Work Life Balance. Is there really such a thing as this? Balance, by definition, means “an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright or steady”. Upright or steady. Hmmm. I suppose I am upright, I mean I’m not literally falling down. But, steady? Yeah, not so much. My life these days feels more like a balancing act. A juggling act. A mere attempt at keeping all the balls in the air and moving continually to keep them from crashing to the floor. Hardly balance.
I would more accurately describe my life as Work Life conflict. No matter where I am or what I’m doing I feel like I should be somewhere else doing something more. If I’m at work I certainly feel like I should be home with my kids. Helping my 5 year old with reading, playing with my 3 year old, soothing my fussy 6 month old, taking the load of all of this off my husband. I certainly believe in equal partnership between my husband and I, and I am grateful he is such an awesome dad to our kids, but for whatever reason it is so hard for me to shake the idea that I should be there, too. Inevitably when there is a 6:00 pm exhaustion meltdown I think to myself, maybe if I was there to help manage the chaos the night would have gone more smoothly. Except really I know these things happen whether I am there or not. But the mom guilt finds a way… it always finds a way.
And then there’s work. I love my job. Like really love it. Listening, helping, being with other people and their emotions – gives me all the feels. I think I’m doing pretty well most days with keeping my focus on work when I’m at work, but ask me for anything extra and you’ll probably get a big fat nothing. Not because I don’t want to, but because I just don’t have the extra to give. And this is what I’m struggling with right now. My life is filled to the brim, pressing at the seams, and barely contained by the lid holding it all in. In my mind I can easily imagine myself getting to the meeting on time or fitting in an extra call from home. But, think again. At least I’m having to try and do that – Think. Again.
I am (veeerrrrry) slooowwwly learning how to say no to things that I may actually want to do. I know how to say no to something I don’t want to do, but this saying no despite my desire to do it, that’s new. I’ve thought before, if something is important to you then you’ll find a way. Well now while this may be true, you have to consider the cost of doing it. Will getting to the meeting on time mean less sleep than the no sleep I’m already getting, yelling at my kids in the morning because I’m a ball of stress, still showing up late despite my efforts and making people wait? Is that the outcome I was looking for? No. Not at all.
I am having to evaluate and reevaluate my priorities. In truth, just because I want to do it doesn’t mean I can do it WELL. Not at this current point in time. And I do want to do well. In work, in home, in life. So for me – during this season of my life – I am looking to find balance by being more of who I want to be, which seems to mean doing a little less extra. This may be unnerving at times, but if it saves my sanity and gives my family and my work a more focused, calm, and happy me then, and only then, will I call that balance.