In one narrative of life, working on weekends is bad, and working on vacations is bad, so working on vacation weekends must be doubly bad. And yet from a balance perspective, I think this is a case where multiplying two negatives gives a positive answer, because I’ve had lots of not-working time too. The kids and I have been spending many, many hours together. Sometimes too many hours. Yesterday my husband flew to Chicago and so I was on solo kid duty from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. without their usual toys or schedules. It was a cloudy and cool day, which made for not-so-great beach weather. As a result, the kids spent approximately 12.5 of those 14 hours bickering. With similar weather shortening our beach trip this morning, my husband decided to take his turn and bring them on a field trip to an aquarium. I curled up with my coffee and my laptop and sat on the porch and hacked through what I wanted to do.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my own work/life balance of late. As the 2-year-old starts pre-school this fall, and as we figure out our new childcare hours, I’ve been thinking about what hours I’d like to work, and what hours I’d like to spend with my kids, and what hours I’d like to have childcare coverage but not work, and what I’d like to do with that time. During this vacation, I’ve been doing longer runs on the boardwalk, generally getting 4-5 miles in. Since I tend to run closer to 3 miles in my usual life, this could be an option for redeploying a few minutes. I have intentions for spending one-on-one time with each of the kids. I have various professional ambitions that I want to devote adequate hours to.
But whatever our childcare and school hours are, I know that a big part of making all the pieces fit is that I don’t have strict dividing lines between the categories of my life. If I am up at 5:30 a.m. for some reason, that is a perfectly reasonable time to edit a document, and Thursday morning at 10 a.m. is a reasonable time to go for a long run if that’s what works. Doing a few hours of work on vacation weekends is all part of that too.
What makes the pieces of your life fit together?