- Should I stay and finish this one last report?
- If I could only finish this last task, I could start tomorrow with a clean slate....
- I need to catch up with my boss...
- Ugh...Roland is going on 9 hours in daycare...9.5 hours in daycare...10 hours in daycare, I'm a terrible Mom.
Yes, it's the never ending battle between work and home and it has been a recurring theme in my life for the past few months. For some reason, I could never effectively manage my start/stop work routine however that all changed last week.
From mid-May through the first week in June, I was on a travel extravaganza between business travel and personal vacation: Philly, Dallas, Philly, San Juan, Philly, San Diego and back again. For those three weeks, I managed to see my little kiddo for a whopping 2 days. Yep, you read correctly, 2 days. I returned to work last Monday, June 6th and after managing three weeks worth of email catch up, I wasn't able...correction - didn't make it out of the office until 5:15 at which point Roland was approaching the 10 hour mark at daycare. Enter stage right: super Mom Guilt and frustration. I was royally mad at myself. That was my tipping point...after leaving work that day, I vowed that I would try my hardest to NOT make that the norm.
So what did I do?
Well, when I got to work on Tuesday morning, I set up a recurring meeting notice every day at 4:30 with a reminder at 4:15. My goal was to leave every day at 4:15 when the reminder popped up however if I had to wrap things up, I would leave work promptly at 4:30. This would allow me enough time to get to daycare, pick up Roland and make it home by 5:00.
I also communicated with my team, including my boss, to let them know that I would be making an effort to leave every day at 4:30. I would always be available via blackberry, if some emergency would arise. Additionally, I have the ability to log in to work from home, at night. While I don't want to make this a nightly occurrence as I'm a firm believer in work/life balance, it is an option if I need to catch up on work.
So far, it's working out quite well. Since I set up the meeting notice, I've been able to leave work at 4:30 and the guilt is out the window!