Thursday, 29 October 2009


I'm still deciding whether I have successfully juggled my time over this half term. The guilt of the full time working mother has kicked in this morning as I have risen at 5am in order to work so that I can have time with M and Andy and then with my mother who arrives later today.
I didn't want to take any time off this week during half term when both the Bean and Andy are at home, as I'd like to have a couple of days leave later in November for Christmas and M's 3rd birthday preparations on 14th December. I also want to take a full 2 weeks off over Christmas and New Year as we do so much travelling. 
So, these last few days I've tried to juggle work at times when I would normally be sleeping or watching telly so I can have time with Andy and M and the fun things they have been doing.
So, 5am start this morning...6 am yesterday, managing 5/6 hours work before midday. Last night I babysat for some friends in our babysitting circle and I worked for 3 of the 4 hours I was there.
I'm tired...and I was ill on Tuesday too with a sicky bug or something, so time is even more stretched. But through it all, I'm looking forward to all aspects of my life, generally! The Labyrinth we are doing in St Albans Diocese on Friday is exciting and creative and stretching in terms of theology as well as good youth work. The time we've had with M this week and with each other, particularly because we have all been ill and run down at various times has also been precious - quiet, relaxed, homey.
I can't imagine having to work full time and not love my job - but equally I wish sometimes that I could have more days without feeling that something else is tugging at my sense of responsibility - M and Andy and home life when I'm working, work and deadlines and ideas for development when I'm at home being mummy....

Jenny Baker over at Sophia blogged on some stuff around this issue yesterday and I know she has commented on my previous post about us getting a cleaner and how I felt about that with all it's mixed emotions. I think these times are helpful reflections for me and perhaps you, my friends, will help me be real about my drivers to do what I do and why I work like I do - hard!

Here is some text from Jenny's post:

"There's no doubt that the demands of work on both men and women have a big impact on family life and social relationships, particularly the culture of working long hours that seems as endemic in the church and in Christian organisations as in business. That doesn't just apply to couples; people who are single can have as much expectation or pressure to work long hours.  Helen Jarvis from Newcastle University has identified eight 'drivers' for working long hours:
  • tight deadlines due to working in competitive or under-resourced fields
  • demand-led services - a few workers have to put in long hours to meet a seasonal demand
  • portfolio worker survival - people on insecure or short-term contracts put in long hours to show their commitment or to update their skills
  • enthusiasm for the work and a 'can-do' culture
  • presenteeism where people feel they have to be seen at their desk or in the workplace to show their commitment
  • moral obligation due to loyalty to colleagues or to the cause you're working for
  • financial incentives - working overtime or more hours when self-employed means you have more to spend
  • 'macho' goal-oriented motives - the lunch is for wimps mentality
I'm self-employed and I know how easy it is for work to expand to fill every available moment. So join me in a moment of reflection - do the hours you put in at work have a detrimental effect on your relationships with friends and family? Which of these drivers is behind the long hours that you work and do you need to resist them? Are you making enough space for rest and restoration?"

I'm really looking forward to going on Youthwork the Conference this year and also taking in the Retreat for the 24 hours before - although it will mean me being away from home for 3 nights which I have only done once before, I am sure it will be a great opportunity and an enforced one too!

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