Tag Archives: work-life balance

Job-hunting

I hadn’t expected job-hunting to be so energy- and time-consuming, and so tiring! But I also hadn’t expected it to be so exciting! I can’t believe how alive I have started to feel just going for interviews and talking to people about what I used to do and how good I was at it. (There’s a time and place for modesty: neither my blog, nor my job interviews are the time and place for it.) Now that I’m actually interviewing for jobs and meeting people who are in the same field as I was and who can relate to what I did professionally for years, now that I can sniff a job or two in the air, now that people are even asking me what kind of remuneration package I expect… I feel like a big weight has been lifted off my chest and I can breathe fully and deeply at last.

Of course I enjoyed my time at home with my kids. Of course I was thrilled to bits at various stages of their development. I know that I’ve written enough about them here for nobody to doubt that. But at the same time, spending all day, every day, at the intellectual level of three-year-olds… I think I was slowly degenerating. Kids are stimulating, sure, but maybe they don’t provide all the kinds of intellectual stimulation that you need, once you are used to it. After a while, the constant chatter of “what colour is that shirt” and “say hi to your car” can leave you feeling somewhat deadened. At least I’ve had my writing, my Archaeology studies, and, of course, friends and the Park Moms Inc to keep me sane, but none of that makes up for the challenges and stimulation of a working life. And that’s just not something two little girls, however entertaining they might be, can provide.

Strangely, I never really realised the extent of my vegetation, my brain-dead-ness, until just now, when I’m finally faced with the prospect of leading a “normal” adult life again; of talking to colleagues about meetings, deadlines, products, tools and technology.

Parts of me are apprehensive about how the kids will handle it, how we all will handle it; parts of me are anxious and guilty about putting them in daycare; parts of me are worrying about how on earth we are going to keep this household running when both of us are going to be busy at work all day. But the part of me that suddenly feels awake and alive, excited and thrilled says, whatever happens, we will find a way to cope, but right now it is time, high time, that I got back to my professional life.

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Indecision

Gradually, the urge to resume working life has been growing in me. I want to be part of the great, bustling, economic machinery out there… but… I also don’t want to give up the relatively relaxed, stress-free, home-centric life that I have right now. I’ve only just started exercising, and I’ve only just resumed playing my violin after a break of a few years – I don’t want to give those up. Plus, I want to resume my Archaeology course and I’d even like to get back some of my German language knowledge which I had acquired with so much hard work over so many weekends. And I haven’t finished with my website yet, though I’ve been neglecting it of late…

Obviously, if I go back to work, I can’t do any of these things. The job itself, the kids, and some bare minimum activities required to keep the household running, will probably take up all of my time, and in any case, all of my energy.

Working from home doesn’t solve the problem – a significant part of what I miss about working life involves the workplace, colleagues, even the commute, cafeteria lunches – the whole nine yards of office space.

But working outside the home creates many more problems than it solves. We don’t want to leave the kids all day with a baby-sitter. We don’t even know of a baby-sitter who’s both entirely reliable and available. Plus, I don’t want my kids turning away from me and wailing for the baby-sitter when they’re unwell or hurt or otherwise distressed. And once the kids start going to school, who is going to handle the dropping and picking up? We can’t leave that to a baby-sitter. What about full-time playschool-cum-daycare, then? It is expensive, but is it good for them? Will they be happy there, or traumatized? Is it ok to leave them away from home all day, and if that’s what we’re going to do, then why did we even have kids?

A “hybrid” solution seems like a good idea – where I go to work in the mornings, then pick up the kids, come home, and either work from home, or have a part-time job which gives me time to manage the kids, run the household, and maybe even work in some “me” time. But where, oh where, will I get this hybrid dream job?

And when? It’s not as though I want to go back to work right away, but some time early next year seems like an appealing prospect. The kids still won’t be in school by then, though, so I probably won’t be able to start working till next July or so, once they’re hopefully settled into school. That seems like a long way away. And I feel so confused.