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In quest of the work/life balance

On a Wednesday a couple weeks ago, my son wasn’t himself. Lethargic, wanted to be held, and just not his usual happy self. I made the call to keep him home from daycare, although he didn’t have a fever and wasn’t technically sick. I figured a day at home cuddling with mom would be just what he needed.

The next day, I had a very packed calendar full of meetings and events at work, and told my husband to be on standby if daycare were to call, because there was no way I could leave work to pick our son up.

Sure enough, at 2 p.m. on Thursday, daycare called and told me I needed to come and pick up my son, and he was shivering in his crib with a 102.0* fever. That just happened to be at the height of my insanely busy day, and I spent the next hour trying over and over and over to get in touch with my husband to go and pick up our son. After it was clear that “being on standby” meant different things to us, I decided I needed to ask for help.

My wonderful co-worker told me to go get him and bring him back to work and she’d watch him in her office until my husband could pick him up. Bless her! I was walking out to my car to go get my son when my husband finally called back. The conversation wasn’t pleasant, as you can imagine, but it was determined that he would go get my son and all was well.

It was the most stressful day I’ve had in awhile, and I was completely paralyzed with indecision. I pride myself on my work ethic, and go into work every day genuinely happy to be there. In that moment, while I wanted nothing more than to cuddle my little dude, I also felt like I couldn’t leave work in the middle of a meeting I organized.

This situation really weighed on my mind for a few days, and made me really think about my work/life balance. To my employer’s credit, I was told that sick kids always come first, and I should have gone and got my sick kiddo, no questions asked, but I felt like I couldn’t leave because of a thing I like to call a Type A personality. I was so upset with myself that I even thought twice about going to get my sick son, but on the other hand, I truthfully really wanted to be at work.

Since then, I’ve really been taking a look at the balance of home life and work, and I’m making a few little changes here and there. If I don’t need to be at work late, I’m not. I leave when everyone else does, and my kids love that I’m able to pick them up from school some days of the week. It’s the little things, I’m finding, that add up to really big things in the minds of my kids. Is there guilt there for leaving “early”? Absolutely. But it’s a balance, and one I’m trying to figure out day by day.

How do you handle your work/life balance? Do you think it’s possible to achieve a true balance? I’d love to hear your input!

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About Tracie Barnthouse

Tracie Barnthouse
A Midwestern girl who has laid roots in Reno, Tracie Barnthouse is the mother of two {A (4) and E (9 months)}, and wife of one (Token). Publicist by day, her job keeps her busy, and she’s still learning that tightrope walk of work/life balance. Barnthouse moved to Reno in 2012 from Sicily, Italy, where she lived for four years. Prior to that, four years were spent on the island of Guam, but she’s come to realize that home isn’t defined by a speck on a map. From overseas travel tips with infants and toddlers to glimpses of everyday life, she hopes to share stories that help us realize we’re all on this crazy ride called Motherhood together.

2 comments

  1. The key is an understanding and appreciative employer, otherwise it’s very very difficult! It’s unfortunate in today’s virtual world, more employers cannot be as understanding and realizing that when you give good people some autonomy, you probably get more out of them. I, for one, am very fortunate and I make it a point to acknowledge and thank my employer for that support. I have friends that are equally as fortunate and other friends that really depend on their network to achieve their own balance. Support your network and support other mom’s that need it – we’re all in it together and it takes a village. Thanks for listening…now, back to work!

  2. I have been aganozing about going back to work because I can’t live up to my ‘work ethic’. What if the kids get sick? Our kids, ages 9, 6, and 3 average a couple days per month. I didn’t anticipate this. How do you interview prospective employers without being discriminated against? It’s problematic, including being 44+, female, and now ‘unreliable’. Otherwise, I have an immaculate work history. But my kids will always come first.

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