is work-life balance a myth?

on this friday-and-long-weekend eve, i find myself asking the question:  is work-life balance a myth?

i say this on the heels of removing myself from full-time employ, following a lovely meal with an old friend who is considering a job change because, in part, of a lack of work-life balance, and upon a quick mental tally of all of the friends, colleagues past and present, and family members i know who have, at some point, mentioned that they lack this precious commodity.

here in the nation's capital, it's fall now (at least it feels like it now that Congress is about to end its August recess, the kids are back in school, and there is a slight chill in the evening air). we are entering a new season and i am starting to take stock of this summer past.

on this first of September, i find myself a self-employed, full-time mama, full-time spouse, full-time doggie caretaker, and full-time friend/family member/community member (note: to those who noticed that friends came after doggies, this list was not compiled in any particular order of importance), and despite my recent major work/life changes (read here for more on those changes) i have absolutely no idea how to do all of those things well at the same time.

my friend reminded me today that perhaps this work-life balance thing is just a myth we all spend our energy chasing down. 

we run after it in an almost desperation, instead of accepting the fact that performing our myriad roles with excellence - roles such as employees/parents/spouses/engaged members of our local, national, and global communities - requires making choices about where and when to focus our energies most at any given time.

perhaps we take on some of these roles at different phases in our lives. perhaps we opt-out of chosing some of these roles all-together. or maybe we graciously accept that balance is a daily effort that may never be fully mastered, but is worth the conscious attempt.

what do you think? is work-life balance a myth? if so, is it a myth only in Washington or is this national or global phenomena? to my readers in other parts of the world, what are your thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. First of all quit worrying about the "balance." Learn to be in the moment. Sounds cliche, but it isn't. If you DO whatever you're doing in whatever moment you're in at any given moment...what you are doing will be excellent enough. The next moment...the next thing, etc. And at the end of the day you have a gazillion excellent moments...and some not so much. Run your moments, don't let your moments run you...Is this what I should be doing this moment? It's the old, break the task (a day) into smaller chunks (moments) trick. Prioritize, Organize.The balance takes care of itself.

    Second, recognize that your "work" IS part of your "life." If you don't like your work, change it and it will be easier to see.

    Third, never, ever expect everyday to be the same. We can get so lost in the details we lose the proverbial forest. Recognize the broken limb, fix it or lop it off, and move on. Then step back and look at the change that makes in the landscape. Reflect on the week as a whole...here I'm going from the smaller chunk theory to the big picture...Look at the good you did during the week, so one day was not so good, but that Friday...lunch with M and movie and time with E...wow! So you see it balances.

    Fourth, don't be above changing your definition and view of "balance" if you have to...just as the cherry blossoms change to leaves and summer to fall and winter to spring.

    All of this comes from experience raising three kids. I didn't work their first six years. I then became a working mother, and then a single working mother. Perfect? No. Really Good? Yes!

    Aunt Pam