Tuesday, November 4, 2014

No Work-at-Home November

The end of October tends to be a bit of a restless time for me. September is always very stressful and that often goes into October. Then, the end of October brings parent/teacher conferences. It's not that meeting with parents is really a problem, most of the time parents are appreciative, helpful and fun to talk to. But, the time commitment is huge between preparing for the conferences and actually spending 20+ minutes with each family. After already dedicating so much time to beginning the year, this is often the breaking point in my sanity. This year was particularly tough. I spent most of two weeks ago preparing for conferences, trying to figure out what lessons I would teach during the week and planning for those lessons (I miss my planning time when I'm meeting with parents, but I'm still expected to teach solid lessons as evidenced by the fact that my principal observed me last Wednesday on a day I had 6 parent conferences scheduled.) I found myself on Monday not rested and just super frustrated by the never ending struggle between work and life. 

Don't get me wrong, before I had a child, work often won the struggle. But now, when work wins the struggle I start questioning my whole life. Should I continue to work full time? Am I missing valuable time with Max that I can never get back? Can I afford to work part time or not at all? Should Eric work less? Should I work less? What could we cut out so that one of us could work less? How would this work logistically because I can't just suddenly cut my kindergarten hours- I would have to get a different job entirely? What would I think if I ended up getting a job I liked less? Would I really put in less hours if I have to learn a new job anyway? I could go on...

The point is, this is where I go now. This is where I go when I wake up at 3 am. This is where I go when I sit in pointless meetings at work. This is where I go when I spend a whole weekend doing work in between trying to feed Max, play with Max and put Max down for naps. 

But, when I take a short break from work and really consider whats the best thing for me and for our whole family, I think my current job is it. I think. But not if it means working too many hours in the day and stressing about it 24/7. Last November I took a break from buying, and this November I will take a break from at-home work. I will leave my work at school every day and that is the only place I will do work. If it can't be done in that time period, it isn't going to happen. Will everyone survive? I hope so. 

I'm sure it sounds like there is really nothing to loose with this plan. Less work = great, right? But over the years I have loved doing work at home. Sometimes I have to do really tedious stuff entering data, responding to e-mails, surfing Pinterest for ideas and that is better done in front of the TV. Plus, I often find that I am less stressed at work if I have already got some of that stuff done the night before. But, something is not working about how this year is going so far. So I'm going to try something new and see what I think. 

What will I do with my time at home instead? My other job… mom! I already didn't do much work at home when Max was awake, so our nighttime playing and walks will remain the same. But I do need to find a daycare for Max for next September, and I'm working on an Artifact Uprising photo book to document Max's first year of life. Plus I need to start thinking about Christmas cards, presents, and a few trips we have coming up. I'll let you know how it goes!

What are your thoughts on work at home? 


  1. I don't do a TON of work from home but I do regularly respond to emails and texts outside of regular working hours - but usually just quickly, not sitting down and hammering out a huge project while at home kind of thing. That said all my freelance work is of course done at home and that can definitely get tedious sometimes, but overall I don't mind. That said, I don't have an adorable 9 month old that I'd rather be giving my attention to :)

    I think work life balance is different for everyone. What looks like work life balance to me might not be to you and so on. I think you have to try and figure out what works best for you and your family and go from there. Good luck with no work at home November -- I would say that sounds like a pretty solid plan and I really hope it helps you with your stress levels!

  2. I think about (and worry!) this a lot. I do so much work at home. Sometimes I just don't see how teachers with small children do it...

    We have conferences in two weeks. We also have Iowa Assessments next week (which is our big week of standardized tests). November feels crazy already and I can't wait for it to be over

    I can't believe your principal observed during conference week! That's a little too much, imo!!

  3. I do virtually no work at home because my job is not conducive to it. I have the ability to log in from home, but I have not done this and will try not to because I don't want to get in the habit of working at home. I like to leave work at work. I do have an email ap on my phone so I can check work email but that's about it.

    It seems like several of us (you, me, Emily) are at a career cross roads that are probably being prompted by different things - family for you and Emily, overall lack of satisfaction/doubts that I am in the right role for me. It's tough to have those thoughts running through your head all the time because there is no easy or obvious solution. I think I thought I was going to be this person who loved her job so much that I wouldn't care how many hours I worked or what the work environment would be like. Turns out that's not how I am built... I just didn't think I"d be forced to really think about my career until I had kids, but that is so far off for me and I am already having doubts that I can do the kind of work I am doing for the next 30 years...

    I hope your month of no at home work goes well for you!!

  4. Oh I have so many thoughts about this. First of all, while reading all your "questions" to yourself and what keeps you up at 3am - my first thought was how similar our stresses are. Except instead of "baby" mine is "photo business" haha. Second, I think these thoughts are normal as a working mom and you're doing a great job! I like the idea of doing no work at home - even though I totally understand how sometimes it just feels better to do the work at home then have to do it at work. But it really helps with the separation between work and home. I'm sticking to my belief that you're in the right job, and that it's just going to take some time to get used to your new life. For my photo biz, I'm trying so hard to be more efficient when I am working by setting timers.. and scheduling when I work on photo and when I don't (since I can't "leave photo at the office") - maybe that might help?

    It's so hard to know the right thing to do.. And quitting a job feels so final and you don't want to regret it. I'm constantly battling with how important a job is versus everything else in life (family, health, etc.) - it's such a hard balance but I have faith you will figure it out! You always do! (What is that thing we say? The first year of anything is the hardest?)

  5. I think this is a GREAT goal for this month, and will help you be more present with Max, but also maybe more present at work? Knowing you don't have as much down time might be more motivating, and come December will hopefully show you when things are the craziest, and what that means for you and your family. Can't wait to hear about it on the other side!

  6. We are going to full day Kinder state wide next year, so my part time gig will be ending. I have no idea what I am going to do because I would prefer to work part time (it's the perfect balance for me) but there won't be many .5 opportunities and chances are I will just be reassigned and therefore won't necessarily be psyched about my new role. So I am considering going back full time next year, but I am just not sure. Even just working part time I feel like I am never caught up and it's hard to keep the balance. I imagine working full time is very hard. Decisions Decisions...Also...we have two days off for conferences, so we don't have kids and schedule to see parents instead. I can't imagine fitting them in around full days of school! We're spoiled.

  7. I feel you. I really thought I was ready to go full time last year and last year I was. With my old associate with the old rules. This year not so much. I mean it's not to say last year didn't have its struggles but the overall enivornment was just better. I've tried to get better about not doing work at home but sometimes like you said, it's just easier to do it at night in front of the tv than at work.