We are two weeks into our new arrangements at home – Dr J back at work three days a week – me doing those days on the pre-school run, time in the afternoons 121 with Aoife and cooking dinner with the help of my mate, Delia. In the five hours each day that Aoife is at pre-school I work – usually at home – and then on the two days Dr J is at home I try to work some of the time and make time for us to be together. It is a change from our previous arrangements but a welcome one for both Dr J and me. So far, I’m pleased to say that we’ve had no complaints from the person who counts the most.
I reflect on this today after a busy day – I used my five hours today to drive to and from Manchester, meet with some Lexington North colleagues and attend a key meeting with a potential client. After picking Aoife up we had some time playing at home – did some domestic chores – my OCD is working a treat to keep on top of washing and cooking – and then hit the park. A perfect way to spend an hour this afternoon; with my little girl in the gorgeous Birkdale sunshine. Dr J returned home after five and we ate together. After posting this – as Dr J puts Aoife to bed – an evening of me and Dr J time in front of the TV and Hillary’s new book awaits us.
Dr J has a spring in her step – not from the increased time away from home but from the chance to continue her stellar career and put her outstanding skills to work at the university. Witnessing that alone has made this change worthwhile. But more than that I am experiencing something special which happened to me once before when I was off work following my pneumonia and prolonged absence from work to recover; lots more quality time with Aoife. I was getting loads of time with her before this fortnight but the increase is already resulting in a lovely warm glow from both of us. I feel very lucky.
Spinning the plates is tough – as every working mum and dad knows – but so very rewarding. As I have written before, I make a huge effort to organise the days and the weeks to work at getting the balance right, including some time for me. Tomorrow is a day of golf with an old friend in St Helens – and the weekend is set fair for more golf, some football, some breakfast out with my girls and a shopping trip together to Manchester. I still pinch myself at times when I reflect on how far we’ve come as a family from the days of old when work life balance was a vacuous cliche to us – now it is a reality and a reality which makes every day start and end with smiles on faces – all our faces.