Sigh, that elusive work-life balance. You’ve heard it exists … but you’ve DEFINITELY not found it yet.
Instead, you’re stuck in a daily battle of trying to split your time between your kids and your job. (And realizing not only is it impossible, there is also NO time for you. Sob.)
Here are 17 things mums struggling to find a work-life balance know.
You are on a constant treadmill ...
… from the moment you get up to the moment your head finally hits the pillow at night.
Your days follow the same relentless pattern of school run/ commute/ work/ commute/ homework/ bed.
Ugh, where’s the ‘off’ switch.
It feels impossible to find the right job to fit around your kids
Whether you’re full time, part time or have a term-time only job, it never quite seems to work.
Something always suffers. Either you miss an important work meeting as you have to take your child to the dentist.
Or your little one gets upset because you have to miss yet another bath and bedtime, thanks to a last-minute deadline.
In fact, you know the only way to get a work-life balance is if you could pick your own hours to suit your family.
Aah, the dream!
‘It is possible,’ says Nikki Cochrane, co-founder of Digital Mums,which trains mums in social media marketing so they can find flexible work from home.
‘It may be a case of retraining or upskilling in something like social media marketing so you can control your own hours from home.’
You can’t find a job that is flexible ... but pays enough to cover the bills
While it would be lovely to be home with your child more, you know you’d only face more stress if you weren’t earning enough money to pay the bills.
Hmmm, might be time to buy a lottery ticket.
You live in a permanent state of guilt
If you work part time, you either feel guilty that you’re not at work, or you feel guilty that you ARE at work while your kids are in childcare.
On the plus side, your kids seem perfectly happy. Phew.
Summer – and any holiday – is a nightmare
If you’ve managed to get any sort of work-life balance, it goes out the window come holiday time.
Instead you face a logistical nightmare trying to find holiday childcare.
Time to call in the grandparents. Again.
‘Lots of our mums are able to work around children during the holidays,’ says Nikki. ‘It’s a juggle, but with social media management it’s possible to schedule and do the work on the go, or early mornings and evenings.’
Your kids hate you being on the phone
Or the tablet. Or your laptop.
Which means those extra hours you’re trying to make up at home so you could leave early and be home to put the kids to bed, become super stressful.
In fact, the only place you can check your emails in peace is on the loo. Oh, wait …
You have precisely NO me-time ...
If you’re not sweating on the commute to work, you’re racing around after your child and making sure she’s happy/ fed/ entertained.
Which leaves absolutely no time for you. Sigh.
… and barely any time for your partner
By the time you finally collapse on the sofa, you’re both so exhausted it’s all you can do to keep your eyes open, let alone chat.
Oh well, at least you’re both as knackered as each other.
And holding hands while watching TV sort of counts as a date night. Right?
You wish your boss had heard of flexible working
Instead he seems to think everyone has to be at their desk from 9 am – 5 pm every day.
What is this, the 1990s? Sob.
‘The coat-on-the-back-of-the-chair culture should so be assigned to another era,’ says Nikki. ‘Technology means more companies should be able to offer flexible working.’
You envy your teacher mates in the run-up to holidays
They can be at home for six weeks over the summer, with no need to worry about childcare.
Hmmm, maybe it’s time to retrain as a teacher or look for other term-time jobs …
You find yourself making your child’s ‘dress up day’ costume at 11 pm
Or a school project / cake for a bake sale the night before it’s due.
And you know you should really be in bed, but – quite frankly – you haven’t got time to sleep.
Thank god for coffee. And wine.
You mentally add up the hours you spend with your kids each week
And then have another pang of guilt that you don’t feel it’s enough.
Seriously, who knew this work-life balance thing was so HARD.
Weekends are not relaxing
Instead you’re up at some ungodly hour sorting out all the washing / cleaning that no one has had time to do in the week.
Seriously, ALL you want is to sit down for five minutes. (Actually, make that an hour, thanks.)
Your ‘working day’ often ends in the early hours …
… or starts at 5 am just to get a head start on your work/ family life before anyone else is up.
Whether that’s replying to emails or cooking that night’s meal, it feels never ending. And definitely not ‘balanced’.
You are super-organised
But if one thing goes wrong – your child can’t find her school bag or the traffic is worse than usual – everything comes crashing down. Aaagh.
You think it will get easier as your child gets older
And then realize it’s actually getting harder thanks to endless homework / after school and weekend classes.
Not to mention the feeling you need to be there more for your child as she negotiates the tricky tween / teen period.
You realize something has to give
Whether that’s accepting you can’t always make a meal from scratch every night, or having a (sort of) clean house – but not necessarily always a tidy one – you realize you can’t do it all.
And you know what, you’re not alone.
Instead, you deserve a medal. And a lie down …