Modern Work Conditions for Professional Parents

This article from Fast Company - The Post-Bedtime Ritual of Successful Working Parents - really resonates with me.


Just take a look at the photo above.  While author Laura Vanderkam has a post-bedtime work ritual, I focus on the early mornings.  Everyday, between 5 and 7am, I knock-out some sort of piece - for Mommy Minute, DayTrippers or Hartford Magazine - before the boys wake-up.

I get a coffee, snuggle up to our puppy, Lucy, and write, propped-up on pillows, laptop in lap.  I am fresh...I have ideas and energy.  I enjoy it and I get a ton done.  This way, I'm ready for the sometimes unpredictable days we parents face.  Read Vanderkam's observations of working moms she studied:

They worked, on average, 44 hours per week, despite the presence of dentist appointments, preschool volunteer shifts, and the like. About 45% made this work by doing a split shift like mine. In some extreme cases, I saw women leaving work around 3:30 p.m. to get their kids at school, and then scheduling conference calls (often with people in other time zones) from 8-10:30 p.m. They weren’t just catching up on email. They had literally moved the latter chunk of their workdays to the night.

When I talk about my pre-dawn assignments, friends sometimes say, "Oh, how awful  Aren't you exhausted?  I could never do that!  I need my downtime"  Vanderkam recognizes this view, as well:

Some people were also just philosophically opposed, which I understand. There’s a certain simplicity when work is work and home is home, and never the twain shall meet. Split shifts cut into leisure time and, if you’re not careful, sleep. Since I usually work from 8:30-10:30 p.m., and I rarely watch TV. I’m fine with that tradeoff, but not everyone is.

Fair enough.  We're all different.  For me, the early-bird system works, enabling me to keep all balls in the air during the epic juggle of life.  And, I'm grateful for modern beliefs and technology that make this challenging yet rewarding practice possible.

What about you?  Have you adopted any unique habits to help your work and family life co-exist peacefully?


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