I am just back from a great vacation where I spent Mother’s Day on a beach. That’s the kind of life you have when you are a writer who covers work, life and cats.
Mother’s Day always prompts a superficial and short-lived national discussion motherhood, work, and the challenges facing the modern family. Nobody wants to talk about stupid and uncompetitive human resources policies that hurt the global workforce. We just want to talk about mythical suburban moms who are overwhelmed and want a nap.
(Those moms are tired, yeah, but I work with plenty of men who are overwhelmed with their responsibilities in life. I know many young women without children who give it all at work at the expense of their personal lives, too.)
So how do you go about achieving work-life balance when it seems so challenging? Here are my thoughts.
- You are never too busy to create a life worth balancing. If you had freedom to spend more time with someone you love, would the love be welcomed and reciprocated? If you found yourself with more spare time, do you know what you would do with it? Fix that. Then move on to balance.
- Quick, quiet moments are better than no moments. You may never have the time to coach your daughter’s soccer team. Oh well. Quick, quiet moments are just as memorable as grand gestures. And if you’re looking for more time for you, grab fifteen minutes a day and don’t shrug your shoulders at it. It’s better than nothing.
- Accept that balance might be boring. Chaotic lives are often full and interesting lives. Do you want balance or do you want adventure and amazing memories?
I will also leave you with one other thought. You might not be as stressed as you think.
When you look at your life, is it really so bad? (You joke that you would trade your kids for sleep, but I know you are lying. And you can sleep when you are dead.) Would you prefer to work in a boring, predictable industry instead of being tested and challenged on a regular basis? (You didn’t go to college for that bullshit job.) Would you prefer to be married to your stupid ex-wife instead of divorced and running all over town to get the kids? (Hell no. Your ex-wife sucks. And you were pretty stressed while being married.)
Sometimes it’s about choosing your attitude. If you spend a few moments reflecting on your choices, you may find that your work-life balance issues are not really issues at all. It’s just life, and it’s ok.
So, quit whining? I don’t actually want to sound snarky, I was nodding my head on points 1 & 2, but moved to the level of looking like a bobblehead on point 3. Good stuff.
People think I’m crazy, but I’m finding that I actually do better when I don’t get the “prescribed” 8 hours of sleep every night. I used to be so hung up on that number, and thinking it was key to my health and well-being, but truth be told I feel less like warmed-over death after 6-7 hours. More than that and I’m Zombie Kelly for an hour or two in the morning.
I have a full-time job, a spouse, a kid, volunteer commitments, and I’m getting ready to work on finishing my degree and find another job. Fifteen minutes to walk around the block can work wonders sometimes. You learn to appreciate it.