Since the Creating a Family show this week was on work life balance, I’ve been thinking about this topic in my life. Every woman I know with children struggles on some level with how to balance their work life with their family life. This struggle is often made all the harder for those who have struggled with infertility to have their children, or who have created their family through adoption. You’ve gone to extreme lengths to get these precious children, so shouldn’t you be spending every second reveling in parenthood? But what if you want/need the money work provides? What if you need/want the identity and stimulation that work provides? Is there a perfect way to balance work and family?
The availability of technology has shifted the balance between work and home. This week’s show guest, Anne Bogel, author of Work Shift, says it beautifully—
“Work” is increasingly something you do, not someplace you go. Many jobs can be done from anywhere, at any hours. Phrases like “workplace” or “working outside the home” are losing their meaning. … The black and white world of working mother vs. stay-at-home mother is giving way to grey.”
The greying of the divide between woman who work inside and outside of the home is a good thing to my mind. The mobile nature of work is partly responsible for this shift, and for that I’m thankful. I take full advantage of mobile technology and can’t imagine my life without it, but I try not to kid myself that there isn’t a price to pay for all this constant connectedness.
Where are you on the work life balance scale? Have you struck a comfortable balance? If so, what has worked for you? If not, what are you doing about it. Balance is a moving target for me as my kids and I both age, but for the most part I feel “in balance” (whatever that means). For what its worth, I think this feeling has more to do with my acceptance of not having it all or getting it all done, than with having figured out how to strike the balance. It might also have a lot to do with my kids being older, although in some ways balancing life with teens is just as hard as balancing it with toddlers.
For inspiration, check out this week’s Creating a Family show with Anne Bogel, author of How She Does It and blogger at Modern Mrs. Darcy.
What we talked about on the Creating a Family show on Work Life Balance:
- What does balance mean?
- Why do woman struggle more with work life balance?
- What types of flex schedules are people using?
- How to find time for more work without using more child care?
- How to work from home.
- What are the dangers of mobile technology in achieving a balance between our work life and family life?
- How is the role of the husbands and fathers changing in this generation?
- What are some tips and tricks for achieving a balance between work and family?
- Balancing work and family as a single woman.
Add Your Comment
Hi there, just wanted to say, I enjoyed this article. It was practical. Keep on posting!
Technology really has transformed the way people work, and the options for mothers who want to spend the majority of their time in the home. It is a great thing.
I hear you Tracie, but it also makes it hard to ever get away from work. Do you find this also? I know the solution is to just be very intentional about how and when I use it, but it is sometimes a struggle. I’d love to hear how others handle it.
Well, I got what you meant!
I haven’t listened to the blog, but I just took a bit some time to read the book. I appreciate that the focus is on women, but when doing these flexible, shifted schedules, it is really important to recognize that, if a partner or spouse is involved, there must be careful consideration of the impact on his or her professional and personal goals as well. It’s often the tradeoffs that women have to make that get discussed in the work-life balance topic (if tradeoffs are discussed at all), but if you really are in a partnership, then that side must be considered too. Bogel does mention this to some degree, but I thought it could have been discussed a bit more clearly.
Overall, I take the messages that it is important to figure out what the goal is, to communicate clearly with family and with employers and co-workers about our goals are, and to be imaginative and flexible on how to achieve them as very good ones. I do think that the first step is very, very hard, and it is a shifting target. We sure haven’t figured it out yet, and like many of the women profiled in the book, I don’t know that it will become clear to me and my husband what we want to focus on until pushed to a limit. Stress tends to bring clarity, but it is a miserable way to get there.
So, I’m with Jen on the term “balance”, but maybe for different reasons. It implies that we are searching for some sort of steady state, but life, family, and professional development are all dynamic, and we’re really constantly shifting from one point of equilibrium to another as our various stresses, desires, and demands require. Work-family negotiation or management seem to be a better fits for me.
Jen, I know what you mean about balance. For me it is finding the right blend/balance/whatever you want to call it, where I have time for my kids, time for my husband, time for what I am passionate about, time for my extended family, etc. I’ve given up the idea of having it all, but I do want to structure my life to make time for all of my roles.
Or maybe I should have said that MY idea of what balance was totally off.
Personally, I think balance is a misnomer. I used to think that if I had everything just so and stood really still, it would all balance out neatly and nothing would topple over. But guess what – that never happens. What I call it now is prioritizing. So sometimes my work clothes have boy snots on them, sometimes my boys go to school with jelly on them. My house is not neat. Neither is my desk at work. But I have a passion for my career and I do my best at it. And at 5pm when I leave, on weekends, and on my Weds off, everything is about my family. My kids are happy, healthy, and they know they’re well loved, and that’s good enough for me!