Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Living the Three Quarters Life

Yesterday, I switched to a three quarters full-time schedule for my job. I negotiated this arrangement eight months ago, but the switch depended on a new person joining the office staff and training that person to take over some of my responsibilities.

At first when I wrote out my new schedule to share with my co-workers, I felt disappointed. After all the patience and bureaucratic legwork it took to make the part-time switch, I realized that thirty hours is not dramatically different than forty hours. I will still go to work five days per week and during most of the daylight hours I will be sitting at a desk staring at a computer screen. Instead of starting work at eight, I am to start at ten the first three days of the week. Thursdays, I will leave at one so I can take a course towards my doctoral degree. Fridays, I will work a full day.

But those two hours yesterday morning were precious and wonderful. I left the house when I normally would in the morning, but instead of going to my office I wrote in the library. The whole day I felt more cheerful and energetic. My work and family life felt more balanced. It is not that I spent more time with MaGreen and BabyG, but when I got home, instead of crashing on the couch and slogging through the evening, we all went to the university outdoor swimming pool. BabyG seemed to enjoy the pool. She climbed up the small slide and slid down it about twenty times in a row. Even though the absolute quantity of time I spent with my family did not change, I think the quality of the time was better.

In order to arrange this three-quarter schedule, I had to give up a quarter of my pay, which was used to cover part of the new staff person’s salary. We could not be able to pull this off oeconomically if MaGreen did not manage our finances as carefully as she does. She keeps track of our expenses using a computer program Quicken. She spent several days earlier this summer switching us to an internet bank, turning off our landline, setting up a good Skype account, and doing various other things to save us money. Also, even though my total income will decrease, our taxes will be lower so the cut in my take home pay is less than the total cut in my gross pay.

I hope I continue to feel good about the three quarters life and that it also helps MaGreen and BabyG feel a good balance in their lives too.


Anonymous said...

testing testing 123

Henitsirk said...

Being a relaxed and joyous parent is worth it!

Gift of Green said...

I agree. I have two mornings a week "off" because I only work 36 hours and I work some evenings. I do not keep my kids at home during these off hours - they still go to childcare...but guess what I do...grocery shop, bank, Target, and yes, some me activities such as writing at the coffee shop or spending some time in the grown-up section of the public library. As a result, dinners are more apt to be planned out, the dryer is not running at 11:00 at night and I am just a more relaxed person.