• Author:Ben Jones
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It’s an ill wind that blows

Today brings it all home. The wonderful flexibility of working part-time/working for yourself. The reason why I have chosen this path and still walk with a spring in my step down it each day. It allows me to put my life – my family – before my work. No need for clumsy compromises or messy managing of work, emails, phone calls over what really matters.

Miss J has been coughing during the night since Friday but last night it took on a new dimension – with it a very restless, disturbed night for the whole of Team Jones. It was an easy call this morning to keep Aoife at home and off nursery for the day – she has actually bounced back well during the day and seems to be hitting top form again.

It was incredibly liberating to only have one consideration this morning – what is best for Miss J – not a combination of what is best for Miss J and how do I manage that with my work. Please don’t be in any doubt, if Aoife was  ill/there was a family emergency, even in my old dark coporate days, I would have no hesitation in doing the right thing, but the difference is that then I was full of anxiety and guilt about what I wasn’t doing at work; the meetings I was missing; the expectations I was not meeting. Once over the initial concerns – getting a doctor’s appointment and looking after the family issue – my mind would have quickly, no simultaneously, turned to how I keep people happy at work. That makes me sad now even as I type it.

Today was totally different. No worries or concerns except getting Aoife up and running and ensuring Dr J and I were content that all was well. I took the morning to spend time with my girls, including taking Miss J into Southport to cheer her up with a trip to the toyshop and HMV – bear with me! The trip to HMV was a response to Aoife’s burgeoning admiration for The Beatles and the chance to add the famous Abbey Road picture to her playroom. One happy little girl and one proud dad followed.

It is easy to write and talk about work-life balance – big organisations do it all the time – it is much harder to make that a reality. I tried hard – very, very hard – for years and failed, with pretty disastrous results on my health and wellbeing. It is only since I started to work for myself and working fewer hours and fewer days that my dream of a life where work fitted around that life became a reality. I am not smug about it but today does bring me a warm sense of satisfaction. This is what I dreamed off when I made the move – this major lifestyle change – even when, on this day, it’s an ill wind that blows.

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