Published: 07 September 2016

Having spent over 5 years working in London with a commute of over two hours each way, I used to think I had it pretty tough. Although I enjoyed my job, which allowed me to fulfil my huge passion for technology and development both inside and outside of the office (4 hours on a train every day is a long time), I admit the commute was dragging me down. And then, just when I thought my tiredness levels had reached the max, life changed. On 11 April 2014, a ‘Little ray of sunshine’ entered our world, and all of a sudden I no longer just had a full time job. 

My 40 hour work week suddenly became an 80 hour work week, and my full time job was now an extra little gig on the side, a lot of the time taking a backseat to raising our perfect ‘Little Stewie’.

Suddenly this teeny tiny person had arrived, needing even more attention more than my Pokemon GO and things had to change! I knew that I desperately needed to find a work-family life balance that would allow me to continue my passion, whilst enjoying as much time as possible with my new family. London had to go.

Now, having moved to Sagittarius in June 2016, I am extremely excited for the next chapter of my life. This is how a typical day pans out for a “Family Developer”, and I’ve never had it better!

  • Mornings now resemble a scene out of the BBC series Outnumbered - total chaos!!

  • Daily standoffs over why chocolate buttons aren’t classed as a breakfast food, taking deep breaths as I patiently wait for my fiercely independent ‘Little Stewie’ to fasten his own shoelaces (I haven't got the heart, or the time, to tell him that his shoes are on the wrong feet), and then eventually leaving the house with Little Stewie under one arm, and my laptop under the other.
  • I love arriving at work! Normality resumed, an uninterrupted, rare chance to sit down and enjoy a coffee in the company of other professionals, without constant requests from my darling Little Stewie to ‘put Peppa Pig on’. Time to crack on and get on with doing the job that I love.
  • With a rewarding day's work complete, it's time to head home. Via a nursery pick up, and a son so happy to see his Dad, mainly because he knows we’re going home to watch continuous repeats of the latest toddler cartoon bait.
  • Arriving home, TV is straight on, and so with Little Stewie sitting down quietly I seize the opportunity to take a second look at a piece of work I was engrossed in earlier today. For about 30 seconds. Out of the corner of his eye Little Stewie sees my laptop firing up and before I’ve even loaded Visual Studio start page, he’s on my lap, logging onto YouTube, and within seconds we’re enjoying the latest episode of Paw Patrol (in German, for some reason). Although it has now become pretty obvious that I’m getting no work done whatsoever for the next couple of hours, the Technology Dad in me can’t help but feel a little bit proud that my two year old is quickly becoming advanced in navigating his way around the world wide web, and expressing an interest in ‘daddy code’
  • 21:00 and Little Stewie has finally given in and admitted defeat and is finally in bed. Finally I am able to sit down and engross myself in the world of .NET, technical architecture, and building my wife's website. With a bit of bedtime reading from the latest blog’s from our ever changing industry. 

Now that I work locally, I honestly believe I have the best of both worlds. I look forward to and am excited about heading to work, and I look forward to coming home in the evenings. I have more energy, which means I’m able to devote more time to independent development outside of the office. Don't get me wrong, Little Stewie can drive me and my wife crazy a lot of the time, and there's days where i would love nothing better than to sit on a train for 4 hours and indulge in a bit of ‘me’ time. But leaving London hasn’t meant I’ve ‘chosen’ my family over my career - if anything I feel like my career is on the up! I love my job and the new balance I’ve found, i love getting home at a decent time to see my family, and as long as my son still believes that I’m Super Dad then I’ll always know I’ve done the right thing!

Lee Swainsbury

Server-Side Developer


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