I know I often whinge about work with the best of them, but since I have come back from holidays I am so loving it. For those that don't know, I am self employed in my dietitian business and work from offices that I lease in Glenferrie Rd Hawthorn. It was a big decision to lease my own offices, but I absolutely knew I wanted the flexibility of being able to choose my work days and hours. The last few years have been hard work and often financial strain, but its coming together beautifully now and I feel really good about where things are at.
Before we went on holidays, I had been working too much, and was often (make that always) up late at night (after I had gone to the office to see clients when Paul came home - he would come in the door and would go out) doing bookwork or taking care of the huge amount of paperwork and everything else that comes along with employing staff (even though I had amazing staff, you still have to do everything required of an employer). That would have been fine if I didn't have a young family, a life and a serious scrapbooking addiction. I also felt like such a hypocrite - spending my working hours telling other people to look after their physical, spiritual and emotional health, then running myself into the ground (very common among the caring profession!). While I was on holidays I could see things much clearer and decided to make some changes to get the balance back again. Some of them were really hard changes - deciding to revert to working entirely by myself again, which meant breaking news to casual staff that they didn't want to be hearing. I also had to ask for help with regular babysitting because I made the decision I wanted to work during the day like a normal human being. I also had to stand firm with my values about the importance of life balance for me and my family, when many of my professional colleagues were working day, night and every hour in between - would I be left behind? - would I lose business? - would I be less respected in the profession? I took the plunge anyway and I changed to working most Saturdays and every second Wednesday and I get to go to work at normal times. Paul looks after the boys Saturdays, and his Mum and Paul take turns looking after Samuel on Wednesdays. Because it's not that often, they tell me they both look forward to these times with him. I have also found two really great colleagues (one a psychologist and one a dietitian) to share the rental on my property, which has the benefit of having some peer support as well, which I really enjoy.
Everyone has been a winner with these changes. The boys are happier cos I am less stressed and we have more time to just hang and have fun. Paul's happier because we get to spend time together at night and to share the night time routines with the boys - occasionally if he's lucky he even comes home to tea cooked! Of course I'm happier too. I feel I have more head space and time to just chill and I am looking after myself much better. Business is booming too - I think that's a direct result of the relaxed and friendly approach i have with clients because I am not working ridiculous hours. I spend lots of time with clients and a lady nearly fell over today when I offered her a cup of tea with her consultation. This approach is so important with the type of clients I work with. I specialise in women's health and I see many women with PCOS, women who are trying to get pregnant (with and without IVF), women with long term weight issues, eating disorders, breast cancer etc. I spend as much time offering emotional support as I do prescribing and educating about dietary changes. I can't do that well unless I am feeling on top of things myself.
So I guess the moral of the story is that I think it's actually easier and more comfortable to stay in the status quo and keep on doing what you've always done, even though it's not working for you. It takes guts to make changes, and I am proud of myself. Superwoman is so overrated.