Sunday afternoon blues…how many of us get that weird sinking feeling as the weekend draws to a close and the impending week looms around the corner? I, generally, love my job, but I still, most definitely, get Sunday blues. I remember Sunday blues on maternity leave too. Monday was always a bit of a nothing day with very few activities on and when Daf went back to work I knew it was up to me to face the world, with Poppi, alone. I found that quite daunting.
“Work/life” balance is quite a buzz topic these days. We’re so intent on employer satisfaction, wellbeing and self-care. I’ve heard friends talk of team-days where they do yoga and mindfulness together to build staff morale. But, how does one day a year of yoga impact our feelings towards work and allow us to maintain a healthy work/life balance? I have to say I am still figuring it out.
However, returning to work after having Poppi certainly caused me to re-evaluate what I was doing and what I really wanted to do. I have spoken to a number of parents who prior to having children were totally dedicated and 100% committed to their job but since having children they are taking time to reflect on the purpose of their work. For many of us, nothing can change in the work setting. We have to work to pay the bills and now keep a child. However, a massive change has occurred in the life setting and so surely this part of our lives needs new attention. How can we be both an excellent worker and an excellent parent? Work requires energy. Parenting requires energy.
But it doesn’t have to be impossible. It actually becomes a wonderful privilege to teach our children the importance of working well. It also serves as a tool to introduce skills such as time management. How does mummy work, see me and look after herself? I think something that is important to remember here is that quality time is better than quantity time. I found with days on end with Poppi, she rarely got my best. Now time is more limited (especially because she is at school all day) the time I carve out for her has to be dedicated time. It can really help children to know when they are going to spend time with them. It helps alleviate some anxiety. Date evenings/mornings/whatever time you have can be a good way of making this happen. Poppi knows that on a Thursday evening I pick her up from school and we have no other plans. That is our “date-time”. We can choose together what we want to do (usually something creative if Poppi has anything to do with it). I must make sure that I have managed my time so that I don’t need to be doing other jobs during this time.
A question I have learnt to ask myself a lot as a parent is: what is an essential job, and what is a job that just needs to be done? As the kids get older, how can we start involving them in these jobs too and making them more of a game rather than a chore? Wow! What a job it is to be a parent. Let’s make this a job that gives us joy on a Sunday afternoon. We are investing in the future. What an amazing opportunity and one I really want to give my best shot.