of your working situation, parenting, in general, can be bloody hard work.
Thank goodness for a gin and soda (or two) at the end of the week!
Start-Up & Support Staff Specialist