Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The Balancing Act

My lovely neighbour, who is a reporter, and who had a baby three months ago, sent me a link for this blog, A Cup of Jo. The writer, Joanna Goddard, interviewed seven moms about how they balance work/baby/life. I dug right in and read them all - twice. Since Joanna neglected to interview me (insert happy face) I decided to answer her questions here on my blog just for the fun of it.

What's your work schedule?
It's only in the last month that I have gone back to work in a more solid way. We've finally carved out a routine that is working for all of us. For now anyway...
So here goes: The Cedar alarm clock goes off at 7. We hang out in bed for a good hour and try to entertain him with lazy toys like diapers - yes, clean - or magazines, or the curtains. Anything to stay horizontal for as long as possible. Then we get up, head downstairs, make smoothies, shower, and head to Mitzi's for coffee. Cedar has a little buddy that we meet there in the mornings. It's the best part of the day.
At 9:30 I put Cedar down for a nap and then head to work. I work from 10-1. Bri is with Cedar during this time, doing fun mysterious boy things. I get home and put him down for his second nap. It's during this time that I either journal, blog, or do some housework. This is when Bri leaves to do his work.
When Cedar wakes up at 3, the world is our oyster... For a couple hours anyway.

How do you handle childcare?
Childcare is currently split between me and Bri. Bri does the 9:30-1:30 shift, and I do 1:30-5:30, then we reconvene for family time. Cedar is our boss.
In the fall, Cedar will start daycare 3 mornings a week, which will allow for longer stretches of time at work.

Where do you work during the day?
I work in my office up at the bakery. It's in a loft/mezzanine space above the staff area. I like working in an open space where I can have contact with my staff (love those ladies...)

What do you like least about your current set-up?
The 3-hour chunks at work don't feel like enough time to really complete a task. The day feels split up in a way that makes my head spin a little bit.

What do you find so-so/tricky/hilariously bad about your current set-up? What would you change if you had a magic wand?
The trickiness comes when trying to do too much. I used to put SO many things into a day, and I don't think it was healthy for me. When I try to operate like I used to, and end up dragging Cedar around in the car too much, it feels really crappy because no one is happy after a day like that. I also find it challenging to fit in the things that make a house a home: cooking, cleaning, beautifying. Food plays such an important role in how a day feels, and this is often neglected.
If I had a magic wand I'd probably break the motor on it from overuse. Not because anything is 'wrong' per se, but because I am kind of addicted to improving things.

How do you and your husband fit your marriage into the balance?
Cedar goes to bed at 7:30, so we have the evenings open for work or hanging out, or doing something that feeds us. We usually end up using this time to get things done, which isn't exactly feeding the marriage aspect of things. We went out for dinner last week for our anniversary and had such an awesome time. Our aim is to do that once a week.

Do you have any time for yourself?
I've carved out Thursday mornings as my time to go to yoga and perhaps even get a massage after. If I don't feed myself these things it is really easy to lose touch. I also use the evenings to do things like write, or read, or veg, but I find I am pretty bagged by the end of the day.

Do you ever wonder how other women manage the juggle? Have you talked to other women about it?
I am obsessed with this topic. And yes, I practically stop other women on the street to find out how they choreograph their days. I know that I've been looking for answers, and hoping that I am doing it 'right' but I don't think there is any right or wrong way. Each family is so different, and we all seem to create it as we go.

What advice would you give to other moms about how to balance work and life?
I don't think things are in these neat compartments of parenthood/life/work - life is life and everything has to be treated as part of one whole or it's easy to fragment and feel disconnected. I want to feel complete and present with all of the elements that make up my life and not jump between personas. I especially notice this since having Cedar and trying to be "a mother" when really I just need to be myself.

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