transitions

November 17, 2014 |  Category:   life

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The season is golden right now – the light, the trees, the leaves. It’s like the last bit of color before the winter grays sets in. Six more weeks left in the year and we’re all shaking our heads at how fast it all goes.

 

We’re still getting used to the rhythm of our days, but after a few months things have settled into something that I’d almost call routine. I get home around 7pm the days that I’m in the office, which gives me about an hour and a half with the kids before they turn in. I often find them finishing up dinner when I’m walking in the door, or sometimes practicing their instruments or reading a book. There isn’t much time left in the evenings for me to help with homework, and Mondays and Tuesday are the most hectic after school days because of lessons and activities, so Mark shoulders much of the parenting responsibilities those days. Somehow, we seem to be getting by. I wouldn’t say we’re knocking it out of the ball park, but we’re getting it done.

 
I think the biggest transition, at least on the home front, is that I have less time to be involved in their school work, and with these years being pretty critical in that grades are starting to really count, it’s been tough to admit. And this is where all those thoughts and questions about “doing it all” come in because really, it’s nearly impossible to do it all well, but damn if I’m not going to try. But all those random school holidays and half days and vacations throw us off, and each day that isn’t routine needs to be planned for. Well, what about when your kid feels sick in the morning and can’t go to school? Thankfully, we all seem to have freakish immune systems and we haven’t been sick in years, but these are the things that are taking up space in my mind now when they didn’t occupy it before. Welcome to every working parents’ dilemma. I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a woman and a mom with a career. I’ve always thought about it, yes, but I’ve also always had the upper hand. Taking a job, even with lots of flexibility, comes with its own rules and the rules aren’t necessarily mine.

 
On the work front, the commute can suck the life out of you. 40 minutes door to door ain’t bad, but when you’re spending half of those minutes packed in a subway car like sardines in a can, it’s not the most pleasant way to start or end a day. This, coming from a person who sometimes went weeks without getting on a subway. But 5 months in and I can no longer remember what it was like to work at home every single day, all those hours spent alone. That’s the best part of working in an office, obviously – the social interactions, the sense that I belong somewhere. And the days that I do work at home now feel like a gift.

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  • Jessica C. November 17, 2014 at 9:26 am

    Jenna – long time reader here. Your posts are so beautifully written. It makes my day to see a new post from you. I love to hear your thoughts as they so often line up with my own. Love and peace to you and your family.

    • Jenna November 23, 2014 at 1:13 pm

      Thanks Jessica!

  • Diane November 17, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Jenna, you have captured the working mom’s balancing act, which never feels balanced, so honestly. I remember those years, the sick days, the school holidays, the office demands so clearly. Now my daughter, who not only survived it all, but is an amazing young woman, is about to begin her own balancing act with the birth of my first grandchild in February. Thanks for writing about this journey.

    • Jenna November 23, 2014 at 1:13 pm

      Congratulations Diane. Sounds like your daughter has a great role model as she begins her own journey into motherhood. Best wishes to you both.

  • Red November 17, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    I think about this all the time and how nowadays it feels like the new normal (at least where I am) is to have a dual income family with both parents working but somehow still have the mother take on the bulk of the traditional role with regard to childrearing. While my husband is a great dad and a very involved father, the bulk of our kids’ lives depend on me planning, organizing, and tending to while I also work full time in an equally demanding job out of the home. I think you nailed it when you said, “I wouldn’t say we’re knocking it out of the ball park, but we’re getting it done.”

    • Jenna November 23, 2014 at 1:18 pm

      I suspect that in our house, the balance is more equal than other households, but when it comes to sick days, vacations, etc. we can’t compromise on Mark’s baking schedule as our business relies on it, even though he doesn’t have a boss counting his hours. But you’re right…stuff like parent teacher conferences, school activities and now, middle school applications are all fall on my shoulders.

  • Joo November 20, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    i think it’s so hard to work at home. all i want to do is stay in bed, do laundry, clean the house, etc. so, i prefer to work outside of home, but if i had kids, i can see myself wanting the other option for some flexibility. but with your kids getting older, i think the timing of your transition will work out great. and most importantly, it sounds like you are enjoying it 🙂

    • Jenna November 23, 2014 at 1:18 pm

      I love working from home! i figured if I was able to do it for 12 years, I must have been able to manage my time ok 🙂 But yes, the office thing has been good too.

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