March 28, 2013

Cutting Back

About a month ago it became painfully obvious that my current situation with work wasn't working.  
I felt like all the time I spent with my daughter during the week was fraught with frustration, both hers and mine.
Mornings are always a mad dash to get everybody dressed, the dogs fed, the house picked up and off to work and daycare, which leaves little time for playing or being silly. It's all business and many times I have to fight with Evie to get dressed because she doesn't want to go to school. She wants to stay home and watch Diego, thankyouverymuch.
Evenings are much the same. Dash to the daycare after work, dash home, throw a load of laundry in, start dinner, try to push down guilt because I am making dinner which means that I can't have every iota of attention focused on Evie. Evie is fussy because she's tired and wants every iota of my attention. After dinner, it's another whirlwind of bath time, PJ's and bedtime at 7:30.
And all of this rushing and dashing left me feeling like I never got to spend any time with my kid during the week. Which made me reluctant to share her with the grandparents on the weekend because that was the only enjoyable time we spent together. Sometimes I felt like we went days without a happy moment between the two of us, which left me feeling guilty, frustrated and sad.
I talked to my husband and prayed about it. I know being a SAHM is not in the cards for us right now, nor do I really want it to be, at least not full time. So I went to my boss and asked to cut back my hours at work. About six weeks before Evie was born I switched from salaried to hourly to allow me to miss a few hours here and there for whatever reason without burning through my PTO.
I explained our situation to him. I told him this was not some sort of ultimatum, but that I wasn't happy and it was affecting my performance at work and at home, that I felt like I was missing all the good stuff with Evie. He's a dad, and really just one of the best bosses you could ask for as a working mom, so we came to the agreement that two days a week I would leave at 3:30 instead of 5:00.
It doesn't sound like a lot, three hours per week, but it has made a world of difference. Sometimes I use that extra time to do things I need to do like go to the grocery, start dinner, run home and throw a load of laundry in or pick up the house -- all things that take three times as long with a toddler in tow -- that way when I pick her up we have all that time together. Other times, I pick her up from daycare and we go have a little adventure, just the two of us.
Last week it was trip to Sonic in the sunshine. This week we took a trip through car wash because Eva Pearl was dirty and then headed next door to Starbucks for a cake pop and chocolate milk. Evie was super excited about her first cake pop. Unfortunately this Starbucks doesn't offer highchairs (what's up with that?), but we made do. Evie sat next to me like a grown up girl eating her cake pop and drinking her chocolate milk. We chatted about any number of things. The cars and trucks driving down the street made for interesting conversation as did the lights hanging from the ceiling. Cinnamon (her new puppy from build a bear) joined us and Evie was generous enough to offer her a few bites of cake pop and a few sips of chocolate milk. Lucky dog. It was thoroughly enjoyable.
{I am also having fun with picmonkey's new light features!}
Once it warms I think we will start visiting the park by her daycare to swing, feed the ducks and play on the play ground.
It feels good this cutting back thing. It was the right thing to do, and I am amazed at how a mere three hours can make a difference in my relationship with my daughter.
How do you balance your work home life? If you are a stay at home mom how to do you balance your workload with time with your kids?