I Used to be a Contender: Failing at Work/Life BalanceI Used to be a Contender: Failing at Work/Life Balance
Perfecting work balance and life balance has long been a goal that many have worked hard to attain. I’m here to tell you that I am happily, deliriously, and wholeheartedly, failing at work/life balance and I couldn’t be prouder. In the past, I had considered myself a contender in the work place. Work balance was …
Perfecting work balance and life balance has long been a goal that many have worked hard to attain. I’m here to tell you that I am happily, deliriously, and wholeheartedly, failing at work/life balance and I couldn’t be prouder. In the past, I had considered myself a contender in the work place. Work balance was simple. I worked harder and longer than anyone should. I took work home in the evenings and I tried desperately to stand out among the crowd. I fretted over projects and early morning meetings. I lost sleep over missteps and missed deadlines. I might have even shed a tear or two when things didn’t go right.
And then I had children–brilliant, beautiful, and busy little girls. They cared not for any of my responsibilities at work because to them I had just one responsibility, and that was to be their mother.
My ambition to be successful was replaced by the clear and profound knowledge that after having children I was never going to have to work at being successful again because I was already a goddamn rock star. I had given birth and I was raising children and there would never be anything more important or more impressive than that.
Boardroom tables became changing tables and spiced lattes became sippy cups. Now, I only shed a tear when my children forget I need a solid six hours at night or when the grocery store runs out of that certain kind of chicken nuggets, but I would never cry over something as unimportant as work. Now, maybe I sound a little trite. I realize that there are many extremely important jobs in the world. Like nurses, firefighters, the guys that keep Netflix up and running and so on. It’s just that compared to family, whether that be your children, your parents, your siblings or your friends, there is nothing in this world as paramount as them. You know this, but we’ve been trained to try to achieve an impossible double-duty. Well I, for one, refuse to keep trying. I’m standing up with a luke warm latte in one hand a sippy cup in the other and I am screaming at the top of my lungs that if I must fail at anything in life it sure as hell isn’t going to be raising my family.
Of course, I still enjoy my job. I still work hard, within reason, and sometimes I even participate in professional development, but never, ever at the expense of my family. I love my work, and although that may surprise you, please understand that just because my family is my number one priority, that doesn’t mean that work has hit the bottom of my list. It’s right up there with things like renovating my kitchen and changing my snow tires. I will do it, and I will do a good job but I won’t lose any sleep over it, for certain. In fact, I’ve learned that there is nothing so crucial at work that I need take any more time and energy away from my family than I already have. And shame on anyone that expects that I do.