Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Where is the balance between work and home?

Like Poppin's mom and moppet's mom, this is just a rant and there is no point here again.

I am not sure since when I have been thinking of how well can I manage & balance my home and work equation. Probably from the time I conceived my little peapod I have been thinking what is the best thing to do.Every time somebody as much as sneezes about SAHM/WM thing I get all worked up and then I am wondering if I have my priorities set right or am I just going with the flow? Am I neglecting or am I missing out on peapod?

Work, I must. No questions about it. We don't have inheritance lying around us for a rainy day. I don't have anybody to lend me a hand(with paper mints) when I need. Infact I want to be there for them without having to stretch my hands in front of P for it. Between me & P we are just earning enough. I don't want to live a hand-to-mouth life. I want a good spacious place to stretch myself, to let the peapod play around, to run in and out of it. I want a good neighbourhood. I want to be able to indulge my peapod once in a while with something, maybe an interesting toy, even if it is a wee-bit expensive. I want a decent school for the peapod.I want to provide the peapod with good education. We would like to go on small vacations far and near with peapod . I want to be able to indulge myself and family without saving for months & years. I don't want to run begging for money when someone in the family is ill. 10 years down the line I want financial security. So there is not a question about me not working.

I left peapod home at 4 months when I started working. Initial weeks wasn't easy, it wasn't meant to be anyway. But as I said, SAH was never an option. When I started off my new term in office after the peapod, I had 2 options, stay around, get your annual increments, work 9-6 and things will be smooth. Soon good work came my way, I got involved and recognition came in too. After my appraisal last year which went very well for the 4 months I was associated with it but I wasn't offered anything more in terms of responsibilities. When I discussed this with my manager, he said he thought I was happy the way it was and assumed I wouldn't like to shoulder more responsibilities since it might mean hectic work schedule and some travel as well. I was confused after this discussion. Many rounds of discussion with P and I finally decided that since I am working, I might as well compete tooth and nail and take on more because that is the only way working is gonna be interesting. Negotiated my role and responsibilities keeping travelling at bay. If not, this would just have been some place where I warm the seat 9 to 6 and from where the money comes in. But if I am here 8-9 hours a day, might as well give it my best.

Now my current firm isn't very big on work-from-home options due to a lot of security issues. Worked fine for me but at the back of my mind I was preparing myself to join some place that gives me the flexibility to work from home. Again, I need to think over what I want and how involved I need to be and to groom myself for the profile I have in mind. While all this is brewing in my head, I have been taking a few conference calls from home. Usually 8pm, a time when I should be tending peapod, I should be cooking, cleaning etc etc. An hour long call wasn't easy. Peapod wasn't very happy about the fact that I was yapping away or tuned into somebody other than her. She wanted water,dudhu,app while I was trying to concentrate on what was going on. I got her water, a few biscuits, a few toys to keep her occupied. she wasn't satisfied and kept tugging at me and the cell and finally I handed her over to P and shut the door. She was mad and was howling and hitting the door real hard. Finally I went on mute, with the loud speaker on and had also locked my keypad. Got her in and obviously she wanted to play with the cell, which I let her trying to follow the discussion as closely as possible. 2 such calls in a week and I am not sure working from home is after all such a neat option. I cannot concentrate on work nor can I tend to her completely.

Working from home full time surely is not possible with a child, then might as well be at work, a different premise I mean and concentrate. Else be at home and tend to the peapod which obviously I don't have the luxury to and even if I had I am not sure how I would do without working myself up. So finally what we have is work part-time from home. The pay is down by half and the hours you might have to put in, I am not sure if 4 hours a day would be sufficient. Saturdays and Sundays, I do not have more than an hour or 2 to myself. I might as well stretch then than get on to my laptop (so that explains fewer posts inspite of the laptop). To manage 4 hours a day to concentrate and work I will need a maid, to clean, cook and to run after my peapod.Could be one or two with half the pay. So I doubt if work-from-home is a good option for people in my stream of work.

Currently, to me, for me, what seems like a good option is to go steady with my full time job for the next 5-6 years. Take a break, pursue an another profession which does not demand long hours, travel or such and gives me time to be around the peapod. What that profession should be, no clue yet. I can see a couple of options but not sure 5-6 years down the line if I will still have the same views. While at it, what about 'Take a break now', now that disturbs the synergy of various things like paying off loans, savings etc. If I was confident enough(which I am not) about resuming it some other time, say 2-3 years down the line, maybe I would have opted for a break now. So looks like so far I'm on course. I know this is the only way it works for me but yes I am constantly wondering if there is a better route...all because I don't want to miss peapod's growing years.


Cantaloupes.Amma (CA) said...

Can relate to you in more than one way ...
But work from home option is still one of my choices (though Cantaloupe will need to go to day care) ... I have to commute about 1.5hrs one way to work and by working from home I can save atleast 3 hrs !! Thats quite some time I could use with Cantaloupe !

Sunita said...

I agree, for people who have to travel far for work makes sense to work from home and utilize that time.

~nm said...

Sunita, how you feel a little furstrated when not growing properly in yoru career is what I have been feeling too with myself and my career growth. I know I hav sacrificed a lot careerwise in these past 3 years but I was never ready to travel or put in longer hours at work. Once in a while when the delivereies were approaching was fine with me.

I could have grown to such heights in my career by now but then I don't want it! I want more time with my son.

It sure gets frustrating to see other colleagues going higher up teh lader and you are growing at much smaller pace, are not given gret projects to work on but then you need to set your priorities.

I know I'm not writing anything different than what other's might have told you but since this is something that I have felt and still feel so about the topic on your post.

Just Like That said...

Ah, Sunita, my heart goes out to you. There's no easy way out of this predicament all of us WOHMs face.

But in your profession,you at least have an option of shifting jobs so you can work part time from home, or work from home (Once Joyce starts school, working from home should be easier- you'll have all morning to yourself)

I don't have that either. So I need to totally shift career paths. And I too don't know where to start..:-(

Hang on in there, sweetie, lets hope you get into another place soon, which keeps you happier on most counts. :-)

Sunita said...

nm: Somehow the option to just be around work because you need it does not go well with me. Its also about mental simulation, being innvoative, learning, enjoying your work, meeting people etc etc. Its about being in the center of action be it home or work. I want it all and that is my predicament.
@jlt:I think this applies to SAHMs as well. Women who opt to stay at home but they so want to get back to the grind. Women at work who want to run home. God!! what did we get ourselves into?

Hip Grandma said...

I can understand your plight.This has never been easy for anyone including me though i began working when 2 children were in school and the third had completed 2 and I had my FIL taking the responsibility of marketting and generally keeping a watch on thechildren.joyce will soon grow up and everything is going to be fine.BTW you've been tagged.take it up when you have time/energy

Moppet's Mom said...

Like someone commented on my post, at the end of the day, it's about making peace with your choice whatever it is. It's not easy, I know I'm not anywhere near that yet - but it's the only way.

Sarah said...

I was working as a Chief operating officer of a major hospital when I learned that I was expecting..
I was the youngest person ever to have reached that position in that hospital.

I had always promised myself that I would raise my children, not the nanny.. so I quit work when Yaya was born.
Was it easy? Not at all.. I missed my work and of course the money! and all the securities that money could buy..
But then again, money could have never bought the little joys like watching them taking their first step or wiping their tears when they are upset.
I know I am there when they need me the most..
Most of my classmates are now senior consultants in major hospitals and I could have had the same position/status/ etc
But I do know that I would never trade the joys of being a stay at home mom with anything..

Sunshine's Mumma said...

heyy I forgot to save your URL and was feeling bad :) found you again :) havent read the posts yet..just wanted to say hi!

WhatsInAName said...

Oh well!
Its a never ending dilemma I guess.
I dont have an answer :(

NainaAshley said...

I can totally relate to this. For the same reasons that you mentioned and also because I know I need adult interaction, I had to work. Though I sometimes wonder if it is the right choice, I am at peace with it for most part.

Swati said...

Ohh..another mommy with same dilemma ..:P

I think ,I have no answer ..i just keep scratching my mind daily about these things.