Skip to main content

Work life balance - the choice of earning less, but the chance of having much more

Last Friday I was sunbathing on my picnic mat whilst my son played a game involving pussycats and buckets of grass, thinking about what to in my next blog post. As I "announced" on my blog recently, I have a new column (ooo exciting!) and I was commissioned to write a piece on work life balance. (More details to come later about my column).

Work life balance to me is the choice of earning less, but the chance of having much more. I’m that part-time working mum chasing her tail, remembering the toy for her four year old son’s Show’n’Tell, before rushing to get to work. I work three days a week, partly for sanity purposes, partly for money.

Returning to work when he was one was extremely difficult, only made bearable by finding an excellent childminder. I knew I couldn’t stay at home, I needed to be “me” again. Although I chose it, going back into a lower role was a shock with its own challenges: I was less “important” and younger colleagues did my old job. Things had moved on, but I hadn’t.

My son never slept through and so working, plus keeping house (even to my low standards!) left me as shattered as in those first few weeks after the birth (the “fug” I used to call it). The night before work, I would spend an hour getting ready – were there enough spare clothes, nappies, wipes? What did I need to write in his notebook? Had I prepared enough food?

Fast-forward three years, my son is at nursery, I have perfected the art of the part-time working mum. Three days of nursery drop’n’run so I can work, have lunch hours, hot cups of tea and private toilet trips, one day of tidying, shopping and playtime squeezed in, and one fun picnic’n’playday catching up with friends (luckily his mates’ mummies!). I have a cleaner, releasing me of guilt if I want to waste an hour in Costa on Saturday, while Other Half runs around, spanner in one hand, stabilisers in the other, chasing a wobbly small bike.

Work life balance, it’s constantly evolving. My needs, his needs, all change as he grows up. And now I’ve got it all worked out, we’re gearing up for school this year. Work is allowing me to spread my hours across four days, finishing earlier to pick him up. I will have one day to myself, half for “me” and half for household jobs.

I work to pay for my lifestyle– I don’t earn as much as before, we can’t afford what we had before, but we didn’t have our son before. And as I think of him now filling up that bucket miaowing on all fours, I know for me I have got the balance right. For now at least.

I'd love to hear about how you, my fellow mummy bloggers, or any bloggers really, how they balance work and life. Which life events have changed your priorities? And also has anyone got any tips on how to balance school gate life and work? Preferably before September!


  1. I am the 'dump and run' category, in other words the mother who uses wraparound care, hasn't a clue who anyone is (school gates? where are they?) but fortunately has very sociable children who 'introduce' me to the relevant people.

    I work full time because my children are so demanding and cost a lot of money. It is all their fault really.

    LCM x

  2. Thank you for your comment LCM (I haven't had many recently!). My work is not my career as much anymore, I don't have the energy to work my way up the ladder (again), so the school-gate life will suit me.

    I am only planning 1 "wraparound day" but I have heard that most kids want to do that the whole week as they are such fun. As Elf is an only, maybe I will end up at home reading Hello whilst he is at the after-school club! -HMx


Post a Comment

Talk to me...

Popular posts from this blog

A walk from Portchester Castle to Salt Cafe

Well we just had to choose the worst day of the year to walk. The date had been set weeks before - who knew there would be the worst winds of the decade almost on this very day? But we didn't want to be beaten. We will walk to the cafe. At least it wasn't raining! Parking is free next the castle and obviously, it wasn't busy this day! We set off around the outside of this medieval monument. The sea wall affords views across to Portsmouth and Gosport, and Portsdown Hill if you look behind. You can see the Spinnaker Tower in my photos, but you'd have to zoom in. The sea wall leads to a walk along a path, switching between grass (a much more sheltered area) beside a playpark, and the beach. It is an easy, flat walk, made slightly harder in the wind. After 1.75 miles, you reach the Salt Cafe (@saltcafe66). This took us one hour - that wind did slow us down! I've had a breakfast bap there before and remember it being delicious, but slightly expensive. But today, we

Would I Lie To You board family game review

Would I Lie To You? "The game of believable lies and unbelievable lies ", linked into the TV show of the same name. Purchased:  December 2017 in Waterstones, for around £20 In a nutshell: These TV show-affiliated games usually show themselves up (Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Top Gear) but this game is fun and easy to play (if a little modified) as a family. You don't really need specialist knowledge to play, just the ability to lie! Every year for Christmas, I like to buy a board game to play, even though no games better either Ludo (in which my dad is the reigning cheater-champion, and argues to high heaven over the rules about doubling up or how to place your counters in "Home") or Rummikub (which we can now play with two packs of cards lest we forget the game). This year, Would I Lie To You caught my eye in Waterstones (other emporiums - emporia? - for book lovers are [locally] unavailable). It's a game, it says, for 2-8 players; however we dec

Ms Humdrum reviews: B Afternoon Tea Bus Tour around London

Family and friends, tasty tea, cute cakes, succulent sarnies, scrumptious scones… what more could you ask for? Some sightseeing around Central London please. Oh, and on a vintage red double decker bus, if you don’t mind. What I’ve described is exactly what you get from the B Afternoon Tea Bus Tour. Priced at around what I paid for the Ritz afternoon tea some five years ago, you rock up at Victoria bus station and check-in to board the bus. The waiting staff guide you on and you find your booth. I manged to get a photo before anyone arrived.  The tea is set up for you and is sort of stuck down on the table with a little bit of material! Note the nice touches of the flowers adorning the sides of the bus and the tables with natty bus and shopper images. You settle in and order your first (of many) drinks. I had in my head that I’d be supping loose tea using a strainer out of a bone china cup and saucer. However that just isn’t going to work on a bus, I realise. So you are given