17 Jul Does work life balance actually exist?
Work life balance.
I am convinced this is one of those vague, undefined terms first coined by men. It is an ideology that is more for the most part, unattainable, but remains a goal for many of us women.
We strive for balance. We work hard towards it. We try to achieve it. But how do we know when we have succeeded?
For me, this is a daily struggle. I have so many roles in my life, that at any given point in time, I am doing well with some things, and ignoring others. As a mother, wife, sister, daughter, manager, public servant, professor, blogger, friend, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law – most of the time, I am falling short on expectations in at least one area. It is frankly exhausting.
This idea of balance is one that is defined for each person individually. And changes from day to day (sometimes hour to hour). What I want out of life the most is to spend time with the ones that I love, enjoying their company, and sharing some good laughs. Everything that “needs” to get done during the day to satisfy all of these “roles” in my life, often just gets in the way.
I often feel unbalanced as I cannot find the time in the day to spend time doing what nurtures me the most.
So in my daily pursuit of work life balance, I am often left feeling that I am striving for something unattainable. Like there is some magical formula that others have figured, and that continues to evade me. What is this big secret? And have other really figured this out?
I am fortunate to be surrounded a fabulous group of girlfriends, who are incredibly accomplished in their life pursuits, and also struggle to find this mystical equilibrium between work accountabilities and life responsibilities. We’ve had many discussions on the topic. One thing is for sure, not one of us has figured this out yet!!
So why do we keep talking about work life balance as if it something that is real? Is it to protect ourselves from the realities that we are trying to do too much in the day, and if only we had greater flexibility, we could accomplish this all? Are we in fact putting even more pressure on ourselves by thinking that if we had more balance in our lives, that we’d be one step closer to some utopian state of having it all?
I think we are best to do ourselves a favour a take this expression out of our vernacular, and out of our minds.
The pursuit of something possibly unattainable can be damaging to some degree…focusing us on what we have not yet achieved, as opposed to celebrating all that we accomplish in a day, and the difference that we make in people’s lives.