Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Work-Life Issues

The wife is out of town.

I am responsible for Crab Kids for two whole days. There is an interesting dynamic when I am at home alone with the kids. The main driver is my inability to let go of work and just be happy to be at home with the kids. This issue arises during the day, when I am ~sort of~ supposed to be at work. By ~sort of~ I mean that I have an ill defined work schedule and, by self-imposed feelings of guilt (MOTHER!), feel like I should be present at work all of the time. So, instead of taking the day off and saying f*ck-it, let's go to the movies, I try to entertain the kids and check my e-mail and do some simulations and ... Which ends up being a total cluster-f*ck. I feel pretty bad about this.

So, one of my April 22nd resolutions (of which, I have one), is to let work go a little bit more when I am at home with the kids. Set aside the computer and enjoy being with them.

I have often thought about what will ultimately make the kids happy adults, and I am sure that my work schedule (coupled with the wife's work schedule), will actually make them into neurotic workaholics, like their parents. Hmmm... Is that healthy? I think not. So, how do you balance the work-life issue in a way that allows the kids to see that you should work hard at work, but yet, take a little time to enjoy your life?

(ok Mom, stop listening here....)

I am not sure that we got such a great work-life lesson growing up. With two working parents who were gone from 7AM - 5:XX PM everyday, I think that I learned that this is what life is about - work. You put in a hard days work (and it was hard for my Mom). This is what you do. There is no screwing around or playing. Vacations are rare and involve driving to waterfalls somewhere in the East, while cramped in a car with your siblings. (Ahhh, the memories - did I ever tell you the story about how my step-dad threw one of my shoes in the river upstream of Niagara Falls??) The Crab Kids have not experience too much of this bliss - what with Mini Vans, separate seats for each of the kids, iPods, laptops, etc - but they have experienced some vacations of this sort.

So, what am I concerned about? I just think that they see me worrying about the job all of the freaking time, and will do the same thing. Is that how I got my 'work-ethic'? By watching my Mom worry all of the time about her job? Or is it an innate thing inside of us that drives us to kill ourselves for other people - sacrifice ourselves for the 'greater good'? I don't know. But, I can tell you this - sometime soon, when there are no more classes or finals or balloon launches or proposals dues or ... I will just take a day off and take the kids to the zoo. Or, maybe it should be sooner than that.

Anyone want to come?

1 comment:

Lee said...

It is an interesting thing to think about. Dad was different, certainly work was important to him (although no lives were at stake), but he also had a lot of interests outside of work. Besides hot air balloons and sailboats, I remember him sewing, doing stained glass, pottery (while he was dating a potter), kites, and of course woodworking. Looking back, I think that had an influence on me: whether or not you like your job, there are other things that are way more fun. I got lucky to have a job that I like and a life outside of work that I like pretty well, too. It's a good thing, 'cos I didn't get an ounce of ambition.

BTW, this should not be read as me being a happy, health girl. Someday I can tell you about my crippling fear of intimacy (and all of the fun fears associated with it).

Len was blessed (not) with an utter lack of ambition and parents who had no hobbies at all. Sort of the worst of both, I think.

Uh. Yeah. Go to the damn zoo already! The thing about work, it will be there when you get back.