It’s 5am and I’m awake. I’m almost always awake then. Small Boy is an early riser. I’ve been up at 5am for two years straight now. It’s now the norm.
It works in my day jobs’ favour… sort of.
I work full time hours for a large organisation but I compress the bulk of them across three days. Those are the days I go into the office and Small Boy goes to nursery. In some respects, being up at 5am means I can open up my laptop at home and get through my emails, or go into the office early. That’s a good thing, right? I can crack on with some tasks in my PJs before I shower and head on in to the office where I hot desk.
I work two days a week from home and the same rule applies. They are short days worked around Small Boy’s naps and my husband who also compresses his hours. Getting up early means I can do most of the hours first thing before husband leaves for work and while Small Boy has breakfast. If I get an early start, I don’t need to work for too long in the evening. It means that Small Boy gets some time in the day to go out and do something fun, or have a friend over for coffee.
I’m incredibly lucky. I know this.
In principle my day job allows me to work my contracted hours over a window of 5am – 10pm. Of course in practice that doesn’t really work. In an environment where everyone can work flexibly you get some meeting requests at very inconvenient hours (for you, probably not for that person and vice versa).
But still, the thought is there and it does mean I get to have a large part of Monday and Friday’s off, even if I do still work 5 hours or more those days.
I don’t want to work full time. I’m not a career driven person. I just want to earn enough money so we don’t have to worry and if we are lucky might be able to move home to something more suitable for us as a family.
I’m currently in a funk trying to figure out if I can afford to cut back my hours. Spreadsheets are involved.
The flexibility isn’t working for me. I’m always “on” and don’t always have the flexibility home working is intended to provide. Meetings are arranged at times that don’t suit and I end up having to work when I shouldn’t or have already exceeded my contracted hours.
Because I can work from home I do get to do work when I’m home for an emergency – taking calls while nursing my sick child. Or when the office closes with weather or an emergency – I can work from home. These are all good things, right?
Still, I’m lucky I tell myself. I don’t need to worry about putting food on the table; even though the cost of childcare means that luxuries like holidays require a good deal of planning and some of my best money saving skills.
I wonder sometimes if it’s worth it. Should I just bite the bullet and go part time. I’ll have to eventually when Small Boy starts school. I’ll have to do both ends of the school run. Should I just reduce my hours now? I ask myself how much of the pressure I feel is put on by me, the cost of living, childcare and my employer.
Are you a working parent trying to juggle it all? Do you feel like flexible working isn’t working for you? Or do have the balance just right?
Post your tips and experiences in the comment section. I’d love to find a way to make it work better