Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Work/Life Unbalance

Well. Work just took over my life for a little while there. I mean took over!

For those of you familiar with software development, we were in the final stage of a major release. For those not familiar, software development tends to be cyclical, and at the end of a release cycle, things get insanely busy. That's when everything has to be tested completely, all bugs fixed and retested, all the help completed, all the code finalized and packaged and ready to be deployed. It's hectic. Some releases more than others. This one was a crazy one.

I almost sent out an SOS for chocolate and more software testers! (I wonder what SOS is in binary...)

Before kids, the craziness of the final phases of the release and release weekends was not as big a deal. Sure, I'd miss Londo when I'd work really long hours. Yes, I had to drop activities and housework. Of course I missed snuggling with my dog and cat. But it doesn't last long, and I can make up my time with everything else after the release goes out.

Since having kids, this time period of the software development life cycle is really difficult. Londo has to take on all the things I let go, from housework to dropping off kids. For a few days in a row, I had really long days in the office, barely seeing the kids in the morning and getting home after the kids were in bed. I wasn't able to keep up with the dishes or laundry or cleaning the kitty litter boxes. It was just crazy.

As hard as this can be on Londo, it's even harder on the kids. The Pumpkin handles it okay. She acts out a little for Londo, and she's still adjusting going back to school. I think the area where I see it the most is her interactions with me. I'm having trouble explaining exactly what it is, and maybe it'd be going on anyway, but I feel like I'm getting a LOT of boundary pushing from her. What I really dropped the ball on though is the school stuff and her activities. I missed a deadline to sign her up for an activity I know she wants to take, but I talked with the teacher and they can let her in. Whew.

The Pookie, who is a total mama's boy, has really been missing me. I knew that he was fussy at home with Londo. And in the mornings when I would see him, he was totally clingy to me, not even eating breakfast unless he was in my lap. But I talked to two of his teachers (one yesterday afternoon when I picked him up and the other this morning when I dropped him off), and they both immediately said that he'd been really clingy at school. They wanted to make sure everything was okay. When I explained that I hadn't been able to be around much because of work, they both said that made sense and explained why he was so clingy. I assured them that the busy period was over and told them about how we spent all weekend together*. They both said that he'd been a lot better yesterday and that explained that also.

I truly believe in having a balanced work/life balance. But sometimes things don't work out in an even or fair way. Sometimes, work takes over. Or when I was out with knee surgery, life takes over. It's not just for my sanity that I can't be a workaholic and work crazy hours like that regularly at this point in my life. My kids need me to be Mom, too.

And now, I can get back to my normal balancing act, with a few fun things thrown in for me, too. Like blogging.


Burgh Baby said...

I quit doing ERP deployments about two years ago, so I totally feel your pain. In some ways I miss that hectic and insane go-live phase, and in other ways NO WAY IN HELL. The balance thing just isn't possible.

Anandi said...

I kept checking to see if you had come back ;)

And I used to also work on ERP deployments, and now work for a software company, but not directly on a product. So I don't have that schedule craziness anymore.

But yes, on my busy days, it's rough to either not see my babe at all, or just see her for a few minutes while I'm dashing out the door to work. Sigh.

Cloud said...

What you need to do is get on projects with small companies. You get the buzz of the release without the prolonged insanity. My last release, the insane phase lasted exactly two days, and the "a little extra work on the weekends, but it can be from home" phase lasted just a few weeks.

Things were definitely more hectic when I worked for big companies!

Claudia said...

I don't have hectic periods, but I did just take on some classes that I have to teach in afternoon/evening hours. It's only twice a week, and my employer knows that I won't take more than that, but it's still a weird adjustment (mostly for me) to not see my daughter at all after I drop her off in the morning. Of course I go in and kiss her when I get home, but she's sawing logs.
I check with her occasionally if she thinks it's ok that she's just with her dad on those nights, and I'm at work. Her answer tells me that it's ok, she accepts the circumstances, but it is odd, if not a small bummer. I know she's going to be fine, I know we spend other times of the week together in much greater quantities, but mostly I know that it's life and I won't make it worse by feeling bad about it. That is probably a bigger indicator to your kid that this isn't ok. If I may armchair analyze :P

Welcome back!

mom2boy said...

I just added a new part-time job to my schedule and it was a little shocking to me this first week how thrown off everything was by today. When work or something unexpected takes over more hours, things do get hectic. At least it is temporary. I know I will never be able to handle a job that requires extended days and constant take-home work.