23 August 2017

The 4 Day Week

4 days on, 3 days off. Or 4 days off, 3 days on.

It depends on the way you look at it. Being at work or at home. The hardest bit is balance. If anyone had the perfect recipe of work/family life balance, then we all know we would sell our houses for a piece of it - a way not to feel guilty for neglecting the kids or neglecting the office.

When I found out I was pregnant with my first - Blake - I told my mum I would return after a year and slot back into life in a highly demanding media job running a team, 10 clients and doing it by my new flexible working hours of 8.30-4.30. I would be everything I was at work and strive to be everything I wanted to be at home. I would also be a size 8 post birth and look fresh faced and fancy - daily - and not be in work finding sick on my jumper. I had it all planned. My mum said but Vee you can't have everything something must give. I put it down to a generational thing, we're the hungry career women generation who can have it all. Surely... Right?

It turns out no but actually yes.

I find when I'm great at work -  I'm putting in more hours - I miss my usual train home, I'm later than I wanted to be and I've missed kissing my little early bird baby girl goodnight and damn I won't see her tomorrow either as I've a client meeting in London, and an event after! Then S**t she must be missing me, god I'm a crap mum she's probably wondering where I am. I really should bake cookies with them this weekend, I really need to spend more time with Blake reciting his letters - it's totally my fault he's not interested in writing when I don't invest the time, god he's going to be the only kid doing GCSE’s that can't write.

Or if I'm on top of the household, tick, tick, kids are being angels this week, errands run, tick! Got the weekends organised and picnic packed, park play dates sorted, tick tick. But then F**k I've missed that deadline at work and S**t I haven't even put my out of office on, and why am I sprinting to the train again, in the rain, without an umbrella and nearly having an asthma attack in the silent commuter carriage. God it's hot in this carriage. Yes, I am alright I just need my jacket off and can you open that window please, and can you just tell me where this train stops, I hope it's not the wrong train as I don't want to end up in Stalybridge again. I convince myself I'm a liability and question how the hell I landed a senior position at work when I've just embarrassed the man in the seat opposite by dropping my banana on his crotch (this regrettably happened). I'm not good enough, they'll soon find me out at work. I can't do it anymore and I haven't got time to do it how I want to.
So, it seems that I can't have it all, but maybe I can. Just not all the time and not every week.

The hardest part is the adjustment between my two jobs, I feel I spend a day either side transitioning. On Thursday I skip home as I'm desperate to see my babies but then the anxiety spills over into sheer panic as I think about a day on my own with them. Just them, just those crying, demanding devil diva children. It's going to be just us the whole next day - all day - for like 12 hours before fun time dad returns.  I'm not sure what I think might happen if I don't plan the day. We all might explode perhaps. So then I try and fill it, cram pack it into a jam packed sure to cause stress sandwich. So why do this? Anyone else do this? To achieve anything, life is required to run at a 100 mph, probably faster, which basically means the probability of s**t going wrong is steep, very steep my friend.
Then on Monday morning I'm in a sleepy haze feeling like Thursday was 1980 and how the hell do I even turn my computer
I am really writing this post for myself, to listen to the advice from a dear insightful friend:

Take your bra off and relax.

At home. At work (metaphorically maybe at work). Life is far too stressful to stress over the frankly irrelevant stuff we as mums fill up our more than capable brain space with. I've got this kids. I can manage deadlines on my day off and I won't stop making a phone call to the team in fear my kids scream 'I want choc choc noowww mummy'. They’re kids. Who wouldn't want choc choc for breakfast. Any sane working person, kids or not would get this.

And if my kids aren't waiting with their aprons on for the 'let's make a cookie' 4pm meeting, then hand them their p45's. We will just have to buy some from Tesco and maybe eat the whole packet together in front of a movie. Will we die? No. I'll just brush their teeth twice that night and remember to high five myself for having a job I like and high five my beautiful kids because it is a treat to be with them at home on a Friday - just us - all day even if the place ends up looking like Oxfam at the end of it.

This week it's going to be 4 days on, 3 days off.

Written by Vee from @maxedoutmumma


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