May 25, 2012

Life as working parents

Category: Being Parents

Being a working mom forced me to be more disciplined in managing my time between work and family.

That for me means getting home in time to be able to give Spud a shower, have a little bit of cuddle time as she sips her last milk of the day while indulging her whims to watch any cartoons she wants for half an hour, get her to brush her teeth before reading her a few bedtime stories and then put her to bed no later than 7pm. 
I get annoyed if people at work waste my time or even think of scheduling  a 5.30 pm meeting. It annoys the crap out of me if they turned up for meetings an hour late and be a complete time waster, especially when I am already in the office by 8am.  These days, unless completely necessary, I don’t stay in the office beyond 6pm.  In fact, I usually draw the line at 5.30 pm if I can help it because I want to be home in time for Spud’s bedtime.
That pretty much has been our routine since I went back to work when Spud was 3 months old. If, for some reason, I am delayed and not able to put her to bed, I know I can depend on Silver Bullet to get home in time to do the same  – provided I tell him a few hours in advance!
I have to admit that it requires a helluva lot of discipline on MY part to be able to walk away from work at the end of the day and say screw this, it’s 5.30 pm;  I’m leaving for the sakes of my kid to spend less than 2 hours with her before she goes off to bed, and I can always continue with work after 8pm if necessary. 
For some reason, both Silver Bullet and I absolutely hate the thought of anyone else but us to be the ones putting Spud to bed. And so far, despite our chaotic (mostly mine!) work schedule, I am glad that we have managed that feat every single evening, for the last 21 months or so.
Every day can be a mad rush, and it seems crazy to actually want to do it even though we have a nanny whom we can depend on. The thing is, we hate being so dependent on the Nanny. And as far as we are concerned, we want to be the first human contact Spud has in the morning, and we are the last contact she has before she slumbers the night away. On weekends, she has the both of us to put her to bed.
Call us mad, but I guess, given the limited time we get to spend with our daughter and being mostly the weekend parents that we are, this is one of a more feasible way  for us to ensure that we have a stronger bond with her – regardless how inconvenient the timing can be. 
It warms my heart that so far, Spud has never once asked for the Nanny when her Nanny is not around over the weekends or when we go on our little family vacation. It’s like she just knows!
I guess, in a way, we have done something right in that aspect. And indeed, it is a very nice feeling that we both have managed to keep that up for almost 2 years now (and still counting!)
I don’t know how other career-minded working parents do it, but it is hard to imagine that work-life balance can come that easy; especially for those who travel often for business (something which I don’t have to do, thank heavens!).  Like it or not, there always is a trade-off and you cannot have one without losing a little bit of the other when it comes to managing work-life balance.
In my case, the trade-off for being in pursuit of some financial stability is being so dependent on external help and not being able to spend time with my own kid during the day as I try to keep my day-job. While it sucks big time, I have to admit that being physically at work does work to my advantage given that I don’t think I can cope with being a full-time mom very well.
While career is still important to me, having a family does change my outlook of life. It is about finding that work-life balance, and having the utmost discipline to do so; as it tends to be something that is (unfortunately) not always possible due to societal pressures to perform at work.
And so, we try our best to make time for Spud and each other whenever we can and make sure that we spend time together as a family.  It makes us both extremely tired week-in-week-out, but in the end, I guess it is all worth it!

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