These thoughts are cyclical I realize but I've been thinking again about working vs. staying at home. When I have angst over working, it's more often not because of the actual work that I'm doing, but because of working at all. I enjoy my work despite some really frustrating moments, but increasingly, I often realize that my kids are not getting any younger and though I certainly don't feel like I'm doing them any harm by working, I sometimes feel like I'm missing something. The summer often brings these thoughts upon me because if I weren't working, I could be doing things with them. We could go to museums and parks. They could run around the neighborhood. I might get to know other moms in the area. All that jazz.
Mother-in-Chief writes all the time about the desire to find fulfilling part-time work. I want to work, for all kinds of reasons: financial rewards, intellectual stimulation, a feeling of contributing. Fulfilling part-time work would be a good solution to the problem. Another solution for me might be to rearrange my work schedule. I might, a couple of times a week, come in at 7:30 and leave at 4:00. Or I might squeeze 35 hours into 4 days, giving me one day a week to be a mom, perhaps giving me time to pursue my other interests: writing, blogging, just keeping the chaos in the house at bay, exercising.
It's those other interests really that are causing me angst right now, because they're the first to go when the kids need to be tended to. If it's 9:30 at night by the time the kids have been fed, bathed, homeworked, reassured, then there's very little time and much less energy to do much else. I do usually blog from about 9:30-11:00 and certainly I could give some of that time to other writing and I might. It often takes me some time just to get geared up and then it might be 10 and then I'm even tireder. You know the routine.
Then there's morning. I think morning could work better. If I gave up my morning blogging, I could use that time to write. I can also do some weekend hours--preferably away from the chaos of my house.
Something's going to give, though. It's either going to be the house, the kids, the exercise. I just feel like this is all hard to balance. It seems utterly impossible to have a full time job, children and anything resembling a life for yourself without feeling like you're doing a half-assed job as all of them. Maybe half-assed is just going to have to be good enough.
Then there's my actual work. To my colleagues who read this: I'm not on the verge of quitting or even truly dissatisfied. I often focus on the negative aspects of my job to figure out a way to turn them into positives. Yes, there are problems, some of them big, but despite my tension between working or not working, I see myself in this job for a really long time. As I often tell people, if I quit, it's going to be to stop working altogether, not to move on to another job. At least that's where I am now. Now if I get lured away by something, that might be another story.
Reading: I finally got a shipment of books I've been waiting for for three weeks--sheesh. I just finished reading and discussing Flawless Consulting, a book I didn't really like at the start because it felt really corporate (flashbacks to my corporate life). But after discussing it with the likes of Eric B. and Megan (who was awfully quiet :) ), I saw some good things in it. It really made me think about my ever-shifting roles--from expert consultant, to tech support, to client. I think it would be a worthwhile book for the organization as a whole to read. I was discussing the book and the discussion with one of my colleagues and he said something I thought quite astute: "You just have to be confident in your skills, convey that confidence and things usually go much more smoothly." I think that's where I falter. Not in every situation, but when I think about the ones that trouble me, it's often because I wasn't confident. The discussion we had really gave me a lot to think about in how I manage those troubled situations.
I just started reading The Secret Blog of Raisin Rodriguez to the kids. Geeky Boy really likes it so far even though he's a little on the young side for its content. Geeky Girl played with her stuffed animals while we read. And I started reading Laws of the Web--looks interesting so far. I think part of why I like blogging so much is that I like reading. I probably read the equivalent of a book every night.