Monday, March 24, 2008

Working vs Family Balance

There is a lot of talk in the media and in parenting magazines about the balance that one needs, between their working life and their family life. It is a hard one to find, especially as a single mom.

I do the best I can, and when I have ML I spend 90% of my non- working time with her. Every second weekend she goes to her father's and I try to have that time as my time to go out and do as I please.

This long weekend meant ML and I spent 3 days together, seeing friends and family, and ML accompanied me the entire time. We went to get her hair cut, bought her tights to wear with her Easter dress (she is a shopper, when things are for her!!) went for a walk at a local park to see the geese that have recently arrived, made popcorn to watch hockey on TV (at her request). Then Easter morning so much excitement finding eggs and having the family over for Brunch.

Yesterday afternoon was spent with wonderful friends just hanging out in the back yard (in March!!) watching the kids play and run. I thought it was an awesome weekend of good mom and ML time...

However at bedtime last night ML says that she doesn't think I love her!! Then this morning she cried and cried en route to the day home saying that she didn't want to go to the day home (that she loves, and is loved at) but instead wanted to come to work with me. I asked why and she says " I never get to spend time with you!" (see above weekend description)

Now I know that ML knows that I love her. I tell her all the time. I will make an effort, obviously, to tell her more, as she seems to be feeling very insecure at the moment.

Is this ML still getting used to her weekends at her Fathers, and she wants more mom time, more like we used to have. Is it a phase? Is it because we have be talking about adding another kid to the family and ML feeling insecure of her place?

I am torn as to what to do. Do I need to work less hours in the day? Can I afford to? Will work allow it? What about working from home? Is this just a phase that will pass with time? Any suggestions?

Being a Single Mom and getting the balance right is not easy.


graceling said...

I work 3 days a week. That's it. And the rest of the time, Abigail is at school or with me. She doesn't visit her dad often, and if we travel to visit family, we go together.

Sometimes she will tell me "you work too much" or "why do you have to go to work?" Often she says "we never get to be together." Like you, we may spend tons of time together, but she might not feel emotionally fulfilled.

One of the things I truly believe is that we all have different ways of giving and receiving love. For some, a hug goes a long way. For others, they feel loved when you spend time with them or give them a gift. Kids are the same way. (See "The 5 Love Languages" by Gary Chapman and "The 5 Love Languages for Kids.")

I realized that my daughter really feels loved when I hug and cuddle her. I am NOT a touchy-feely person, and one hug a day would be more than enough for me, but I realized that my daughter wasn't feeling enough love because I wasn't touching her enough. So I started going out of my way to do that- more hugs, more kisses, more cuddles, more hand-holding. I can see that it is really helping.

So, maybe that is the issue? Not so much a matter of time, but a matter of learning ML's "love language."

Besides, buying the book is cheaper than cutting back your hours at work:)

Tanya said...

Thanks for the book recommendation, I have ordered a used copy, and will post a review once I read it.
You are right, that is much cheaper! ;-)