• Author:Ben Jones
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First sports day – another work life balance milestone passed

It was Miss J’s first sports day today. Being there, stood alongside my wonderful wife, Dr J, is how I imagined our new life would look. When I looked ahead and dreamed of a different working life than the one I was leading over two years ago, this is what I had in mind.

There were lots of parents present today to see their little ones taking part in sports day. For some, this was far from their first sports day – Aoife took part with her nursery class friends but alongside children from the school which is attached to her nursery that goes up to the age of 11. Some parents had clearly mistaken the sports field for the catwalk, although that gave Dr J and I some amusement. Some parents had clearly mistaken the sports field for their personal trainer session. Anyone who runs an “ath leisure’ clothing line would have been laughing all the way to the bank.

There was a great turn out of parents for all the age groups and classes but it was noticeable how many parents were alone – lots of mums, some dads, not many mums and dads. We are lucky that we were both able to be there as we know how hard it can be to get away from some jobs and some workplaces, but in a way we are not at all lucky. We decided when we made the lifestyle shift from full time London jobs, working for others in fake family-friendly corporate cultures, that this was exactly the sort of thing we did not want to miss. This was exactly the sort of thing we would have missed if we had stayed on that nasty corporate conveyor belt. Not every time, but more times than not.

We wanted to take control of our lives so that we didn’t miss the things that were important to us. Seeing our daughter do anything ranks pretty high for us on that list.

I didn’t get the chance to win the dad’s race – despite rumours to the contrary there wasn’t one for my daughter’s class but I did feel like a winner in the most important way. I got to go to sports day. I got to enjoy this sweetest and cutest of days alongside my darling wife. I got to take my daughter home after it finished, in time for lunch. I got to see those beaming smiles on faces first hand. That’s work fitting around life. That is living the dream. That is what I’m talking about.


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