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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Balancing work and "dance mom" duties


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danceintheblood

This is the eternal question isn't it? Unfortunately, although many families now have two parents in the workforce rather than a sole breadwinner, work practices have not adapted to keep up with the changes. I have to say, I struggle with maintaining balance and can often be found fast asleep on the couch by about 9pm, utterly exhausted!

 

For the past 10 years I have worked in jobs which started at 6am - 7am, so I would be finished by the time school was out to run dd and our other kids around to their activities. The early starts were really getting to me (due to old age :thumbsup: ) and with a promotion this year I moved to regular 9 - 5. I start early two days a week so I can leave early to get dd to ballet. Fortunately the studio is not far from home, so after she's dropped off I run home to cook dinner. I also play a competitive sport (just made selection for our state team - yay!!) and play up to three times a week. I'm secretary for a non-profit sporting body and am on the school fund-raising committee. I also try to find time to assist in sewing costumes for end of year performances and am often pressured into assisting sew costumes for school performances. We also have to give community hours to the school each year. God - I'm feeling tired just writing it down on paper! :shrug: My husband is wonderful and often takes on the weekend ballet and house cleaning duties, but can't cook to save his life! He also has very little flexibility during the week with his own working hours.

 

Isn't there a saying, "if you want something done, ask a busy person"? I am seriously considering a career change and would love to drop to six hours a day, as I'm sick of being constantly tired. Unfortunately, this is unlikely as we need to earn the money to pay for the ballet and school fees - so a bit of a Catch 22. I find it difficult to give up contributing to the voluntary work I do, as I feel it is really important to contribute to your community and it is often a struggle to get people prepared to put in their time. I'm also trying to finish a hand sewn quilt which is a wedding present and a tapestry, also for a gift.

 

Please, please - if someone has the answers on how to balance life - let me in on the secret!!

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  • vagansmom

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I think the balance, in a mom's life, happens over a lifetime. We start out as children not having to do anything but be ourselves and we end up that way as elderly people. But we make up for it in the middle of our lives while we're raising our kids, don't we? :thumbsup::shrug:

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l2daisygirl

Just returned from my third job this week for a total of 62 hours. What I do is not hard labor, but is painstaking at times, and definately mentally exhausting. I think my problem is saying "yes" too much. Perhaps an occasional "no" would stop the insanity. I must say, the old adage "The more you make, the more you spend!", sure does come to mind at times!!

 

(Best kept "secret" is a good glass of wine!)

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I'm fortunate that I work in a position at my company where I work +30 hrs a week and still get benefits. (My company requires that people work at least 30 hrs to qualify for 401K, medical, dental, etc.) Because of my schedule, most times I'm able to set my schedule around my kids' school schedule, afterschool activities (including ballet), and work some of the hours at home. (I work at a software company where many of my projects do not require me to be in the office.)

 

However, I didn't start out part-time --- I was initially hired into a full-time position and after about 3 years I managed to work my way into the work schedule I have now. Most companies I know will not hire part-time people, esp. in the high-tech or other white collar industries. But, as with any new hire, you begin to develop a reputation of being dependable and a hard worker, and eventually, it's possible to convert to part-time --- though it depends on your manager, company culture, and other factors.

 

But I also have learned to give up keeping a perfect house and other details that are lower in priority for me. Also, carpooling has been a big help for school, ballet, and other activities.

 

But I realize that my situation among working moms may be rare. That is, for most women the choice is to either work full-time or not at all. But, I feel that, at least for me, working part-time has been ideal.

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bumping to share!

 

In case you haven't heard of a meal prep center, it's a business where you go and they have already prepared the ingredients for a number of meals for you.  You go in with a buddy and assemble the meals (in little mini kitchens) and put them in a cooler to take home and freeze.  The plan we did was 12 "meals, meaning entrees"  for 4-6 people.  It took us 2 hours start to finish and no kitchen clean up.

 

Even if we don't continue to frequent this place, I'm thinking I might draft some friends into a group effort monthly out of someone's home.

 

vj

 

This sounds like a spin off of "Once a month cooking". If you're interrested in doing this with friends here's the book that I think spurred this method. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/080...2400960-3189665

 

There are now plenty of websites and books that have to do with OAMC. Just do a search with that acronym and you'll have a huge amount of recipies and ideas.

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2thepointe

I actually demoted myself from my senior management position to allow for more balance between work and family life and now work as a consultant. This allows more flexibility with work hours so I can juggle all of the dance activities and get my work done at the same time. Since our studio is 25 miles from home, I also set up a carpool system with 2 other girls who dance at the studio. The other parents also appreciated whatever rides we could provide for each other even if it was only one ride a week. Every little bit helps when it is 50 miles round-trip!

 

This Fall dd enters high school, and the studio schedule has placed almost all of her desired classes right after school, so it's back to the drawing board to figure this one out and still work a 40-hr week! I may need to arrange for a car service to drive her one way. Who knows how much that would cost!

 

2thepointe

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danceintheblood
(Best kept "secret" is a good glass of wine!)

 

Thanks 12daisygirl - I had come across this one before, but must have misheard - I thought it was a good bottle of wine. Possibly I'm living my life hungover rather than exhausted! :wub:

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l2daisygirl

(can't tell you ALL my secrets...then I'd have to kill you!!!)

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I have to admit I never did figure this one out! :wink: But, we made it through eleven years by taking it one day at a time, though it added a few grey hairs and wrinkles to go along with a ton of good memories. Now, my daughter drives herself, and gets home just in time every evening to help me out with the last few details of dinner. :D As vagansmom said earlier, there is light at the end of the tunnel! :shhh:

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Changing jobs to work out of my home was the answer. Actually, it was pure luck. I was in a job that I hated, had to comute over an hour each way and had no way of getting dd to dance except on certain days.

My husbands boss was looking for a project manager and said it would be great if I could work out of my home since he works out of his and would not have to spend the money on an office. This would allow me to be home with dd AND he could pay me more!!! It was an answer to my prayers. I now have the freedom to do what I need to do and can work whenever I want. I generally get 8 hours in a day, but not all at once. My bosses viewpoint is: as long as it gets done.

I have to admit, it can get crazy at times but working at home has been a great stress reliever!

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danceintheblood

Hi redstorm - I would love that! I'm actually aiming to facilitate conferences on positive management, but that's going to be a few years dwon the track.

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I must admit that I am lucky enough to work for a wonderful doctor and he is often very flexible for family. Another secretary can always take over the last hour or so with patients if I have to leave. I do work hard and I know it is appreciated because of the flexibility I get. My doctor often askes me if it's ballet night....he remembers that before his own appointments!! Well, hopefully everything will work out ok if my DD's studio makes her class earlier. God bless you all!!!!!

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The best lesson I've had as a working mom with a husband, dancing daughter and sports son, was to get over the guilt of not being June Cleaver. I realized that we are basically a healthy family unit with healthy interpersonal family dynamics who do things a little differently.

 

My house is rarely clean but then we are rarely home. I attended a home organizational workshop many years ago before I had kids. The speaker recommended that floors not be mopped unless one sticks to them and that the top of the refrigerator should only be cleaned by the one who can actually see the top of the refrigerator. I've come to appreciate that line of thinking.

 

I work for a school district, so my work hours are very close to my children's school schedule even though they attend school in a different school district. My supervisor allows me flexibility with my schedule, so I leave early on my driving days. I work 110 miles from where my dd takes class (which is 80 miles from my home).

 

My husband helps with driving when he can and he is a great chef and does more than his share around the house. We don't look at gas prices any more and we do zig and zag across country to get kids to dance and sports. We've found that great conversations take place in the car.

 

We've realized that it's ok occasionally for dd to miss dance to see one of her brother's games and he attends her ballet performances.

 

Crock Pots, Jason's Deli and Central Markets have become our good friends. Coupons help a little and it's therapeutic to be cutting them with scissors on those really, really hectic days.

 

A good book, hot tea...no wait...good wine...ah.

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Momof3darlings

June who?

 

I attended a home organizational workshop

 

Babs, there is help for me and our finances yet! I'm laughing my head off thinking of them. If I can run workshops like this with tips I didn't know people would be willing to pay for, I can make a small mint. It would only take looking at everything wrong with my own house and finding cleaver ways to justify it. Hmmmmm, a business in the making:

 

--Let's see, don't vacuum the floors until the dust bunnies can plug the vacuum in themselves.

--A window shouldn't be washed unless the woodpeckers try to peck it.

--It is perfectly ok for the back of the sofa to be a clean clothes resting place.

--If the dust doesn't blow back at you, then there isn't enough to dust yet.

--under the appliances should only be cleaned when the repairman comes to repair and has it pulled out for you anyway.

 

Oh, I can do this!

 

vj

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danceintheblood

My best household tip is having lots and lots of cupboards. My philospohy is - if you can't see it, it doesn't exist.

 

Home organisational workshops - I'm in! See, already we have an international company - we'll make millions I tell you, millions!!

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