As most of you know, Neil and I both work outside the home in addition to being fulltime parents to little Pete. The decision for me to go back to work was motivated both by finances (student loans for the win!) and the fact that I love my job – and I love working with my husband. With both of us away from home during the day, we have had to find a new rhythm by which to live our lives. And it hasn’t always been easy. We’ve learned some things in the past five months that have made it work as well as possible.
1. We know what our time is worth.
They say time is money, but for our family, time is more valuable than that. We pay more to live closer to our office so that we can have more time before and after work to be together as a family. We say no to invitations (or free Rockets tickets) if they would mean one less evening with our little guy. We know it’s important to “have fun”, but in this season of life, we want to prioritize time at home.
2. We look for new efficiencies every day.
Efficiency is my love language. Thankfully, Neil speaks it, too. We’ve found lots of ways to cut corners to make life a little more manageable. We share the responsibility for household chores like cooking, cleaning bottles, doing laundry and making baby food. We divide and conquer when we have to. And we keep our eyes open for new ways to cut corners.
3. We prioritize prayer.
We’ve always said that our relationship with God is the biggest priority in our family because everything else comes from that. Peter won’t get our best if we don’t give our best to God. So we pray together every day, rain or shine.
4. We stay flexible.
Neil always reminds me that what works now, may not be what we do forever. We’ve found what works in our current season of life and keep our minds and hearts open to whatever changes need to happen along the way.
5. We stand up for other parents.
It’s really easy to compare our situation to that of the other family’s in our lives – or online. But we believe (within reason) that there is no right way to parent. Every family, couple, child and situation is different. What’s important is to find what works best for your family and work hard at that. So we try to support and encourage stay-at-home moms (and dads), and parents who work part-time, full-time and everything in between. We also strive to promote better treatment and opportunities for parents everywhere (i.e. paid leave for everyone, affordable childcare).
6. We support each other – because not everyone will.
Not everyone agrees with how we live our life. Some people think I should be at home fulltime. Some think Peter shouldn’t be in daycare. Others think Neil shouldn’t have to do housework when he gets home from work. While we are happy to listen to other people’s advice, at the end of the day, after prayer and thoughtful discussion, we are confident we’re living the best life for our family right now. And we support each other in that.
While we’ve learned all these things, we’re still trying to find that new balance. But we still show up to work a *bit* late most days. We still struggle to support each other in a way that makes the other feel valued and supported. We know we will make mistakes now and in the future. But we’re in this together. And that’s what matters.