Getting the Balance Right
I admit it. I like working. My return to work after the first year of Ellis' life coincided with coming out of a year of depression, so I couldn't help but feel positive about my new work/life balance. I like supporting the enviornmental sector to acheive the daunting tasks ahead. I enjoy my colleagues and the amazing places I get to see as part of my work.
Two and a half days a week isn't a bad balance and I know many people that would feel blessed to have such flexibility of employment. But recently, I can't help but feel like I am loosing on all sides. Part-time work is a hard thing to juggle...proportionately more of my work time is spent on the administration it takes to work (annual leave recording, management notices, etc etc) and not the meat of what I DO. I am often not available for meetings and I must be surpremely focussed to meet deadlines set by an organisation that operates full time.
And then there is the stark reality that my work will not go anywhere, whilest I have small children. Some of you may argue with this point, but in my heart of hearts, I see that the mix of a declining economy, my frequent need to take days off to care for a sick child (or more often care for myself who caught something off of a child), my part time status and of course the potential for more children, all mean that I am not as likely to progress upwards or even outwards...not matter what equalities legislation has to say about it.
Do I need to point out the irony of this? Do I have to reference Gordon Brown and the Labour Party's seeming obsession about women in the workforce and how the benefit system is set up to force parents to work? Do I need to discuss the blank stares and topic changes I have witnessed when dear friends of mine admit to the travesty of "staying at home" or even worse cleaning someone else's house to make ends meet and have quality time with their children? Or the tears that have been cried on my shoulder by friends who work full time and miss their kids dreadfully?
But where I really notice the loss is with Ellis. We have a lovely day care centre and he enjoys going, for teh most part. But he is very honest that he would rather be at home with us. Children are little creatures of habit and he likes HIS fire engine and HIS park, HIS abbey and HIS cats, HIS mama and HIS dada. And I miss him. Even the days I am "off", I feel we are caught in a whirlwind of going and "getting things done" and not just being together.
And so I throw it out to you, my dear friends. Do you stay at home? Do you work full time? Part Time?