The official prompt for today is “How do you balance your children, relationship, and work life?”
Alright, since a one word blog post is probably not what the folks behind NaBloPoMo had in mind, I suppose I could expand on that. Really, that’s my answer, and everything else in this post is superfluous.
I get up at 5 in the morning. Well, most days. On those days I don’t, including weekends, it’s because I slept through my alarm. For a guy who works from home, that’s a crappy proposition, having to get up at 5 in the morning every day, including weekends.
Why do I do it? Because after the kids get up, I’m not able to work. Sometimes that’s at 6 in the morning, sometimes 6:30. Some days it’s 5:30 in the morning. I hate those mornings, because I really need time to sit, have my coffee and … well, I am an unpleasant person before my second cup of coffee. Even to my kids.
Of course there’s children to get to school – three of them. Getting everybody up and out the door is a major chore. Then I have my morning shift as crossing guard. Really, it isn’t until 9:30 in the morning that I can sit down and start work.
Even then, I only get about an hour. Ciárán ends his pre-school day at 11:00, which, don’t get me started, but it’s just too damn early. I have to get Xavier up from his nap, change his diaper, and get over to the pre-school in time. It’s not that far, but doing so under the conditions can be… well, it just is.
We get home, I interact with the kids, we get lunch, and run errands – which at least 3 times a week includes a trip to the grocery store. By the time I get Xavier down for nap, and Ciárán in front of the television it’s just after 1:00 in the afternoon. And yes, I use the television too much. I know this. I have to get my work done. I use PBS, Nick Jr, or a pre-approved video.
2:30 in the afternoon, and I need to start getting ready for my afternoon shift as crossing guard. Laura is home by this point. I have to wrap up what I’ve done and be out the door, and after I get home, I start working on dinner. Mondays it’s gymnastics for Déla and Ciárán, so as soon as I get home from my afternoon shift as crossing guard we leave. Hopefully Laura will have gotten them ready, otherwise we are late.
Dinner, bath, stories, bedtime, etc. Other nights there are activities. Cub scouts for instance. Those nights of course run later. It isn’t until about 7:30 or so before I can get in front of the keyboard again. Usually I try to get more stuff done while watching television.
All the kids are in bed, it’s just me and Laura for a couple of hours in the evening. Most of the time, however, we are so exhausted even watching television is too much.
Weekends? Errands and other obligations. Kids birthday parties, Girl Scout activities, whatever I couldn’t get done during the week. The same waking and bedtime schedule takes place for myself and the kids. Many Saturdays Laura is in class (working on getting her Teaching Certificate and Masters In Teaching degree). Sundays she’s busy doing school work, and during the week she’s student teaching.
Vacations? We didn’t get one this year. We did last year – three days to the Olympic Peninsula. I’ve had two in the last 3 years. The first was to Japan and the second to Ireland. While in Japan I worked every day. I used jet lag to my favor, as well as the fact I didn’t have kids around to distract me to get stuff done. The only reason Ireland was a no work true vacation was because I couldn’t get internet access.
How did I afford those vacations? It was just me travelling, I didn’t have to pay for a lot of the meals or a hotel, which is a large expense, and the combination of credit card points and frequent flyer miles combined to make plane tickets obtainable.
Vacationing as a family? Well, as I said, we did one last year, and we’ll most likely do something similar next summer. If Laura gets a job as a classroom teacher, we’ll be able to afford to go somewhere.
Personal time? 2 hours in front of the television at night. While working on the website. Outside interests? I’ve had to give up going to my weekly pick-up dodge ball game because my hand is permanently injured. No joke. There’s a trivia night at a local pub that I like to go to, but I’ve not been able to attend for over 2 months due to other obligations.
I love my kids, and am glad to be able to be present in their lives in a way that most parents can’t. There are days, however, when I wish … I don’t know what I wish, Just… something that would let me get more done. I’m simply scrambling to stay not too far behind in all aspects of my life. So many things take a back seat right now. Maybe I just wish my front seat were bigger.