You know me. I'm a mother of four with a husband in the final throes of a Ph.D. I work at the nonprofit equivalent of a startup company. It makes life stressful sometimes. Pressure from all sides, for sure.
I am excited to say, though, that instead of waiting for life to get easier I have actually done something.
I requested a pay cut in return for some free time.
I'm cutting my work hours to 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. and taking a corresponding cut in pay. This will work ok because Dr. G.-to-be gets paid full time in the summer. I keep my benefits at the current level, and I continue to accrue vacation and sick leave at my current rate. My boss gets to trim her budget a bit (important for her right now) and I get basically a totally sweet deal.
I'm doing this at a time when I generally get to determine my own workload anyway. I have one big, exciting multimedia-type project to work on this summer, and that will be the main thrust of my 30 hours. The rest of the time, I fill in with little stuff like I normally do. And whatever I get done will be cool, and whatever I don't will go to the bargain-basement but quite-good freelancers my colleague and office mate was smart enough to find.
See how great this is?
I've read pundits who believe that this is the kind of flexibility that allows moms to continue in satisfying careers while their children are young. I am so happy and grateful that my employer is allowing it. I totally believe it should be more widely available. It is going to make a huge difference for us while the kids are out of school for the summer and G finishes up his dissertation.
This arrangement starts Monday. I am so excited. The prospect of two hours each day where I can either pick up my kids and hang with them - because I WANT to - or leave them where they are and get a haircut or go work out or do the grocery shopping ... well, it's what every real woman wants - to have it all, in manageable doses. Forget glamorous shoes and bags a la Sex and the City. We want time. We want fulfillment. We want freedom. We want life. That's what I say.