I know there is a LOT of information out there about parenthood and work-life balance and productivity and creating a happy life. My goal with this website and this blog is to provide a resource specifically for families where both parents work full-time, who are trying to raise self-confident and happy children, but who are overwhelmed and just don’t know where to turn to create a more balanced life.
Life with little ones at home can be exhausting. And then you pile a demanding career or two on top of that, and the pace with which the world turns these days… it’s a recipe for burnout and hopelessness.
Before I went back to work after my son was born, I had a fantastic plan. I had spent 9 months devouring all sorts of information about being a working parent. I knew all of the tricks. I was organized and had checklists and even made a 5-page list of notes for my son’s daycare providers about his routine and likes and dislikes (I’m sure they were thrilled about that).
I read all of the expert advice I could find, and I was prepared, dammit. I was ready to return to my old routine at work, head home at 5:00 p.m. and spend quality time with my son before his bedtime, and then turn my attention to my husband for a couple of hours after our son was asleep.
Booyah! I had a great plan, and nothing could stop me.
Man alive, I had vastly underestimated the ways my life would change after having a baby.
By the time I returned to work when my son was four months old, I was a shell of my former self. I was exhausted from hourly middle of the night feedings. Our son was one of those kids (still is) who just doesn’t like to sleep much.
Our son also suffered from chronic ear infections from 4-18 months old, so every week or so he got sick and my husband and I had to decide who would take time off work this time to take him to the pediatrician and care for him.
By the time our son was finally asleep at night, my husband, Joey, and I rarely had the energy or the time to make dinner, much less to connect with each other. We also knew our son would probably be up again soon anyway, so we weren’t all that interested in staying up late to hang out.
I endured a three hour commute on a crowded and unreliable train everyday, packed in with rude and cranky people (most of whom were other exhausted working parents just trying to get home to their kids). If I missed a train by 5 seconds, I had to wait another 20 minutes for the next one. And every month or so, the whole system would shut down and my husband and I would be stranded, frantically trying to find a way to get to our son.
Finally, there was a lot of extra pressure at work to avoid looking like a “slacker mom” and to get back up to speed after my time away (not to mention the passive-aggressive comments I heard about the four-month “vacation” I just had or the fact that I now had to leave “early” to pick up my son from daycare before it closed). So not only was I back to work full-time, I very quickly realized that I was expected to login again after I got home to finish up the backlog of work that accumulated during my commute.
Whew, life was definitely NOT following my well-hatched plan.
When I’m struggling with something, my solution is to learn as much as I can about that topic until I find the answers I need. So I started reading as much as I could about balancing being a mom with a demanding career.
I started to notice a theme with all of the books I read from other working parents though. Here was the message I received loud and clear:
Sorry Charlie, you just can’t have it all. It’s not possible to have a career and a happy home life. The world today just isn’t built for working parents. You have to choose one or the other. Better find a way to live on less money because you’re about to become a stay-at-home mom! Don’t want to quit your job? All right. Fine. Better accept the fact that your kid is going to become a drug addict because he never sees his parents.
Wow. Those were my only options? Quit or start saving for therapy for my kid? I had a career that I really enjoyed and that I had worked almost 20 years to build, and which afforded my family a nice income (which we needed since we lived in one of the most expensive cities in the world). Why did I have to quit my job?
On the other hand, I did want more time with my family. I wanted to find some peace and calm, rather than feeling like I was rushing through every part of my day just to collapse into bed at night. I wanted to have more meaningful conversations with my husband, more fun with my son, and more time to dedicate to my health and well-being. I wanted to feel patient and carefree again. Mostly, I wanted to stop feeling like I was failing at everything, no matter how hard I worked.
I’m pretty stubborn, so I decided I wasn’t buying it. This message wasn’t right. I decided there had to be a better way. There had to be a way to have both.
I knew from everything I had learned over the years, everything I had researched and read, and from past experiences, and from friends I knew who were making it work, that there was a way to have both. It would take commitment and some serious decision-making, but it was possible. I wasn’t ready to give in and “opt-out” of my career.
Lo and behold, I was right. There is absolutely a way to be effective in your career and still have time for your family. Just 18 months later, I have that life. And I’m going to share with you how I got there.
I want this whole website, this blog and all of the other pages on this site, to be a resource you can trust. I want you to find valuable tools here that you can use to start making real changes in your life immediately.
I am committed to creating a resource for you that cuts out all of the fluff and provides reliable, research-backed information. Stop wasting your time (and your sanity) trying to twist your life around so you can implement all of the rules for a “happy life” that those pop-psychology “experts” preach out there. I want this resource to fit your style, your priorities, your values, your family, and your life overall. The tools I’ll provide are principles that you can apply to your unique life.
You don’t have to change who you are to have a well-balanced life. You just have to get very clear about who you are and what you want, and then take action to get to where you want to go.
I know your time is precious, and that if you’re online looking for solutions to your problems, you want to find real answers that will work for you and your family now. I take that seriously, because I’ve been where you are – stressed, exhausted, overwhelmed, and fighting just to stay afloat. Hang in there, and keep coming back. I’ll be adding new content all the time.
In the meantime, check out the Resources page for books, blog articles, podcasts, websites, and other tools that I’ve found to be helpful as I’ve navigated various working parent challenges.
If you want to know a little more about who I am and how I got here, take a peek at the My Story page (or just keep reading blog posts… you’ll learn all my dirty little secrets). 🙂
Let’s create a movement toward happier families, more productive workplaces, and more balanced lives – one family at a time. It IS possible, and together we can shift the way the world sees working parenthood.
Check out our Library of free guides, trainings, and challenges to help you become the working parent you are meant to be.