Back to Monday, back to work. I left the house this morning before the kids had even had breakfast, which isn’t unusual. I will walk back into their lives at 6pm, we’ll eat all together as a family and then they’ll become mine again for bath, stories and bed. This is our routine until Thursday night.
This isn’t enough, for me or the kids. Bedtime is becoming later than it should be, because if I’ve been out all day they need more than a quick splash, dash and kiss – they want to tell me how their day has gone, and I want to hear it. I want to read with them, and have them read to me, and sort out any niggles and worries they have from school.
And it’s not just the kids that are suffering. By the time they are all in bed it’s getting on for nine o’clock, which leaves hardly any time for the Husband and I to spend together. I’ve written before how hard it feels to maintain a relationship when the kids are young…now they are getting bigger, and therefore easier in so many ways, it feels as if the pressure has been replaced by work.
Needless to say, anything that isn’t husband or kids related doesn’t get a look in – I’m not managing to go to Welsh lessons, get out running,have a social life or to do anything at all on the Cardiff Pound project. I’m just about managing to keep the blog going but only in snatched moments, on the bus or at lunchtimes, sandwich in one hand, iPhone in the other. And weirdly the less time I have for it, the more important it becomes – a sort of bolthole when everything feels too crazy.
What’s tipped the balance from life being busy but manageable and energising, to life feeling like a hamster wheel, is a mere seven hours a week. That’s the difference a day makes. My previous contract was 21 hours, whereas now I’m working 28. I’ve also got an extra 7-8 hours a week travel time (my ‘commute’ at my old job was under 10 minutes). I know some of you reading this will be working longer hours, with longer commutes, and still managing to be great parents and partners, and I take my hat off to you!
I knew things would be a bit different going up to 4 days – I just assumed that we’d readjust and resettle, as we’ve done before when our work situation has changed. And I guess we have readjusted and resettled, just into a pattern that’s not really working for any of us. I should say at this point that I enjoy my job and I have a very supportive and flexible employer so this isn’t a case of being unhappy with what I do, or being stressed at work, or anything like that.
It’s quite simply about the fact that I’ve realised my – our – tipping point, and now I need to figure out what to do about it.
So I’m off to figure. Thanks for reading!