THE WORK/LIFE BALANCE
Oh, that old chestnut, hey? How do you manage to find the right fit when it comes to work commitments and managing the family at home? Not getting that right work/life balance can be a leading cause of stress, both at work and at home.
Well, I’d love to say I have the solution for you, but I actually don’t. I’m a working mother. I feel horrible guilt from the second I drag the kids out of bed in the morning until I walk through the door at night. And by then, all I want to do is sit down and relax. And all the kids want to do is tell me EVERYTHING about their day. Both of them. At the same time. A hundred miles an hour, talking over the top of each other! Then I get to feel guilty about not having the energy to listen to them talk about what is important to them! Then when I’m at work and I get a phone call from school and have to leave to collect them if they’re sick, I feel guilty that I am not completely committed to my job. The joys of juggling parenthood and work.
My husband is guilty of it as well. He walks straight through the door and is on his phone checking his work emails, or logging in to the computer to complete something he didn’t have time to finish.
Though I don’t have the answer, I have learnt over time that there are a few things I can do to help find the right balance.
Family Time – Exhausted or not, I try to make sure that when I am with the kids, it is quality time. We make a point of having family days, and make sure that work emails / phone calls don’t interrupt.
Work Time – View work as an important part of your life, not something to feel guilt over. The fact you’re working pays the bills, puts food on the table and allows for family holidays. I make sure I communicate this to the kids, especially when they’re sad that I’m going to work, or can’t make that parent/teacher meeting.
Time For You – However you can fit it in, make sure you take some time out for yourself every day. Even if that just means squeezing in a coffee while you’re shopping. I try to view my commute to work as my time – it means I get 2 hours “me time” each work day! I get to listen to music and don’t have to answer a million questions!
Use Energy Wisely – You don’t have to be superman (or superwoman!). Only commit to what you can manage. If it feels overwhelming fitting everything in, sports, home life, school, study, work etc – learn an important word. NO. It’s OK to say no to things. Friend asks you to come to a Tupperware party and you’re too tired? Say no. After work function that means trying to find a baby-sitter? No. If you simplify life, you’ll find you can concentrate better on the important things, rather than stressing over fitting everything in.
Enjoy life – we only get one!