With it being ⌗childrensmentalheatlhweek it's only right, I focus this blog entry around how I balance it all. That being said, Im constantly trying to find the right balance. Especially with how rapidly the needs of both my work life and family life change.
For me my first priority is my children and always will be. I get thats easier said than done but over the last couple of years, i've definitely shifted my work priorities to favour of family commitments.
It’s not easy balancing work and home, but how well you manage this can make a significant difference to your relationship with your family. Having three boys aged eleven, nine and two, I'm sure you can imagine is a full time job. While meeting the needs and wants of each child is something I struggle with, I try to be as open and honest with them, as much as possible. I feel this enables them to have realistic expectations, which prevents unnecessary disappointment. Now let's totally be real, they are children and moods, tantrums etc are bound to happen. They just don't happen very often (thankfully). While making the decision to start ALJ LDN wasn't taken lightly. I had a conversation with my elder two, explaining the changes that would be happening. Letting them know my attention, availability and finances will be effected. While still reassuring them they have been, are and always will be my main priority.
"Work life balance is something most parents really crave. Recent surveys reveal that many parents are eager to make changes so they can work more flexibly, even if it affects their pay, because they know that having time with their children is important."
When Im not working, doing school & nursery runs, homework, driving back and forth to football practice and games, cocking meals, cleaning, shopping, etc I do try a couple times a months to do something with the kids, for the kids. Of course yes, balancing it all is exhausting and expensive but children need your attention, just as much as they need a home, clothes and food. Taking your children out doesn't have to cost a lot either, with apps like hoop. Your able to find events and activities at cost but also for free and with many place's offering picnic areas, your able to save money by taking a packed lunch with you. Also with children being able to travel for nothing in most cases, why not plan some events for the up coming half term. You know your children best, so you'll know what will work.
Something we've started this year but it really should have started from last year. Family movie night, together we pick out a movie. All find a comfy spot in the front room (as my kingsize bed is no longer big enough), popcorn and snacks and some quality family time. You'd be surprised how impressed your children would be with a little imagination from mum and or dad.
ALJ LDN being only 5 months old definitely has it pros and cons. Im absolutely thankful for the support, I've received thus far and couldn't be more proud of the response and clientele I've received. Without a doubt lack of hours in the day and resources are for sure my cons. Though its taken a while to get where I am, i'm sure i'm doing exactly what I should being. Being self employed doesn't work for everyone and I totally believe you should do what you feel comfortable doing. Self employment has help me dictate my own work patterns and gives me the option to prioritise my children. I previously worked as an area manager managing multiple stores and staff but after many years of working up the ladder within that company. I knew I would never feel as accomplished as I do working for myself, nor did I have the flexibility I have now. Running my own company is hard and as I said earlier, I had to explain the many changes that would happen to my children. Something that caught me off guard and what I didn't expect. I did not understand the magnitude of the changes to my life. There has been a lot of smiles, laughter, tears and anger and I'm sure that won't be stopping any time soon, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
An example of my work/family balance would be; My "workday" is pretty much 24 hours but I'm 100% focused for roughly one to one and half hours in the morning before they all wake up about 6. This gives me time to check any emails I've received over night, check my calendar for the day, etc. One I've done the school run and nursery drop off, engaging with my children and trying my best keep work separate. I head to my office, working non stop until the school run again.Then until roughly 7/8pm when they all head to bed. I try to stay fully engaged with them again. Of course I'll get a phone call or email but I try to keep it at a minimum. Once they are in bed I can get back to work. Ideally I should stop at around 10pm but many nights run until the earlier hours. Of course It would be easier to work full days but that doesn't work for my family life.
Now this is where I suffer and need to make some major changes. Im pretty mean to myself, yes I change my hair style often but thats only because I do my own hair. I don't socialise as much as a young single woman should because when I'm not with the kids or working, Im sleeping! I feel awful with the ways I've neglected family and friends due to being so overwhelmed and have vowed to make a change this year, In addition to some promises I've made myself.
What Ive only recently started and will definitely be keeping you up to date on the process, is therapy. Im excited, while still nervous about what this journey holds but with everything I have going on. It's needed and I would whole heartedly recommend going. There are many different options depending on what you'd like to gain. In most cases you have to pay for therapy, especially if you'd like to determine the number of sessions you'd like, where you'd like to go and who you'd like to see but you also have the option of accessing a therapist via your GP.
What I'm trying to say is there is no formula to a work/family balance. You have to do what works for you and your family. People will always have an opinion, but what makes sense to you is most important. Ive tried so many different ways and I'm sure i'll try many more. Family and work will always change, it will evolve. As long as you're willing to be flexible and open minded. Theres no limit to the life you can live!
Thank you for reading, If you like and found anything useful. Please like and share!