Work life balance.Does it exist? How can we get it? These questions and more answered below.
As women we are constantly juggling our work responsibilities with our personal or family life. We were taught growing up that our family was our job and we were privileged to even get to work in a man’s world (no matter if it was at 75% of their pay).
Nonetheless, some of us had to work to help with expenses. Some of us were and are the sole support of our families and/or ourselves.
No matter the circumstances, most women struggle with fitting it all in and the dreaded Work/Life Balance.
You might think you are alone because you just can’t seem to manage the ‘balance’ part of it. Do not despair. First, you are NOT alone. This is something we all suffer from. Secondly, there is no such thing as a perfect Work/Life Balance.
I think the term was developed by same ego-inflated male who desired to make all women feel like failures! Well, maybe not, but do not let the expectation of doing it all in perfect balance make you feel inferior. It is a myth. It might be a well-ingrained myth, but it is a guilt-ridden myth nonetheless.
You might wonder why I use the word “HARMONY” versus “BALANCE.”
To me, that denotes a flow, a contentment, a sense of ease, not a 50/50 balancing act.
The dictionary defines "harmony" as the combination of simultaneously sounded musical notes to produce chords and chord progressions having a pleasing effect. To me that is more what Work/Life Harmony is all about - Living your personal and family LIFE in perfect HARMONY with your WORK, just like a well-orchestrated song. Yin and yang. High notes and low notes. Pleasing not only to the ear, but to the heart.
As we travel on this journey through life and learn to juggle the many responsibilities, trials and “lessons” we are given, we need to keep in mind our Work/Life responsibilities will continually change. There is no 50/50 balance at those times for sure!
Think about when your children are small and require so much more of your time. Think about the times when your husband is deployed on a military assignment, or out of town on business. Think about the times when your parents are aging and might need you more frequently.
And then there are work responsibilities that also have ups and downs for most of us, like when you have an important looming deadline, or a co-worker is out sick, and their workload falls on you!
Think about the times when YOU might be sick with the flu or even a serious illness and unable to handle your normal duties at work or at home.
We have all been there. We have all experienced these circumstances.
There are some ways to make it through after you realize you are not alone, and it is an impossible task anyway.
Learn to delegate, delay, or delete. We really don’t have to do it all. Ask your spouse to help cook or stop at the store for groceries. Ask your children to do the dishes or laundry. We aren’t the only ones who can load the dishwasher correctly or wash the clothes perfectly. The goal is to get the most important tasks done. You don’t get extra credit in life for having everything perfect.
If you are single you can even share cooking duties with a friend. Make double batches of dinner and swap with them. Or better yet, cook dinner together and share responsibilities. There are ways; you just might need to be a bit creative.
Be realistic, too. Some things just don’t need to be done. You might have some things on your imaginary to do list (imaginary because it is too long to even write down). Just face it, some if not all of those items might not ever get done or even need to be done. The guilt is crushing you. Let go of it!
Other tasks can be delayed. Think about the outcome if something really doesn’t get done by your deadline. Is there a big consequence? Is there any consequence at all? Would anyone besides you even notice? You see, maybe rearranging the pantry is not such a big deal anymore. Same goes with sorting out your underwear drawer. Some things in life don’t have to be perfect, they just need to be good enough. These are the things easiest to be delayed or deleted from your agenda.
And even if you suffer from the dreaded Fear of Mother Syndrome – you know the one where your mother or maybe mother-in-law comes over and gives the top of your refrigerator the white glove treatment along with a scowl that says – you missed something.
Or the look of discontent on your mother’s face that says, “you didn’t iron the tablecloth” for Thanksgiving dinner, when you were thinking, “hey, I found a clean one and it will be covered with dishes anyway.”
Don’t let their attitudes make you feel less than. YOU know you are doing your best. YOU know you have given 110%. Remind yourself it is NOT THEIR JOB TO JUDGE YOU!
Distance yourself from any unkind or unsupportive comments. Don’t let those arrows stab your heart! Your children are more likely to remember if Mom was relaxed and happy at the holidays. I guarantee you they will not remember if the tablecloth was ironed.
Work/life harmony constantly changes. Don’t feel like you must fit into someone else’s definition. Create your own harmony. Create your own way. Life is not a one size fits all event!
Allow yourself to be creative in your manner to fit it all together. It is possible to live a harmonious personal life and work life! You just need to learn to do it your way.
Find out more ways to begin living your best life at JanieJ.net.