Reconciling work and family life or when mom starts to work…

planning

In my very last blog post, I mentioned that I have started in my new job position after quite a lengthy period. As probably in any new position, I face some challenges there, but I would have not guessed how an enormous difference my employment brings into the daily routine of our whole family. I would have also never guessed, that when struggles with finding a job are over, employment might bring the new ones…   

After one month, when I started to feel that things calmed down and we found our way on how to divide all these operational tasks around kids, their school attendance and hobby activities, something very emotional happened this evening. My daughter was crying about not spending enough time with me and that she wishes I would not need to go to work. Honestly, I was stunned. I cuddled with her, listened to her and tried to explain why my work matters.  

On the other hand, I also understand that almost whole her life I had spent most of the time at home taking care of her and her brother. When I was employed, I either had a job position with flexible time arrangements, or I worked only 2 days per week. But yes, now I sometimes have to leave just a few minutes after I wake them up and I might be sitting in front of the computer also during most of the evenings. Not because of work, but because of my studies. I feel sorry if my kids think I am not with them as much as they would like me to be. I believe they will get used to it and I must be more available, even if it is now my time to focus on myself.  

I know, my daughter was sad. Nonetheless, I suppose I had given my kids so much time that it is not standard in many families and cultures. I can only hope that this time was well used and the closeness that was developed between us would last. Even when I spend most of my daytime nowadays elsewhere.  

But not only children feel the changes.  Since I was unemployed for as long as I was, I have done most of the work in the household and around children. Because I was at home, right? The natural division of labour forces, although completely out of the scope of my feminist beliefs. When I have started to work, these tasks have to be divided differently and guess what happened? It was not so natural and easy at all. Because my husband got used to the fact that I was at home, so he could only focus on the job. And suddenly, there is some schedule to follow – when school starts on a certain day, who drops off children and who picks them up, who drives them to their hobbies, what has to be packed in their backpacks and so on. And someone also has to vacuum-clean the house, cook food or do the shopping. Completely new schedule and labour division from what we had before. Beginnings were not easy, but we are better now.  

And to be sincere, the new schedule is challenging also for me. Even if I never had a problem with early mornings, I also got used to the fact that I can plan my days as my family needs. This is not completely possible anymore for obvious reasons and I also must adjust to the new situation. I am otherwise happy, that I still have some flexibility and that the well-being of employees is being taken seriously in Finland. My colleagues are genuinely nice, the atmosphere is friendly and understanding and I only hope, that our whole family will find ways how to cope with the new situation…  

Because although mom loves her family endlessly, she also loves working and to be creative and productive outside of her family…  

1 Comment

  1. Oh I am so very proud of you all. It sounds very challenging for all of you. I remember when I started studying and later on working, kids were also taking it hard. My older one was having night terrors he does not remember, crying from sleep that he misses me and took 4 weeks for them to go away.
    I beleive that you are right, that all those years you were there for them, will not be forgotten..and the relationship you worked on, the mutual love and trust you have built, will help them overcome the initial shock.
    It makes me sad, that it is actually very difficult to balance a good career and family life, so that everyone is happy. Is it really nearly impossible to have both without exhausting yourself, or is there something wrong with this system?
    Sending many warm thoughts. You are gonna be fine. I believe all will be well, with the time.
    V.

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