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RG

Be organized - but not too organized. I don't fold little boy underwear - it goes into a drawer all crumpled up. I don't separate the 2 yo's socks from the 4 yo's socks - they go into one drawer and I eyeball the size when I pull them out to put on the boys. I happen to have an enormous drawer in the kitchen into which goes kid sippy cups and tupperware - I don't stack anything, it just all gets dumped in because there's room to do that. I'm a freakishly organized person, and these short cuts take some mental effort, but boy does that extra half hour I saved from not folding underoos really come in handy!

Also, I protect my Friday nights and Saturday mornings as family time. Saturday and Sunday nights are husband/social time. If weekend work must occur, I do it during naptime or during the middle of the night. But, almost without fail, I preserve Friday nights and Saturday mornings for the boys. Walling off that time, and consistently fending off partners or church obligations and other things that want to intrude on that time, has kept me sane, even when things go crazy at work.

A.

Great, insightful, helpful post! You could sell this! ;)

Like you, it was like the clouds parted and the birds started chirping when I went back to work. And there are days when I really don't like my job, but the environment of coffee, Internet and coworkers is something I enjoy. And I definitely think absence makes my heart grow fonder of my child in that way.

aly

thank you for this! i've been reading (and never commenting) for years and i'm so glad you articulated the "no one has it all" so kindly. my daughter is about the same age as felicity (28-ish months) and i am also an attorney. it's funny how life works out-- but your reaction to going back to work/being at work mirrored my own and still does. i left a job i adored (but had a terrible workplace environment, long/hard hours) for one that i moderately like (but with SUCH a better enivornment/hours) and it really made a ton of difference. thanks for articulating it's ok to not strive to be someone of great importance in the workplace. that really summed it up perfectly for me. i'm happy and while that may mean not everything is perfectly juggled i am happy and so is my family. :)

pseudostoops

Oh so many things I relate to here. I switched jobs about a year ago, and when someone asked what I was looking for, the best way I could think of to put it was "a small job." Like, I do my work, I do good work, I like it very much, I'm not going to become famous or get tapped for a judgeship, and that's a-ok.

I wish I lived in New York so you could be my muffin friend. Sigh.

Auntie G

This is great advice. I try to ignore the obviously baiting Mommy War nonsense along the lines of, "You don't really NEED your salary; you are just selfish and spoiled"...so I really appreciate a fellow-minded mom who recognizes that having two salaries actually RELIEVES a lot of stress in the form of financial pressure. In MY case (not putting words or thoughts into others' mouths), having a financial cushion is a must. There is nothing which stresses our family/marriage more than money issues, so we deal with the "cons" of two WOH parents, and celebrate the "pros" and it works for us.

One thing I told myself (after learning the hard way, as with all good lessons) after baby 1 and REALLY REALLY after baby 2 was: idiot-proof your life. Meaning, make and carry/hide extra sets of keys, write stuff down, simplify, take two seconds to put stuff away, set out clothes the night before, etc. I didn't "want" to be "one of those moms" who got "stupid" while pregnant/postpartum/back to work, etc. Oh, self. ;) Just swallow your pride and deal - you USED to be able to remember everything, but you're being pulled in a million different directions now, so put on your big girl panties and just make life easier for yourself, FOR REALZ. No one is looking at you and thinking how bright you used to be, FTLOG. Make it harder to lock yourself out or forget something important and CARRY ON. :)

Maggie

Such a good post. I find my desire to stay home or work has varied over the years. I'm now in a stage at which I really wish I could work part time (this will never happen at my job) not so much because I miss my kids (although I do) but because my son is nearly 10 and loves soccer so much that he plays nearly year round - indoor, outdoor, whatever. This means three days a week we have to get him from after care at school to some other location for soccer (inevitably starting at some point between 4 and 5 pm). It also means we have to figure out how he can do all of his homework on those three school days. Making this work has been an all hands on deck process with substantial help from my mom who lives very close. It all works out, but it requires a lot of coordination, time driving, and very little in the way of other evening activities.

When my son was little and in daycare that he loved all day, I actually didn't mind working full time most of the time. It's this older kid phase and the logistics that go with it that make me wish I could work less. Now I start to understand why my mom went down to part time work when I started middle school. It used to seem counterintuitive. Now I totally get it.

That said, I know things could be worse. I have the luxury of being able to afford housecleaning and yard work fairly regularly. Without those, I have little doubt we'd either live in squalor or I'd be a complete harridan...

Heather

This echoes what I've found to be true as a fellow attorney and mom of a 2.5 year old. You can find a "work/life balance" that works for you, but it's not perfect all of the time and no one really "has it all." It's all about finding what works for you and your family the best and adjusting as needed. Personally, I work part time and for me that has been the perfect balance between maintaining my career/intellectual life and doing all of the "mommy" things I wanted to be able to do with my daughter while she is young. Sometimes work gets too busy or I start to feel stir crazy and the balance gets a little out of whack, but recentering and reprioritizing, and making better use of my time, helps put the balance back where it needs to be. Your advice is useful and spot-on.

Portia@foreclosurecom

You've given good tips. No matter how much we have to do, we have to remember that slow and steady wins the race.

I had a look at a book called Traveling Mercies. It is good. Lately I'm finding that I've been worrying a bit more than I should and I don't want to make it into a habit. For that reason I've been stopping myself in my tracks when I catch myself doing it.

In the book Ms Lamott reminds us of the importance of giving thanks often. We sometimes spend time worrying about things that have already been solved. I think "thank you" is probably one of the most important things we can say to God. It helps us keep focused on the blessings on the road ahead so we spend more time getting valuable things done.

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