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Work/Life Balance: The Real Cost of Flexible Work Schedules

Work/Life Balance: The Real Cost of Flexible Work Schedules

If there is some sort of nirvana for working parents, it has to be cracking the code of the infamous work/life balance. Frankly, the whole concept barely aligns with my work personality. But I’m trying to make it work. I have to, in fact, for my family. One sticky area for me is balancing flexible work schedules.

I’m incredibly lucky to work for a company that values families and understands the plight of working parents by being flexible with work time. When my kids have to go to the doctors (like 3 times in one week) or I need to take off early to get to a dance recital or soccer practice, it’s not an issue. But there is a cost of flexible work schedules. It’s a price I place on myself because of my internal employee guilt. It’s the devaluation of “me” time.

With flex time, as I mentioned, I have the ability to organize my schedule to be available for my family. To make up for that time away, I find myself working late nights to get work done. Instead of my wine sitting next to me while watching Parenthood, it sits next to my computer as I reply to the hundred+ new emails sitting in my inbox. Or, I sneak in work emails while I am supposed to be engaging with my children at night. It’d be much easier if my kids could rationalize that our trip to the doctor is time with mommy. But that’s just not how it works.

I’ve read that you have to make “me” time or frequently evaluate your self-care and adjust as necessary. But, honestly, I’m a stressful mess if my work doesn’t get done (definitely a burden I place on myself). And I’m a stressful mess if I don’t get “me” time. So what’s the balance?

I’ve been trying to follow Lisa’s tips for adjusting to a reduced work schedule because there is great advice for my situation. But I would love to hear your practical tips for making flexible work schedules work for a working mom with a full-time schedule.

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One comment

  1. Kate

    Kate, Rookie Mom April 24, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    I too struggle with the pull of checking things off the work list at night. I really try to keep it to after Liam is in bed but that still limits my time to keep a reasonable household running and spend time hanging out with Brad at night.

    One of my new year’s resolutions was to re-frame the way I look I look at “me-time,” something that so recharges me but that I always felt guilty for taking. I’m now trying to look at my time with friends or exercising (my most common me-time activities) as time for Brad and Liam to do some one-on-one bonding. I also love when the reverse happens and Liam and I get to do some one-on-one bonding when Brad’s got something. I’m sure it’s infinitely more complicated with two kids but I’ve found that just changing the way we all approach carving out that time has made it more positive for everyone in the family.

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