On Monday between the hours of 8-5:30 I did an amazing amount of laundry and also had a really productive work day. I even squeezed in a 20-minute workout and made a quinoa and spinach pilaf for dinner (no one but me ate it, but I made it). In the evening, I went to a Girl Scout leader meeting. At the end of the day I felt like this work from home thing was really “where it’s at,” as the kids used to say.
On Tuesday, I spent a lot of time driving kids around and waiting on people and running errands. Except for a conference call and a few emails I did not get a lot of work done. We all ate sandwiches from Potbellies for dinner in between activities. I did not work out. All the waiting meant I got in some quality time with my ten-year-old, I learned some interesting things about her. Overall though, Tuesday was frustrating as hell. I felt like this work from home thing was a scam designed to make it impossible for me to get anything done.
On Wednesday, I spent most of the day working. I possibly could have fit in my son’s egg drop at school before my first meeting of the day, but since my husband could go, I chose not to do so. I did not walk my kids to school either. Instead, I caught up on work I had missed on Tuesday and arrived at my meeting a little early. This was good since the meeting got a little heated. Except for lunch with my husband I spent from 8-5:30 in work mode. I felt competent, but I also a little sad about not seeing my son’s successful egg drop. I remembered what my son said he told his teacher about tying his shoes, that he didn’t know how because his parents worked too much. I did not work out. I made smoothies for dinner so that the kids and I could get to the school’s science event that night. Because we went to the science night my daughter had to skip Hebrew School. My daughter and I also had a little fight over her school work. It felt like working from home really didn’t have any benefits. It was a scam to keep me working as much as possible.
Normally, when we talk about work-life balance we make it seem as though every day should be a perfect balancing act. Every day should be what Monday was for me this week, an equal mix of self, home, kids, and work with a perfectly balanced dinner thrown in for good measure. But those days are rare. Most days are more like Tuesday or Wednesday when everything is a little off and there aren’t enough hours to get everything done and choices have to be made. Sometimes those choices involve take out, or smoothies, or skipping an activity. Having a decent work-life balance does not mean that I will feel equal parts loving and competent and hard working and good mothering all at once.
Having a well balanced life does not mean that I will get everything done every day. It means that over the course of a week, or maybe a month, or a few months, I get to do a little bit of everything that’s important to me. It means that when I am being honest with myself, not competing for busy points on Facebook or indulging in #worstmotherever hashtag contests, I admit that I’m doing ok, that things are pretty good, that it’s all working out about as well as can be expected.
All things in moderation, even moderation. All things in balance, even balance.
Marta, this is the most honest account of work-life balance I’ve ever seen. How appropriate to end with a Jim Beam Honey ad.