Balancing work and family – Oh PSHAW!

Okay, I just had to use that #oldschool word Pshaw! In fact, I love it! Somehow I’m sure that word has since been translated into our 21st century phrase “Yeah, right!”

I’ve been trying to balance work and family for years now.  I think one of the hardest times of trying to do that was when I was working 40+ hours a week for GTE-Mobilnet in Houston in my early twenties. I had also started подберите квартиры в Cанкт-Петербурге от застройщика and traveling on weekends beginning my professional singing career with my then husband. At the same time, within months, found out I was expecting my daughter. Talk about needing some kind of balance!

The next year and a half was horrific. In fact, looking back on the whole thing makes me stop and say, “How in the heck did I manage that?”

Here’s how it went down

I would wake up in the morning vomiting from morning sickness only to go have a bowl of cereal (I couldn’t tolerate any hot foods nor the smell of it) and then my ex would drive me to work (only about a ten minute drive). I would have to pull over on the way to work to puke my cereal cause I couldn’t hold anything down. I would get to work and need something in my stomach so I’d head down to the first floor cafe and get something to eat only to go back up and run to the ladies room to you know, puke it up. This happened day in and day out, all day, all night. Exhausting!

Add to that working 40+ hours in the corporate world and no break on the weekends because at 5:00 PM on Fridays I would head out to go to a singing gig – either somewhere back around Alabama, Mississippi or Louisiana and then on to the next singing gig and so on, and so on…..only to arrive back in Houston at home – yeah, in time to go back to work on Monday morning. I remember stopping on the side of the interstates being down on my knees vomiting while cars flew past me. And I won’t even mention the smelly, disgusting bathrooms in Louisiana.

I wound up having to be admitted to the hospital several times during my pregnancy from being dehydrated. The only cool thing? I didn’t gain weight.

Somewhere around the eighth month the sickness started to lesson and by then I could not wait to have that precious little girl. I continued going into false labor and my hospital was downtown Houston (I lived in the far north suburbs – about an hours drive) and they would send me home saying it’s not yet time (BUMMER). I found out the reason for the false labor was because when I would sing, and air would push down on my diaphragm it would then cause me to go into false labor. And could not be avoided. The final time I yelled, “I’m not leaving this hospital until I have this baby!!”

Nevertheless, I simply had to ride it out. I had to make the best of it.

The Dreaded Call

While on maternity leave I received a call from the C-Suite (my boss included) on speaker phone that I could return back to work, but I could not return as Executive Assistant to the General Manager. Instead, I was being allowed to come back as a Customer Service Rep. I couldn’t believe it! I had stuck it out – through the most horrendous time and dealing with all the physical hardships that went with it, and still mistreated and demoted.

I seriously had to stop and think, “Do I want to do this? Am I too proud to go back? Will I have to walk in there with my tail between my legs?” ….. Of course they weren’t taking away my salary – but for the first time I felt replaceable.

I decided I would go in there and act as if it didn’t bother me at all. I was determined not to let them get the best of me and just roll with it. It wasn’t easy, but as it turns out – was the best thing for me. My previous position was so stressful and I was always having to put out fires. I was constantly taking that @#$% home with me and it affected my relationships, family time, and my health.

I remained in that position for about five more months, just long enough for my new daughter to continue getting insurance and care – and long enough for me and my ex to get our act together where we could start traveling and singing full-time. I went on to travel ten years singing while able to travel with my family, while homeschooling my daughter and making bookoodles of cash – doing something I never thought I would be able to do!

It all worked out – and I learned a little humility in the process. However, it did make me wonder if it had anything to do with me dressing up as a pregnant nun on Halloween, at eight months (the VP of GTE-Mobilnet was Catholic) HA HA!

Sometimes we have no control over our work situations and even the things that come along in life – but we do have control over our responses to them. I know, that sounds cliché and dumb. But there is something to be said for how we allow it to affect our family relationships and to look at them instead as opportunities of growth.

I’m a firm believer – it all works out in the end!

Leave a comment Posted in Balance in the workplace, work/life flex Tagged , Balancing work and life, Flexible working arrangements, , ILSHRM, managing work and children, managing work and life, , susan avello, Work Flex, work life balance, Work life balance myths, work life flex, Working mothers, working women