When I worked part time, some of which was scheduled at home, I felt like the computer and I were in a constant staring contest.
Computer: “You could be working right now”
Me: “But I just need to fold this one load of laundry.”
The benefit to working full time at the office is that we’re not trying to fit all that work into an abbreviated schedule. Often when a position is changed from full-time to part-time, the workload is not decreased to compensate for this. Both the employer and employee should be involved in writing a new job description that the employee can fit into the hours agreed upon. When this doesn’t happen the employee feels pressure to work more than the part time hours, and is constantly trying to play catch up. It can also result in poor performance reviews, and maybe even job loss. And don’t count on working holidays to catch up, as most of the time companies pro-rate holiday pay, so that part time employees only receive a percentage of a full day. If your chosen part time schedule has you working 8 hour days, there is another couple of hours that need to be worked each holiday.
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There are obvious benefits to working part-time including decreased childcare costs, maintaining a presence in your career, and a work-life balance that teeters more toward the life side. But, in my experience that balance was more of a juggling act with work phone calls interrupting playdates, working late when I could, and that constant staring match when I was at home.
I think that all working mothers feel guilt, and maybe even some fathers. But, I dare to say it’s more difficult for women to get past this guilt and realize they are doing what is best for their family. Currently my husband is not working, and that is right for our family at this time. Despite the fact that my paycheck is the only one that keeps a roof over our heads, I still feel this guilt. I’ve learned though that it can be a driving force that helps me be more present when I am with my children. I realize that I need to make the most of my weekend time with them, as that is what they will remember.
So, a few weeks ago the 9-year-old informed me (on Wednesday) that it was to be Chrissa the American Girl’s birthday on Saturday, and we should have a party. And oh, yeah, she had already invited her friends. She made invitations, delivered them to said girlfriends, and I agreed to bake a cake. I love to bake and she knows this, but her eyes lit up when I offered to do it for this very special occasion.
And that, to me, was the best part. We even found a job for her brother which was to be the Paparazzi, and he loved walking around taking pictures of the girls and their dolls.
We even let the Paparazzi in for a wardrobe change!
I know these are the moments the children will remember, and I’m so happy to be fully present for them. Now if only paying the bills and cleaning the house were paid positions!