I am a lucky mama, in that I happen to work at a job I love. I love my chosen career, I love the people I work with, and I love that I work in Bangor. My work/life balance is really not so bad — my home, my job, my husband’s job, and our daycare are all within a 2 mile radius. My ‘commute’ is a quick shot up Valley Ave, where I watch the seasons change over the Kenduskeag, where I have seen wildlife like deer, turkeys, foxes — in the city! — and I see kayakers and ice climbers and cyclists and runners, people enjoying that little stretch of road and stream and gravel path.  If there is a daycare sick call, my husband or I can get the girl in need in minutes, and have them home and tucked into bed (or, if necessary, at the ped’s office or walk-in care) in minutes, generally less than ten. It’s one of the reasons I love living in Bangor (and right now with gas at 3.89/gallon, it’s nice to not have to burn as much if we lived in the bedroom communities.)

But even in Bangor, there can be wobbles when it comes to one’s work/life balance. In trying to find out when the big girl’s Kindergarten (!) orientation is, I’ve called a few times, and just today, as I feared, it looks like her orientation will be on the same day as a conference I need to attend at UMaine. The date is not set, so I am crossing my fingers that they don’t finalize for that day, but if they do, I’ve already planned the day — I’ll go to my conference, miss a session to meet the big girl and my husband at the school, and as soon as it’s over, race back for the rest of the conference.  After I worked that out in my head, I attended a lecture at my employer, and several of us were in the back row, and someone asked why — and it turned out it was because we were all on daycare pickup duty, and the lecture was going to bump into that. Before it was over, the back row (me included) had to duck out, because we needed to fetch our kids.

On the flip side, my post-daycare pickup destination was the Breastfeeding Support Group at Central Street Farmhouse. This has been a great place to talk with other moms, many of them also working moms, which isn’t always easy. There are so many activities structured around the concept of the stay at home mom, but working moms have to, you know, work. Having this meeting scheduled to meet the needs of those of us that work (it’s Tuesdays, 5-7 pm — join us!) has been great. We discuss the logistics of pumping, nursing, daycare…. if you are a working, nursing mom, you should check it out.

And I do have pretty good balance, and a great husband who is a partner in this parenting thing, and not just being dragged along. When the sick kid call comes, we are comparing our schedules to see who is most easily able to take the day with the kid, and daycare is just as likely to call him with any concerns as they are to call me. He does drop off while I do pick up, and again, living in town and so close to everything means that, generally, our whole family is together again by 5:15. That’s pretty nice.

How is your work/life balance?

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