Work/Life Balance?

I started writing a post just over a month ago about how my hobbies[1] were taking over my life, but I never got around to finishing it. Because now life has taken over my life.

At the beginning of May, I started working full-time. I think it would have been a challenge anyway to try to keep on top of keeping the kids clothed and fed and happy, and getting laundry and dishes and key household tasks done, and keeping our marriage connected, and I’m not actually sure how anyone does it.

But in addition to all that normal stuff, Tommy broke his leg the first Tuesday in May (not exactly my second day of work, but my second day as a full-time employee). That involved a couple days off work for each of us, as well as a lot more hands-on effort to take care of him[2].  I’ve also had two separate colds since the beginning of May, and everyone but me had some sort of stomach virus this whole past week. Steffen and I both have birthdays in May, which, needless to say, were non-events.

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Tommy, looking pretty bummed after a day at the hospital

I’m not sure where I’m going with this. I don’t really want to whine about things, because my job is great (though stressful, because I want to excel), my family is wonderful, and I look forward to both getting up in the morning and going to bed at night in a more consistent way than I think I ever have in my life. It’s just a lot, you know? Like, I’m treading water, and I’m a good swimmer, and the water is warm, but there are limits.

So how do people actually do this, anyway? When we aren’t all sick and broken will it be significantly easier? Or perhaps I should consider working 4 days a week (I think this might be the answer).


  1. My goal for the year was to get better at photography, which I did (good enough that I felt seriously limited by Steffen’s kit lens). But then I also became mysteriously obsessed with sewing and started dyeing wool, and of course I’m still knitting, and trying to blog, write patterns, and maintain the software I wrote as an academic, none of which is actually happening.
  2. On a related note, normally I shower with the kids. It’s fun, and cute, and it offers the added bonus that I shower every day. Broken leg = cast = no showers for Tommy = less frequent showers for all of us.
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4 thoughts on “Work/Life Balance?

  1. I’m not sure myself how anyone does it. I can barely even get my chores done, much less juggle work and a family in the mix. The rate of burnout is also massive in society today, which leads me to believe that a lot of people just aren’t managing and keeping up appearances!

    Will it be easier when you’re not all sick and broken? Probably not. There will always be *something* to shake things up, there’s always going to be *someone* who needs something extra from you when you least expect it. That’s just how life is.

    That said, wanting to excel at your job is a good thing, but be careful with that. If you feel overwhelmed right now and you keep pushing through, you’re just setting yourself up for failure. Pace yourself all over. Prioritize your family and try to space out chores as much as possible at not to overwhelm yourself. Do what needs to be done at your job, but only exceed expectations if you have plenty of time and energy leftover by the end of it – there’s no point in setting the bar really high and then later on getting desperate and frustrated because you don’t have the energy to maintain that same level of performance. (All of that leads to a big bad burnout!)

    Cutting down to 4 days a week can aid tremendously in the following:

    Most importantly, take some time to yourself. Skip a chore if it means you get to unwind a little with a hobby, or just a bowl of snacks with a good movie one night a week. Take care of your emotional and physical well being to avoid feeling only pressured to perform in every aspect of life. The floor can wait until tomorrow every now and then. ๐Ÿ™‚

    You matter too in your life. Your life is not just responsibilities 24/7. It’s okay to be a little bit selfish from time to time. This can be really hard especially for people who are so used to putting themselves in second place, but it’s not impossible. It’s healthy to be in first place sometimes! The better you feel, the more you can take care of your family, chores and do your job well!

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  2. So very sorry to hear about Tommy’s broken leg and hoping he isn’t too uncomfortable.

    My children are all grown but I remember when I was working just how extremely difficult life became. Many invisible (at least to hubby ๐Ÿ˜€) things had to be done. Planning and shopping for food, cooking simple meals mostly from scratch and then the cleanup – these chores took a lion share of our non- work time. We sat down repeatedly to figure out when the regular mundane things could be done but it never worked out – only 24 hrs /day. Though hubby too put in simillar time in at home, one can only do so much. And of course less time to interact with family.

    I am truly in awe of all women who can have a functioning work – life balance.

    Hugs

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  3. I think we run around thinking “I can do it all!” when really no one can do that, and it’s not reasonable, nor is it a necessary burden to put on oneself. I would outsource some chores, as many as you can reasonably afford. Justify that however you wish, but accept that it is justifiable. I would trust that a brand new job really will get easier, and require less mental bandwidth to be the same level of productive. I would trust you won’t always have someone sick in the house (but realistically, you will fairly often). Tommy will be un-casted eventually, which will also help.
    In short, it will get better, but it will probably always be too much to do everything well, so pay someone to do the bits you don’t need to.

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    • I think this is very good advice. I’ve been psyching myself up to hire a cleaning service since I read your post on the subject.

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