Finding Balance

I am searching to find a new balance.

Not too long ago I took the plunge and went back to work. I am now working for myself, and enjoying the benefits of working from home.

As many of you know, I have struggled immensely to figure out my career in the last year as I went from working an insane amount of hours to not working at all after our fourth loss. I’ve struggled to find the balance that works for me. And recently, in part because of our adoption costs and my desire, I decided that it was time for me to start working a bit more.

So now that I’m working again everyone keeps reminding me, I cannot burn myself out again, just like I did before. (That said, I do believe working through multiple high risk pregnancies and subsequent miscarriages was a large part of my ultimate demise at my old position).

And, of course everyone also keeps asking, how is this going to work once I have a baby?

I’m trying really hard to focus on the good things about working for myself:

  • I am working for myself. No more unsupportive bosses who take advantage of my inability to say no.
  • I can say no to projects if I want to – this is something I will struggle to do, because as the old saying goes it’s “feast or famine”. But, I can say no, and I just have to remember to.
  • My income will make our outrageous adoption costs more bearable. Honestly, this is huge deal. We believe our adoption cost are going to raise at least one more time before this is all said and done and we need the money.
  • I cannot put my life on hold while we wait for our adoption to occur. I must live, and this includes working.
  • I set my own hours. With the exception of some phone calls and meetings that will occur during business hours I can literally work whenever I want – this means I will have more flexibility to work around our child’s schedule.
  • I get to work from home. I spend the large majority of my days in the comfort of my own home, and even in comfy pants! That said, I do have a rule about showering – it still has to happen. Every day. Because otherwise that’s just gross.

While I want to focus on the good stuff, I realize I also need to acknowledge the risks associated with my type A personality and working again:

  • I have an inability to say no, so there is potential that I may end up with too much work. If I take on too much, I will burn out. I do not want to work 60+ hours a week. Heck, I do not want to work 40 hours a week.
  • I most definitely do not want to spend my life on the road, some minimal travel is okay, but this line cannot be crossed and I am solely responsible to respect the line I’ve drawn in the sand.
  • I want to be there raise our child. It’s now unlikely that I will even get a few months of work free child time now – I cannot take a few months off when I’m the only person doing the work. I am not eligible for Canada’s 35 week paternity leave granted to adoptive parents. I do not want a full time nanny or day-care. We are okay with having one or two days a week of child care, but that’s it so I need to develop a strategy to reduce my work to fit within a few days a week once we are placed.
  • I realize the importance of balance, and I plan to continue to exercise, eat healthy and make a point to enjoy life and the simple happy moments.  Work cannot push out other things in my life.
  • I am afraid of failing. This fear is not going anywhere, but I am not willing to let it paralyze me.   I will do my best.

So, while I know the risks are there, and I know that I need to be cognisant of them, for now I am choosing to focus on the benefits and all the exciting stuff that goes along with working for myself.

If you like this post, please feel free to share and please click the follow button on the side or return to myperfectbreakdown.com to follow my journey.

40 Comments on “Finding Balance

  1. I’m so glad you are going back to work! I personally find work a very good thing to put my mind off of things and to enjoy something that I’m good at (although a bit of a bummer with all the over-excited preggo’ in the office, but that’s life). Good luck!

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    • Thanks! I think working will help me pass the time productively and it will really help with all the adoption bills that we are facing in the next few months so that’s a real bonus!
      And since I am working from home, thankfully I have no over-excited pregnant women to see everyday, I hadn’t even thought of that bonus! Sorry you are stuck dealing with that constantly.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s wonderful that you can work from home and it’s teaching you that you CAN say ‘no’ when you need to. I have a serious problem with this at work, and it results in me doing the work of 3 different people, because I just feel like I can’t say ‘no’. It SUCKS. I need to take a page from your book and learn to set those healthy boundaries.

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    • The big question is whether or not I will actually use my ability to say “no” – I’ve never been good at it so only time will tell with I can actually enforce the healthy boundaries.
      Maybe we should both start practicing to say no? 🙂

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  3. Congratulations on making the decision to go back to work! It’s great that you’re thinking about setting limits and making sure the work is healthy for you and your family. Looking forward to hearing about how it goes when you get started again!

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    • Thank you so much for your encouragement! If yesterday is any indication I am not doing so great at enforcing the boundaries – 8 hour daytime meeting then an evening conference call. But, so far today I’ve been blogging and chatting with a painter in our basement, so I guess it’s a bit of a balancing act. 🙂

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  4. I think it is great that you are working simply because it helps pass the time and distract. Such a total bummer about maternity leave. Anyway you can let your clients know as you get closer to baby coming home? I would like to think that people would understand the importance of a little time off even if only a month. I know that literally the last thing I wanted to do those first few weeks was take a work call. Glad you are planning ahead!

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    • It is a bummer about the maternity leave, but we decided when I quite my real job last year that we just wouldn’t have maternity leave if we ever had a kid, so we’re kind of over that now.
      And honestly, I think after a month or so I’ll be able to do a bit of work around the baby’s schedule (I’m optimistic that not going through the physical labor and having Mr. MPB who wants to actively parent will help me be able to work a bit).
      And as you suggest, I’ve actually told every single person I’m working with about our adoption and the unknown timeline and that I expect to be out of the country for 2-3 weeks whenever it happens and possibly without notice. I decided I really needed to be upfront about it so there will be no surprises when it happens and I wont feel guilty about it. So far, everyone has been really supportive. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It will be interesting to see if your ideas on work after baby change. I never thought I’d stay home, and here I am. There are many days I wish I was still working! 😉

    You’ve got a good plan in place!

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    • Ha! I think you are onto something with this comment. I never thought I’d even be able to take a full year off with our child (Canada gets a year maternity/paternity leave), and somehow I was able to take a full year off without kids! And I already know I don’t want to leave our child(ren) with a sitter every day, so I can already imagine wanting to be a full-time stay at home mom! It will be interesting to see what happens. 🙂

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  6. I struggle a lot with not taking-on so much and avoiding burn-out. I think it’s great that the circumstances of you working again are different, so you have the power to make your work what you want it to be! I would love to be able to work from home. Though I think that a lot of people who work from home also struggle to define boundaries to maintain their work-life balance. So that’s something you can practice now that you’re home, and establish something before baby is here. Oh I’m so excited for you… Just thinking that you are “this close” now, to your take-home baby!!!!!! Hugs to you and Mr. MPB!

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    • I think you and I are a lot alike when it comes to working and burn-out! Sadly.
      I think you make a great point about struggling with defined boundaries while working at home. I bug Mr. MPB often when he goes back into the office at night to work. And funny enough, he wasn’t impressed with me last week one evening when I got up from watching TV in the living room and vanished into the office because something popped into my mind. Ops. Clearly we both need to practice boundaries a little bit more. 🙂
      Thank you so much for your excitement. It’s nice to be able to actually think about how close we are to our family today then we were at the same time last year!
      How are you doing today?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, we are much alike 🙂 DW is a workaholic, which makes me crazy sometimes, and also pulls me towards that side of things as well. I’m trying to train her out of working all hours of the evening too.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m glad that you found work again, and I hope it’s something that you’re happy doing. I know it was such a struggle for you to figure out what you wanted to do. Maybe after the adoption is complete, you can try to do a good amount of the work after the baby is asleep, or after Mr.MPB gets home so that he can take over baby duty? Just a thought. I’m sure that whatever happens, you’ll make it work perfectly. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s what we are already thinking! Mr. MPB is a night owl and I’m a morning person, so we figure I’ll get a few solid hours of sleep earlier in the night and he’ll get his sleep later in the night. And, Mr. MPB also works from home so we can trade off as needed – he work a lot more then I do, but at least when I need to do something work related he can pretty easily shift his day to give me a few hours. At least we hope that by being flexible and working together we can balance it all out when we actually have a child. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Good for you! I had a chuckle at the “showering” part as that is now sacred for me at home with a newborn. I can totally see how some just can’t get it in, but we find a way to make sure it happens here! You’ll do great, and don’t forget to just roll those shoulders back and take a deep breath once in a while! XOXO

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    • I’ve heard lots of people tell me showering becomes a challenge when you have a newborn. I’m so hoping I can find a way to get showers, even if it’s just a super quick in and out kind of thing. I always feel refreshed after a shower. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Learning how to say no when working for yourself is a skill worth aquiring. It took me awhile! Last year I had a client who I qaa doing a bunch of stuff for that I hated and after awhile remembered that I work for myself so I get to decide. As the end of the year drew to a close a just laid it all out for her and she was actually really good. If I wanted to do work I hated I could go back and work for someone else. So I had to honour the path I’d chosen if that makes sense. The only person in charge of my happiness in that scenario is me! Good luck finding the right balance.

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    • I love that you were able to honour yourself and actually chose to say no to put yourself first! I really hope I am able to do the same should I ever need to. Because as you say so correctly, the only person in charge of my happiness in my self-employment is me! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. That’s one tricky bit of juggling you’ve got before you. I’m confident you can do it though I know very well it won’t be easy. Since Mr. MPB is also self employed does he qualify for any leave? I don’t know the EI rules well, just asking. Might be worth a call to Service Canada unless this kind of question can be found on its website? Either way I’m cheering you on, sister!

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    • Nope, neither of us are entitled to any leave of any sort. But truthfully, it’s not like either of us could take it if we were because we couldn’t just stop working for our clients and expect them to wait for us. It’ll work out, somehow. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I wish we lived closer! I’d meet you for lunch or coffee on those days when we both need to get out of the house. I had a in person client meeting this morning and got all dressed up… That was a change!

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    • Hahaha! I don’t think we can even meet half way for lunch, it just wouldn’t work.
      Today I’m working in shorts and one of Mr. MPB’s hoodies – it’s definitely a double edged sward though because it leaves little motivation to get dressed up ever! I’m already looking forward to my lunch meeting tomorrow – I need out of the house!

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      • It has definitely saved me money on maternity clothes. I like the fact that if I stay working from home my wardrobe can be more items I love and less items for variety.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I too have been happy to not spend money on a specific work wardrobe! I have a few items from my last full-time position that I can get by when I have meetings. It’s been a real bonus. 🙂

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  12. That’s so important to still be you even when you’re a mama! I still work (from home) despite having 4 kids because I love what I do. And my kids see a happy and fulfilled mama so they get that self care and following your dreams isn’t something that’s put on hold while you parent. You hit it exactly: finding balance within one’s family, though not easy, is what it takes to be both yourself and a mom. Good for you for already working on this!!

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  13. Congrats on your work decisions. I also work for myself and love it! Of course there are pluses and minuses but overall it really works for me. The part that really resonated with me is how you don’t want to put your life on hold while waiting for your adoption. This is something I’m challenged with too, especially when planning trips or really anything that’s further away than the next couple of weeks!

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  14. In my entire adult life I’ve been an employee a total of … hmmm … calculating … I think maybe five years, tops. That includes a few stints as a temp worker, It can get a little hairy when you’re the sole provider (by the time I married Himself and had someone else to worry about most of the bills, the Girl Child was 18 years old – and I raised her alone from the beginning). I want to encourage you to push through with this. It’s a WONDERFUL way to live!

    Also, you might like to follow a blog I enjoy – https://liveandworkathome.wordpress.com/. She’s a mom who decided to start working from home because she wanted to be actively involved in raising her son. She recently wrote that the time is coming that he’ll need her less, and so her time for working is increasing. So she’s a good way along the road that you’re about to start walking. You might find her site encouraging… 🙂

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  15. Being self-employed is definitely tricky. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid and you definitely have to be able to advocate for yourself in different situations. However, because of RPL, you’ve had a lot of experience with that and I think you will do just fine in keeping it balanced between working and taking care of yourself. Proud of you!

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  16. Im still finding out where the balance is between my professional life and my personal life. Having 15 minutes in the morning with my kids before I’m out the door, and then only an hour and a half when I get home from work has been really tough. Taking care of myself?! What is that!?! So really being able to find that middle ground is so important because sometimes I feel overwhelmed between work, kids, wife, self, family, friends. It’s a lot to take in, and not enough time to do it all. But it seems like you’ve already taken some steps to sort those things out before you’re in a position where you’ll get frazzled and have to think quickly. I wish I would have made myself some promises about how to handle some stuff BEFORE the babies were here, but now I’m in the thick of it, and I do the best I can.

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