Brown Deer mom offers helpful “takeaways” while traveling about town with two girls, ages 6 and 3. It’s not rocket science, just a slice of life.
Recently, I became a commuter mom. I drive an hour and a half each way to my job in Chicago. The more I talk about it, the more I realize that I'm not alone. For example, a lady told me how her husband lived in one city during the week and came home on weekends. Another couple explained that they live in the middle so the work commute, about an hour, is manageable for both. Yet another friend said he commuted by plane for months until he could find a job to join his wife in the same city. As the country celebrates Labor Day today, this is what 2013 laborer looks like.
I enjoy hearing labor stories that highlight creative work arrangements. If you're willing to think out-of-the-box, you can take advantage of career opportunities that many never explore. It lets me know that dreams are still possible. You just have to believe it can be done. Surprisingly, I've found that my commute is easier than anticipated. In fact, because I'm going non-stop against the traffic, it's actually relaxing. I often arrive at the office before co-workers snarled in Chicago's notorious traffic jams.
However, there are some drawbacks. Like there's no such thing as being a little late. One minor miscalculation or unexpected roadblock sets me back significantly. Late starts impact business and late returns affect my life. I'm still the one that makes dinner, checks homework and reads stories to the kids before bedtime. And there are also times when I tell the kids that I need their help and it's about more than teaching responsibility, I really need the help. Our babysitter is worth her weight in gold.
As a commuter who is also a contractor, I now look at employment through a non-traditional lens. It's liberating because I feel more than ever, I have a choice. I'm choosing assignments that bring out my best work. Because it takes more for me to get to work, I'm focused and productive during the day. Like a corporation that demands measurable results, I need to see a payoff that makes the travel worthwhile for my family and me.
As the country celebrates it's laborers on this holiday, I feel fortunate to have a job that I enjoy. I'm inspired by the 10.8 million Mega Commuters who according to Labor Department, travel more than an hour to work each and every day.
Happy Labor Day! Sleep late. Grill out. Do nothing. Tomorrow, we get back on the road.
Commuters, I'd love to hear from you. What helps you manage work, life, the commute?