Let me just get this out of the way…… THERE’S NO SUCH THING. Work life balance is a pretty statement someone made up to fool us into chasing something that will forever elude us.
I realize the above statement is a bit negative. Not meant to be at all. There is a balance but it is not what we have been thought to believe. No one is saying that if you are a working woman or man you will never have a life. Of course you will. Work is life…. it is part of life so right there it is part of the juggling act we all have to do.
As a working woman, for the most part of my adult life I have learned that I can find happiness (another term that annoys me) but that it’s not going to be a 50/50 outcome. When something is going on outside of work which demands my attention, work will have to wait while I finish whatever it is that I’m doing. Then I need to focus on work and other things will have to suffer.
Both my parents worked. My mother chose to not be a stay at home mom and my father was super supportive. They went to work every day but weekends were dedicated to the family. We spent all vacations together – there was never a time that my mother went off on her own, although I’m sure if she needed to do it we would have all support her decision and she would have done that in order to bring balance to herself so she could be the best mom – and she was.
So here is my view….. Be the best you can be in everything you choose to do. If you are a stay at home mom or wife (not everyone has children) that’s fine. You, also have a life outside of that home and outside of the family. Know that in order to be the best mom and best wife you can be, you have to put yourself first. It’s not selfish, it’s the truth. Even on airplanes they tell you to adjust your mask first. Without taking care of yourself you are in no condition to take care of anyone else. If you, instead, choose to have a career outside the home, know that the decision is yours to make and you are not taking anything away from anyone (i.e. your husband and/or your children). Also, realize that you are also not forced to give your job your best and save the rest for the family. We always say that family comes first – true, family should come first and if there is a life or death situation you should pick family first but like everything else – depends on the family right? In my mind, it never depends on the job!!!! Just saying.
Sometimes work must come first. For example – let’s say you and your family have just gotten home from an amazing vacation away. You’re back at work and you have to catch up on emails, that report that waited until you were back – My view is that work, that week would take precedence over my family. I would, obviously, let everyone know that if something happened or they needed me for some special reason I would put work aside to be with them, but under normal circumstances, that week was a dedicated “work comes first” week.
Nothing in life is 50/50. I think the balance is in knowing when to let something take second place in order to focus on the issue that needs to take first place in our lives.
This is the lesson that has taken me years (50 to be precise) to learn. Let go of the fantasy that I can be the best wife, sister, employee, manager, etc. all at the same time. Sometimes I will suck at being a wife and sometimes I will suck at being a manager or an employee.
The thing that I can never suck at is at being me.