I am on a mission and my mission is this: find a way to cut into my work hours and to make ‘part time’ a real solution for my job and my family. (by part time, I mean hopefully taking one full day or maybe two half days off each week.)
This is a goal – I don’t know yet if it’s attainable.
One afternoon to not stress about errands, one morning to actually watch a Livy dance lesson, a few hours after breakfast to maybe vacuum the entire house without insane how-fast-can-I-vacuum eyes and heart palpitations while staring at my watch pre-conference call during the week (always best done right after morning caffeine).
I’ve done the part time thing before and what it usually ends up being is a full time job at part time pay. It is much more challenging to take things off of your plate than to put them on.
It used to go something like this:
Me: I’m thinking about reducing my hours at work to take two half days with the girls each week.
Colleague: That’s a great idea, which projects are you thinking of giving up?
Me: None of them. Why?
And then I proceed to bury myself.
Once during a terrible maternity leave compromise (Taylor’s?), I worked enough hours each week to answer emails, put out fires, turn around simple requests from other departments. I had absolutely zero time to work on anything substantial, any awesome projects, any major strategizing at all. And I hated it.
Part time for me has meant that I become my own best admin assistant.
But this time around I’m planning on changing that. This will be a journey, not cut and dry. I’ll share what works, what doesn’t work, what shortcuts might exist out there and how I’ve found them.
I have already started to make subtle steps in the right direction… I hired an admin assistant a year and a half ago and am making a priority of reprioritizing her time. I began using sites like Fiverr, Codeable and Freelancer to outsource small projects (there is a learning curve here – I’m finding that sometimes it really is just better to do it yourself). I introduced a mandatory ‘off’ morning for a mommy group a while back (but I rework those missing hours into the other days at the moment) and even put it on my office Outlook calendar so no one would schedule a meeting during that time.
For full disclosure, I have the fortunate opportunity to work from home and so I occasionally pop my head out of the office to pick Liv up from preschool, to walk Taylor to the park and to bounce Marley on my lap while I catch up on emails. But I make up that time by coming back to the computer almost every night at 11pm to finish projects that inevitably need attention. And I want to see what life is like not doing that. I think it could be nice AND I think that ‘part time’ is what will save the maxed out mom from full destruction. The economy will thank us later ;-).
The goal: a 32 hour work week that feels balanced (for my family, for my job, for me).
Challenge of how to get there is accepted.