Does it work for you?
On a day like today, I love when I can schedule all sorts of meetings out of the office. So, I was out and about, driving past Grant Park in the late morning. I saw a bunch of mamas (probably urbanMamas!) out at the playground with their little ones. I must have sighed and said, "Oh! Look at the mamas...." I think I also said, "Makes me wonder if I should just stay home." My [single, childless, male] colleague said empathetically, "You must think about that seriously every now and then."
Yes, I do.
BUT. I love the work I do. Yes. I do. I enjoy working with people. Yes. I do. I love the people I serve. Through my work, I believe I am contributing to our society, to our Portland, to our community. I also believe that I still am able to have a strong relationship with my girls. They both have their separate communities and are becoming more independent in them. Each of them are developing their own personalities and preferences. They are learning immensely, both in the time we are together and also in the time we are apart.
For sure, our situation has challenges. I leave work at 4pm, and evenings can be harried. Still, this is our schedule, and I think this is still working for our family.
Even though I don't often feel that my 7 AM to 4 PM work schedule is all that awful, I can't help but wonder what else I can do. Should I work 20 hours? 32 hours? If I did work fewer hours, would I still end up doing 40 hours-worth of work during the shortened time? Should I stay home all together? Someone mentioned to me recently: "The reason we moved to Portland is because we could still have a great lifestyle and not need two incomes to sustain ourselves." With my spouse also working full-time, do I need to? Or, is it not a matter of whether I need to, but is it a matter of whether I want to?
I know all of us think about these things. All our situations require delicate balance: whether we are the sole breadwinners, whether we are part of a necessarily dual-income family, whether we are staying at home with our children, whether we are doing a little of both. What choices has your family made, relative to balancing family needs and careers? What do you love most about your family's choice? What is the most challenging about your family's choice?