Raising Davis: A Work-Family Balance



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Working Mom Meghan Bradley says if she had stayed at home, she would have ended up starting a home-based business.

My editor reminded me that my article for Raising Davis was overdue. I tried avoiding eye contact with her for the rest of the week because each night, when I went home, I promised myself I would write. Instead, I ended up going to the park with the kids, which was a lot more fun. I didn’t want to miss that family time and yet I didn’t want to disappoint the editor, either. This is the everlasting struggle in balancing work with family life. Sometimes, I make my boss happy to the detriment of my family and other times, like now, the editor is going to get a late submission!

I call it guilt management. For me, it’s a way of life. There is a constant checklist running through my head: Am I spending enough time with Davis? Did I give 100 percent to my last business proposal? Is the family eating enough vegetables? Aren’t Paul and I overdue for a date night? The best I can hope for each day is to complete my work, go home, sit around the kitchen table for a family dinner followed by some family time, followed by time alone with Paul.

The topic was to reflect on my decision to return to work after my maternity leave
five years ago. Was it the right move? For me, it was the only move. Sure, I deal with the guilt and feelings of being overwhelmed at times, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. The alternative would not be good for me or my family. I sometimes imagine what kind of stay-at-home mom I would be. My guess is that I would have started a home business. I’m certain I would have found some way of “working” during the day and that could have been a disaster for Davis. Being self-employed is unpredictable and would
not have allowed his days to be structured – and Davis likes to know what the day will bring. If I
was working at home, Davis would be telling his friends how he helped Mommy file papers instead of finger painting. And the daycare provides better lunches than I do!

I treasure the time I do spend with Davis. Each day, I can’t wait to get home and hear about his day. He tells stories about his classmates and chatters away about what happened on the playground. He loves to talk and he insists on my undivided attention as he tells me every detail. I grab a coffee and sit tight, because each story can go on for 20 minutes, but I never try to rush him.
He is also curious about my day at the office. It is quite remarkable that, at five years old, he will always ask, “how was your day?” I usually have a couple of stories to tell him. Later, we spend at least 20 minutes before his bedtime talking about our plans for the following day. Davis will have already decided what games he hopes to play, what he would like for breakfast and what shirt he intends to wear. He is very assured and knows what he wants. He comes by it honestly. I know what I want and know what work/family balance is working for our family. The decision to enroll Davis in daycare was right, too, because he is highly social, likes to be
busy, loves the playground and really needs the daily routine.
It has worked for our family, although I still feel a twinge of guilt when I’m not on hand to share a special event in his day. But I can manage it!

Published in October 2010.

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