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Work-life balance Is superficial

Don't strive for balance, seek fullness

by Working Mom Journal  |  4711 views  |  1 comment  |        Rate this now! 

I have been asked numerous times in comments on how I balance my everyday juggle. The answer is I don't. I don't have any time management formula and I do not have a set schedule for each day, week or month. Each day brings with it unique characteristics, and no matter how much barriers I try to put in between my work and my family, there still are some gray areas. The real issue is not to erect barriers, and go with a set schedule. The real issue is to tilt slowly, tilt gently, to the left and to the right and make room for the other even when it seems impossible. The real issue is to live your life to its fullest not worrying about whether its going as planned or not.

The term work-life balance is superficial and a dangerous trap because it makes you think that work is not a part of life, that it should be completely secluded.  And that is understandable considering these statistics.
  • In the United States, the average number of working hours is probably the highest it’s been in seventy five years.
  • Five million workers in the UK put in almost two months worth of unpaid overtime a year.
  • Ninety percent of working adults said they are concerned they do not spend “enough time” with their families.
  • Seventy percent said they don’t have a healthy “balance between their personal and work lives”.

But for someone like me who love my job, and think of my job as my life not just a paycheck, the idea of balance means nothing to me. The idea of fullness of life however makes much more sense. As I type this, my daughter is in a deep slumber because we had a full schedule for her today, she went to Party Hoppers, rode a nice car in the mall, I mean, the car was stationary plus she  bounced up and down the entire mall chasing after some mysterious ladybug.  And now, I am sitting on my laptop answering emails, phone calls, writing a blog post and getting ready for the full week ahead. That is what really makes me an efficient mother. I will work into the wee hour of the night and retire for the night, however, I would have accomplished what needed to be accomplished for the day.

And I know this might be a little too much for mothers of more than one kid, and which is why I value outsourcing. I am seriously in support of outsourcing because it allows you to focus on things that add value rather than work your butt off doing laundry, cleaning and running errands when you could be spending more time with your loved ones making breakfast, running in the park or you could be working on your next business proposal. Life is what you make of it. I like to seek fullness rather than clutter in life. The secret to time management is not multitasking, its doing one thing at a time, and getting the best reward possible.

1 comment so far...

  • Hey, I can totally relate to your article and it really resonated with me. I am a mother of four children under six and I also run a successful multilingual kids company, and am launching an online Association of Enterprising Women. Outsourcing is the first thing I recommend a mother should to if she wants more time. As mothers we often feel that we must do it all, and if we can't we are somehow failing.

    Years ago, in the 1950s for example, women stayed at home with their children and kept house. However, these women had the support of other women, and most importantly of their mothers, aunts, sisters and family (presuming they had some). People rarely travelled to live far from their families, and it was uncommon for women to work, so everyone mucked in to help. Childcare didn't really exist because it wasn't really needed. If a woman needed to work, her family mucked in to care for the child. If she needed time to do the housework or make the dinner, her family and girlfriends helped to care for her kids.

    Somehow today we think we have to do it all, in a way that our ancestors didn't. Not only do we have more to do, we also have less time. A recipe for disaster! I think we've also lost sight of what is important: family, relaxation, relationships, memories. We're too busy running around, chasing our tails half the time, that before we know it our kids are grown and the opportunity is gone.

    Like you, I will stay up until 1am if necessary, to finish the work that needs done, if it means that I got to spend extra time with my kids. Is it hard? Frequently. But I counter this with making sure I get the time that I need to take care of ME - yoga, pedicures, facials, time with my girlfriends and husband. Success is not only having what you want, it's wanting what you have.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by kimconstable on 23rd March 2012