Ah, work-life balance. Such a hot topic these days, no?
One of the benefits of being a woman and mother in 2012 is that there are a million options for men and women alike, and we no longer need to make a choice between family and career.
In fact, earlier this week, Tsh at Simple Mom talked about doing what you love, sharing a pretty profound statement that Susan Wise Bauer made while we were chatting in her living room a few weeks ago that has inspired her to stop feeling guilty about pursuing her own passion.
And all of that is fine to say, but it doesn’t necessarily make the whole balance thing any easier.
Truth be told, I’m not really a fan of balance at all. In the intro to How to Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too, I say this:
To me, balance implies that we should give just a little bit of ourselves to many different things, never investing enough in any one thing to tip the scales.
If you’re trying to pursue your own passions, build a business or manage multiple obligations, that can be a very stressful and unfulfilling way to live.
Instead, I prefer to think of what I do as a work-at-home mom as juggling.
Although I’ve never been a very good juggler in real life, I really love this metaphor as it applies to my life.
If you were to take a video of someone juggling and play it in slow motion, you’d see three key parts of the process. The juggler has to throw each ball to start the momentum and catch each one to keep it from hitting the floor, but in between she lets the balls coast from one hand to the other.
Life is a lot like that.
At the end of the day, my family is my top priority. That means that we make sacrifices so that we can continue to be home together as a family every day.
It means I turn down opportunities to travel and we only have one car and our kids aren’t in a ton of activities.
But juggling these passions of mine also means that I can take a break from school or serve frozen pizza for a week (not really, but I could!) to focus on a deadline or special project.
It means my husband changes the majority of dirty diapers and volunteers to clean up my kitchen disasters so that I can make food from scratch without also having to make time to do the dishes.
In short, I’m not sure balance is possible, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing!
What would have to change—in your life, in people’s attitudes, or in our society—for women to have an easier time managing work-life balance?
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