I’m a wife. I’m a mom. I work outside the home. Before having kids, the work-life balance seemed easy to achieve. However, as my family has grown, and I have progressed in my career, work-life balance is even more critical, but I find my mindset beginning to shift.
Work-life balance is unattainable. That may sound cynical, but I find that to be true for me. By definition, balance requires all things to be equal and never change, but the reality is that life circumstances are constantly evolving. As a wife, mom of two, full-time employee with various commitments, nothing ever seems in balance.
So, can I really have it all? A thriving home life? A fulfilling career? How do I manage both and still have time for myself? These are questions I’ve been asking myself lately, and the truth is, I don’t have the answers.
Right now, it feels like time is constantly being stripped away from me. So many things demand my attention, both at home and at work. I don’t feel like I’m winning in any particular area. I’m just making it through each day. As I meet the needs of others, I find myself forgetting about me. When I do have moments to myself, I’m always thinking of that one thing that still needs to happen or that one person that still needs me. There’s no off switch. It’s constant.
I wish I had some encouraging words to offer to those of you who may feel like I do, but I don’t. I’m sorry. At best, I can share with you a few things I‘m learning from others through reading and listening to podcasts.
- Take care of yourself. I’m still trying to figure out what that looks like in my life, but I know I need to take care of myself to be in a position to care for others. For you, that might look like eating better, exercising more, or having a set quiet time.
- Give yourself grace. I realize I can’t be so hard on myself. I can’t expect everything in my life to flow perfectly, especially in this season of life. If you have young children, you know that this stage is challenging. I’m working on relaxing the expectations I have for myself and being more flexible. Easier said than done.
- Speak up and set boundaries. This has been a challenge for me my whole life. It’s in my nature to want to help and please everyone. As a result, I’m often doing my best to keep the peace or appease others. When I went back to work after having my daughter, I knew that I would not be able to commit to working outside of regular business hours as I had previously done. I told my boss that evening work was not sustainable for me with having two little ones at home. My family is my priority. Thankfully my boss understood that. If I hadn’t spoken up and set that boundary, I would feel guilty for not having the same level of commitment to my work as I did before.
So, if the work-life balance is unattainable, then what is? Rhythm. I’ve heard this word a lot lately, and I’ve decided I like this concept more than work-life balance. We all have to find our own rhythm. As moms, we have to be okay with marching to the beat of our own drum. We may not be able to have it all, but we can choose things that will allow us to enjoy the fluid dance and rhythm of our individual lives. I’m working to find my own rhythm, and I hope you find yours too.