What does “Work/Life balance” actually mean?

I’ve been back at work for two months now (has it really only been that long?!) and it has been a real rollercoaster of emotions. Normal post-Maternity Leave anxieties aside, I had always been looking forward to going back to work; But I also knew it wouldn’t be easy. I haven’t yet regretted my decision to go back. I am enjoying seeing my work colleagues again and using my brain more. H also really, really enjoys nursery so I am fortunate to rarely suffer from mummy-guilt.

Schedule

Many of the observations I called out in my ‘First Thoughts‘ blog post still hold true. I am still finding it challenging to adapt to my new ‘capacity’ at work and find myself wanting to do more than I can. Before H was born, I had 5 days to juggle work across and the option of staying an extra half an hour. Now-a-days I am out the door at 4pm on the dot. When I have the odd thing to finish off, I tend to do it in the evenings which is fine, but I need to ensure it’s not a daily occurrence.

After struggling with frustrations across all aspects of life over the last few weeks because I’m trying to do more than I can, I have gone back to basics, inspired by this blog post from Idealist Mom. I have thought about my priorities and plan to use these to keep my ambitions and frustrations in check. I doubt my priorities differ significantly to most other mothers, but here they are:

  • My family, especially Mini H and Sam: They come above and beyond everything. Spending time with H every day is non-negotiable for me so on work days when I only see her for 5 minutes in the morning, so I leave work 4pm to spend some time with her before she goes to bed. Then if she or Sam are ill and need me at home, I need to find any means possible to be there;
     
  • My health: If I am not fit, well and rested (within reason!) then I’m not going to be able to do anything else properly. I suffered enough sleep deprivation last year to know the effect that alone has. I make sure I eat regularly and well throughout every day, walk as much as I can, exercise a few times a week and get to bed at a decent hour;
     
  • My job: I don’t spend 24 hours a week in the office and over 7 hours in total commuting just for kicks. Obviously being paid is a good thing but I take pride in what I do and want to do a good job. So after H is asleep, I’ve had my dinner and done some general tidying, if I have to spend some time working then so be it. I just need to make sure it doesn’t become a nightly habit as not switching-off has a detrimental effect on my work and the rest of my life;
     
  • My home: I like to live in a clean and organised house, so try to keep on top of chores so our house is always reasonably clean and neat. In fact, to a degree, some cleaning gets covered indirectly by priorities 1 & 2, because if certain parts of the house aren’t clean then it’s not healthy and hygienic! But the general dusting, window cleaning etc start to bug me if they don’t get done regularly;
     
  • My sanity: Running around after others, doing work, exercising, cooking and cleaning is all well and good but I need some down time. I have never felt guilty about taking some time for myself, but sometimes felt guilty for taking as long as I wanted. I sometimes want to pass an evening on my laptop on my blog or reading twitter. Sometimes I want to take a bath. Sometimes I like to go into town for an hour on my own. I try and find some time every day which is for me.

So when things start to get on top of me, I will focus back on these priorities and how I am splitting my time across them. When I want to do so much in life, I need to stop wasting time feeling confused and frustrated by things!

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About Me

About Me

Hello, I'm Angela. I'm Mum to two small people (4 & 1). I'm a Gardener, am houseplant obsessed and addicted to tea. By day I work in tech and also look after my littles. I'm trying to get our family to live a more sustainable life. I also have far too many opinions...hence the blog. You can read more about me here. You can also follow me on Twitter so you never miss a post. Hope you enjoy reading!

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