Balancing Work and Home

Recently I had an email asking me how I balance work and home. Since having children, I have had the good fortune to be able to work part-time. I even got an extended paid leave for the summer after Lou was sick. For the past 4 years I have worked at home primarily during school hours, although, as has been noted, I go through spurts of evening teaching.

Working at home has been perfect for our family. I've been able to adjust my hours when the children are home from school and over the years I've worked out ways to work without becoming distracted by the house.

I have my own rhythm that I am pretty attached to. Before taking the children to school, I tidy up the downstairs and begin a load of laundry. Sometimes I put dinner into the crockpot. No matter how rushed we are, I take the time to make sure all the dishes are in the dishwasher and that the counters are clean.

Call me crazy, but I love coming home to the house at rest and all the machines humming quietly along. I get my last cup of coffee and then head into my office for the morning.

Around 10:30 or so, I break for a cup of tea. While the water is boiling, I move the laundry along and figure out what we'll have for dinner. I then head back to my desk for another chunk of work-time.

I have one very bad work habit--I often work right through lunch-time, eating at my desk. What I should do is take a walk. But my excuse today? Another lovely "wintry mix."

Lately, my attention-span seems to have changed. I find myself becoming very deeply involved in work in the afternoon rather than the morning. This is the time when my work tends to move from answering emails and doing finances to reading and research.

I leave to pick up the girls around 2:45. From then on, my day is usually filled with homework and violin practice before dinner. If the girls have friends over in the afternoon, I head back to my desk for an hour or so. I almost always dip back into my office one last time to check emails before N gets home.

So there is my day and how I balance work and home. If I haven't tidied the house before taking the kids to school and left the kitchen perfectly clean, I have a much harder time leaving it all behind and sinking into my work.

Dawn  – (March 19, 2008 at 1:55 PM)  

Thanks for sharing how you do this. It's wonderful that you have such a great job where you can work from home; I wish more people had this option. I also find that I need to do the dishes and clean up the kitchen before I get started on my work(homeschooling my kids) or it throws me off.

ilse –   – (March 19, 2008 at 3:38 PM)  

Thank you for sharing.
It works inspiring for my own balance.

Anonymous –   – (March 19, 2008 at 4:09 PM)  

I love working part time from home too, though I don't feel I've figured out a way to balance it with housework. I would love to say that I start each workday with a clean kitchen, but I can't!

Anonymous –   – (March 19, 2008 at 4:25 PM)  

I really enjoy reading how people spend their days. Thanks.

I use the same dish soap and laundry detergent. ;) I wish 7th Generation would go back to the original lavendar scent.

Lisa Anne  – (March 19, 2008 at 7:12 PM)  

Thanks for giving us a little peak inside your own life, I think we all end up writing about our children and their busy-ness, but I think that is the general nature of a mom. Always doing for others. I like a clean house, too and I also love the sound of my washer and dryer humming along.I am not always neat(leaving books around and knitting out) but my kitchen is always clean:)

Tara  – (March 19, 2008 at 7:23 PM)  

I had to smile as I read this. I work at home and normal routine is very much like yours! I have an alternate routine, which is to wake up early and work in my jammies until around noon, then shower and start my "other" day. In either case I usually pop in my office to tidy up and organize for the next day in the evening. It's amazing how much that little step helps the next day to start smoothly.

maymomvt (or Sarah)  – (March 19, 2008 at 7:33 PM)  

Tara--that's the way I work in the summers and when the kids are home for snowdays or vacation! I'm a virgo and a ridiculously tidy person.

Anonymous –   – (March 20, 2008 at 9:33 PM)  

this was really cool to read, thank you! i can sense such the rhythm to your days, very inspiring.

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