I came across a really lovely blog, A Cup of Jo, and particularly loved her series on work/baby/life balance where she interviews different working moms. Most of them live in the city and their work is writing. No one like me. So I decided to use her interview questions for my own life.
1. What’s your work schedule?
I teach first and second grade ESL and that goes from 8 to 10:30 everyday. So I usually will run one quick errand and be home just before 11. I then make lunch for me and Carlos and Leon and go and breastfeed. Then I have about 2 hours to do anything. I used to use this time for domestic chores, but I’ve started using it for the garden. Then I breastfeed again, and go back to work on the farm.
Working more on the farm, instead of using that middle work period for home stuff, has been great. Carlos feels less abandoned with all the work, I feel less cooped up, and of course our farm gets way more attention. It’s funny how two people working together is more than twice as effective. I was also missing Carlos because working together is how we connect emotionally.
While I’m at school, Carlos stays with all three babies. If he gets construction work, we will have to hire a babysitter. Then when we work on the farm we can take them with us. The twins just lay on their blanket for now. Leon never stops moving. Sometimes he can get into trouble. Our farm is at Carlos’s mom’s place, so he also wanders into her kitchen a lot.
3. Where do you work during the day?
Happily, our farm is just down the street, so we can stroller over there. School is downtown, a ten minute drive.
4. What do you like best about your current set-up?
I love that both my husband and I are stay-at-home parents! We get to eat lunch and dinner together! I love that when I need a hand with the kids, Carlos is right there. And I love that we are really close to Carlos’s family, including nieces and nephews that like to come over and help clean the house or change diapers!
5. What do you find tricky about your current set-up? What would you change if you had a magic wand?
Definitely making time for it all. Like I said, I used to reserve the middle of the day for house work, but we found that the farm needed more time. So now housework is an afterthought. And that’s ok! I try to do it as I go.
6. How does your husband contribute to manage the juggle/house/childcare?
We are definitely partners. He often takes Leon with him while I’m breastfeeding because it really bothers me when he’s climbing on top of me and the twins. He is also responsible for helping Leon is he wakes up in the middle of the night, because I have to feed the twins at night.
7. Do you have time for yourself? What do you do during that time?
I just finally discovered how to have time for myself! I get up at 5 am while everyone is sleeping!! I go into the kitchen with my ipad, and drink coffee, and answer emails, and read blogs. It is heaven! I find that I am way more patient throughout the day, because I made time for myself, and because I can look forward to my time the next day. No more trying to type with one hand while breastfeeding, or with Leon grabbing the computer. Ahh.
8. What advice would you give to other moms about how to balance work and life?
Ha ha ha! I think this is a trick question. I don’t think it’s about balance as much as go go go! Get used to it. Forget your old life, and definitely don’t compare your life now to the way it was. I also try to remember that in 20 years everything will settle back down and I’ll have time to do whatever I want. Plus I will have the experience to appreciate it.
9. Do you ever wonder how other women manage the juggle? Do you think people are open about it?
Yes, for me I often feel like a slob. I mean, I’m not the only person with kids and a job, and yet my house is too messy. My floors are dirty. There is clutter everywhere. So I often wonder how “they” do it all. But who is they, really? As long as I just stay busy, I don’t have time to compare myself with these fictional moms.