It’s a four-letter word.

September 25, 2008 at 7:19 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments

When I graduated college 11 years ago, my grandfather told me this.

“Serenity, stay in school as long as you can. Because it sure beats working!”

It’s amazing that in less than two weeks, I’m busier than I can imagine at work. It’s a few days before the end of the quarter, and in a meeting with our auditors yesterday, we found out that we have a fairly significant revenue issue. Along the lines of needing to defer potentially one quarter of the revenue related to one of our products.

It’s a big deal, since right now we are very top-line driven.

And then there’s internal controls. And then the quarterly reporting. And then some other SEC filings related to some stock transactions which will happen on 9/30.

And good grief the meetings. I had forgotten how it worked at a company – you have 20 meetings to get everyone on the same page BEFORE you actually go and do work.

During my maternity leave, I could never understand how J couldn’t balance work and home. I never understood why he couldn’t leave work before 6 every day, given that he had a new baby to come home to. He would tell me that he WANTED to be home, he just didn’t feel like he could CHOOSE to come home.

Now? I think I’m getting how he struggled. Because I’ve never had to balance work and being home before, you see. And right now, I’m having a bit of a time with the end of my days. J does the daycare pick up, so I don’t HAVE to leave work at a certain time.

So my days are starting to spill over to 6, 6:15. Which sucks. Really utterly sucks.

Like last night.

I called J to tell him that I was leaving work at 6:15 (i.e. late). In the middle of our phone conversation, he starts laughing. And says: “OMG. Baby O is blowing raspberries. With a mouth full of sweet potatoes.”

See, Baby O hasn’t blown raspberries before. In fact, he learned how to do it yesterday. And when I got home, he was tired enough that all I could do with him was change him into his pajamas and nurse him. Then he was fast asleep.

I didn’t get to see him blow raspberries. I didn’t get to see that he was blowing them again and again with a mouth full of sweet potatoes because J was laughing so hard. I just missed it.

So I’m going to have to figure out a way to leave work every day at the same time. And not feel bad about it.

I’m just not sure how.



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  1. We talked about this before and I’m certainly no role model in this department. There are days where I need to take a long hard look at my work. Before I leave I ask, do I really need to bring this home or stay late? Or can it wait until first thing tomorrow? Usually, it can wait. Delegation is another key word. I have learned to do this, not well, but to give up some control on things so that I review not DO the tasks.

    Like I said the other night, I always feel like I’m behind. Like I’m never going to catch up and I’ve been back at work for over a year and half. Work/home balance, is not easy.

    Hugs to you hon.

  2. Like Heather, I often ask myself at work if this is something that’s so important that it absolutely cannot wait, and I think through the consequences if it’s something that I leave for the next day. Almost always the answer is that it’s not the end of the worl.d I do have some days where I have to stay a touch late for a deadline, and I think that’s reasonable occasionally, but by and large, everything can wait.

    Both you and J have a workaholic mentality where you judge your success by the work you do and the feedback you get from it, so I would imagine it’s hard to get out of that mindset after all these years. And I know it’s harder for you right now because you’ve just started a new job and probably feel like you want to impress your colleagues and show them that they hired the right person.

    I like my job a lot, but when it comes down to it, I love my family more. That’s where my real success in life comes from, even if it’s not as tangibly measured through raises and promotions. It’s enough of a sacrifice to my family that I work at all, so I feel like I need to sacrifice some things pertaining to work, too, in order to balance it all. I view work as what I do to give me the means to do all the things outside of work and enjoy my time with my husband and daughter.

    I do have daycare pickup duty, and I admit that’s my best motivator to get out of the office at 5 (so definitely a good thing for J). I don’t really have any secrets for *how* to leave the office on time other than asking yourself which you’ll regret missing more: finishing a report that can wait until the morning or spending some good quality time with your son before he goes to bed. Worst-case scenario if you don’t do the report that needed to be done? Let’s go to extremes and say you’re fired. There’s always another job out there, but there’s only one Baby O.


  3. p.s. This is another one of those times where your identity really shifts significantly in returning to work. I might even say that’s a harder identity adjustment than becoming a mom in the first place. I know you’ll figure it out! 🙂

  4. No advice for you, but since I know I will be facing these issues in a few months myself, I really appreciate hearing your experiences as I think about how to balance things. Many people have done this before us, so we can do it too. Good luck to you.

  5. I don’t have an answer for you. I can only imagine how terrible hard this is, Serenity. I teared up just reading the post. I appreciate how honest you are being about working. I send you hugs today.

  6. it is so hard. i wish you didn’t have to work so much. i’ve done it for three hours and it broke my heart. i was so afraid she’d do something that’d i miss. and they do grow up so fast…she is already growing out of clothes.

    we’ll make it. you’ll figure out a work life balance. maybe…i hate to say it…but you could bring work home? to do after she goes to sleep. but then there’s the marriage. *Sigh* it’s never really easy, n’est pas?

    i have dreamt about bloggers too! and you are so a part of my life. k and i were tickled when you got pregnant with baby o and then delivered. in fqact, i even told a friend.
    funny, huh? though, a good, good thing to have so many friends.


  7. that is the story of my life. If I leave work early I feel guilty that boss is still here, If I stay late I feel even worse that Lyla has to stay longer at daycare. It is a hard thing to do, to find a balance! HUGS

  8. ah~ the daily guilt that us mothers feel by working outside the home! this may not be the best solution, but here is how i do it.

    i leave at 5pm to pick up baby. spend remainder of the evening with baby until he’s asleep, usually by 9:30pm. then relax and some dinner until about 10:30. then i start working until about 3am (give or take an hour). i dont work every night, and the hours i work varies depending on how tired i am. but this way, i at least get some work done a few nights a week, and i’m not overly tired because i still get about 5 hours of sleep (sort of). when i’m less busy at work, i will only work until 1am or so at the latest. but that’s the only time i can find to work uninterrupted.

    sorry that you missed the raspberry. but he’ll do it again!

  9. Good luck balancing work and home. When I went back after I had the twins I hated when my caregiver told me about things they did when I wasn’t there. It’s hard to be a working Mom, but I am sure you will get it all figured out!

  10. *sigh* So sorry you missed it. It must be tough. I hope that you find a plan that works for you and the family.

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