I have to admit I struggle with balancing being a parent and working full time. I have a pretty senior role in the cut throat world of sales. This takes me away from home a lot and when I am back in time for bath time I have to admit coming home to something that resembles a warzone with tired and irritable children is not what I signed up for. So the only time I get quality time with my kids is at the weekend, well at least until they turn into monsters during the witching hour in the afternoon.
I often find it hard to switch off from work when at home. This is especially difficult when I am with my three girls and I find my mind wandering onto the latest ‘challenge’ at work when I should be living in the moment!
One of the great things I have gained from my blogging escapades has been learning from other people who face the same challenges as me and who have taken the leap of faith to change their working pattern to give them more quality time with their children. Great blogs like Dads The Way I Like It, Fathers, Work and Family and DadBlogUK have published many posts on Father’s rights with regards to the workplace. Blogs like these have given me the inspiration to explore the option of flexible working for me.
We are in the fortunate position that my salary enables High Command to be a full time Mum, something that is important to both of us. But with this can come a certain amount of resentment that I can’t be a full time Dad. Something I would genuinely jump at if it was an option open to us. But sadly it is not. I have to accept that my primary aim for the foreseeable future is to in the words of my eldest daughter Poppet, who is four and a half, is to ‘Go to work to earn the Ham and Cheese for us all’.
So the next best thing I could look at doing would be to explore condensing my hours so that I could do a day’s childcare and feel like I was doing something to be more hands on than being an ‘Executive Weekend Dad’.
I first mooted the idea in December of last year of asking my boss if I could work a condensed working fortnight to give me a day off to do Daddy Day Care every other week. This would basically involve me working my 10-days worth of hours in 9-days so I would not have to take a pay cut.
However I was always scared what my boss would say. She is a careerist who has never had children and despite her always being fair with me I conjured up these images of the conversation going very badly and it being a blot on my career copy book. But at the same time to coin the cliché ‘they grow up quick’ I had already left it too late with my Poppet who started school this month so I had to be brave and do it for my other two girls.
Anyway I finally summed up the courage and asked my boss whether it could be a possibility we could explore? In my request I stated that I was struggling with balancing my career and family values and that I thought it would be good for the company and for me in terms of productivity if we explored this day off every other week. I have to say my boss was brilliant and said she thought it was a great idea!
And that was that. All that worry for 9-months about what my boss would say was dispelled in a 5-minute conversation. I clarified that a Wednesday would be best for me rather than say a Friday as I did not want the day to become an excuse for a long weekend. I also confirmed that I could be flexible if, for example management meeting came up, given that I manage my own diary this would not be a problem.
I did the first day last week with Dumpling my two and a half year old. We went to a local adventure park and I can count on one hand the number of 1-2-1 days I have spent with her. It was very special which you can read about here and something I look forward to doing more of over the coming months and years.
Have you or your husband embraced flexible working?
How have you found it?
As always would love to read your comments 🙂