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Tips on achieving a good work life balance

Discussion in 'Working Women' started by kavya007, Dec 14, 2007.

  1. kavya007

    kavya007 Gold IL'ite

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    Hi Folks,

    I am a software engineer and the mother of a 15 month old. I always feel guilty that I am not spending quality time with my son. My son is very attached to me and it breaks my heart to see him cry whenever I leave home.
    I have two very bad habits:
    1) At work I do spend considerable time browsing the internet. So as a result my days seem long but less productive.
    2) I tend to get up very late in the morning.
    Any tips on how to achieve work/life balance and improve our productivity.

    Sometimes I think of quitting my job. But I don't think I will have the patience to spend my whole day with my son. I feel that at least 2-3 hours of play school will do him good.

    I would prefer a part time job but it seems tough to get a part time job in the software industry. My previous boss did not allow me to work part time and I don't think my current boss would also allow me. Do you think it is worth to take a break for 1-2 years before getting back into the job market. Has anyone of you in the US done that?

    Ladies please share your thoughts.


    Thanks,
    Kavya.
     
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  2. Aarushi

    Aarushi Platinum IL'ite

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    Hi Kavya,

    How about working from home 1-2 days a week? Maybe you can talk to your boss about letting you work from home 1 day in the beginning.

    I work from home a couple of days a week and thereby can spend more time with my baby.

    It took a while to convince my bosses but after they noticed that my productivity had not declined, they were ok with it.

    Of course it also depends on the fact whether your work can be done remotely or not.

    If this does not work, then try finding a job that fits your needs more closely..i.e. part time work etc.

    hope this helps,

    love,
    Aarushi
     
  3. kavya007

    kavya007 Gold IL'ite

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    Hi Aarushi,

    I can WFH only when my soon takes a nap. It was easier to WFH when he was a baby. When he sees me working on my laptop he wants to play with my laptop.
    How old is your baby.

    Thanks,
    Kavya.



     
  4. Aarushi

    Aarushi Platinum IL'ite

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    Yes, its pretty difficult when they want to play with whatever is in your hand...my daughter too wants to press all the keys or pull them out one by one and I have to keep telling her tsk. She is all of 1 yr old....:)

    What I do is do most of my urgent work when she sleeps in the afternoon for 2-3 hrs. And then I get a baby sitter for 4 hrs. She takes care of her and I can go and work in peace. Any work that is left I do in bits and pieces or I do in the night after she goes off to sleep (about 8-8:30 pm)...Hence the late night messages like these....:) Right now I'm downloading and querying some data and while that is going on, I can come and check messages in IL.

    It is tough physically (because I am usually up till 12 - 1 am) and expensive (coz the baby sitter adds to the day care cost)...but over all I feel that 2 days more at home gives her more time with me than it would have been otherwise...and overall its worth it...when she is a little older maybe I'll send her to day care more but for now this is our schedule...:)

    love,
    Aarushi
     
  5. kavya007

    kavya007 Gold IL'ite

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    Hi Aarushi,

    This is an interesting setup. How do you manage cooking, cleaning and feeding your daughter? Does your daughter sleep through the night ? My son still does not sleep through the night. And he is such a fussy eater. It takes me nearly 1 hour to feed him each meal. Do you a have regular bet time routine for your daughter. My son goes to sleep only by 10-11ish. He tries to fight sleep as much as possible and is so scared that we might put him to sleep.

    BTW I really like your signature.

    Thanks,
    Kavya.

     
  6. Aarushi

    Aarushi Platinum IL'ite

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    Hi Kavya,

    First of all thanks for the note about liking my signature...:)

    About the schedule part - honestly, I do not cook too much. If I do, then I do very easy type recipes. E.g. idli & chutney, or boil veggies/ green chana - mix with besan, onions, salt and make a pancake/parantha, cheerios, toast, dosa etc. Sometimes, I cook kichdi/daal for my daughter the moment she goes to sleep (after closing all the doors and putting on all the fresh air fans to soften the sound of the pressure cooker:)). When she wakes up, I give her that...otherwise the baby sitter gives it to her in the afternoon.

    When the baby sitter leaves(whose timings are: one day from 1-5 and one day from 2-6), I immediately give her some milk and snacks. Around 7 -7:30 pm is her dinner and then around 8 pm, bath time. By 8:15 I give her some more milk, after which she falls asleep by 8:30 pm. Of course this schedule is not too rigid but by and large this is how we function.

    If I have to cook in the evenings I give her a couple of cookies/crackers etc or give her some safe kitchen items to play with...whatever works that day...sometimes I have to pick her up in one arm and keep holding her while I keep cooking with the other...sometimes I make extra curry so that I do not have to cook every day...

    Her bed time became more regulated after she started attending day care. Also, I do not let her take a nap after 5 pm. Its taken me a while to sleep train her...I followed the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Marc Weissbluth after my baby turned 8 months. Its helped me a lot and made my life a whole lot easier.

    I would strongly recommend this book if you want to change your child's sleeping habits.

    Let me know if you have any more questions...

    love,
    Aarushi
     
  7. SoaringSpirit

    SoaringSpirit Silver IL'ite

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    Aarushi, I liked your arrangement about the baby sitter. That’s a very smart thing to do.

    Kavya, don’t feel guilty about leaving your son in day care. You might feel bad and that’s ok J, but guilty – don’t. When it was time for me to send my second one to day care I thought I will not feel so bad since I have already done it once. Nope. It still broke my heart to leave her there. I would’ve loved to keep her home another year may be but I didn’t have much choice. And sure there are certain tangible benefits to day care– kids get more disciplined, they become more independent and are able to “do” some of the stuff for themselves, their social skills get better etc. And most important is that all of this happens without much effort from us! So it is not terrible leaving them in day care.

    Here’s what I do. I have two and the younger one is 18 month old.

    Yes, it does help a lot if you can work from home or at the least reduce the hours that you are “physically” present at work. If WFH is not an option for you, how about you tell your manager that you will be there at work for 6.5 to 7 hrs a day and WFH every morning or night for the rest of the hours. You also then work through lunch. I have worked out this arrangement for myself. So I am there for most of the core business hours and no one sees it as a big issue or a favor. I normally do not take a dedicated lunch break except couple times a month, which is ok.

    As for cooking, I am with you Aarushi. I don’t cook much and definitely not elaborate meals. I also sometimes get someone on an hourly basis to cook and do the laundry for me. These are Indian ladies who work full time in a store or other similar place and are willing to come for a few hours a week to earn some extra money. I have a couple that I work with and alternate between them. The down side is I have to be flexible about what days and what time they will come. But it sure helps.

    Kavya, try exploring some of these options for yourself. For me I did not think quitting my job was right. I like working and enjoy going out and doing something of my own. Of course I would like a part time job but they are hard to come by. So I just keep looking for options to help me offload some of the day to day chores.

    I am able to spend a good one hour playing with the kids most evenings. The feeding and bathing is on top of that one hour with them. I am fairly happy so far.

    SS
     

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