Are You Stressed Out Trying to Find the Elusive Work-Life Balance?

By now you’ve heard the term ‘work-life balance.’ And you likely daydream about all it implies – that perfect equilibrium between your career and all else that matters to you, like family, friends and even time to yourself. Such a pleasant thought, right? Aaahhhh …

But now more to the point … who here has found that balance?

I’m taking a wild guess that most of you answered, ‘not I.’ And you may even be wracking your brain to figure out what exactly you’re doing wrong. You’ve read countless articles on the topic and adhered to all the common advice: delegate tasks; just say ‘no;’ spend less time on your phone. Still, no luck.

Well, here’s why: A true work-life balance isn’t possible for most of us. And that’s doubly so if you have children of most any age still living at home. (Err, maybe not the adult children, but you get the idea.)

Last week, USA Today published an article: “U.S. mothers have it the worst when it comes to work-life balance, research says.” And, I couldn’t help but think, “Well, duh!” Did they really need to conduct extensive research to come to that conclusion?

Just look around you, people! Look at the working moms you know. And look fast because they’ll be gone within seconds, dashing off to the next meeting, appointment, conference, middle school sports event, etc.

They’re walking the dog, counseling the kids, unloading the dishwasher, taking out the trash, hugging the kids, checking the homework, cleaning the bathroom, yelling at the kids, preparing dinner, taking the kids to the orthodontist, walking the dog again, chauffeuring kids to the mall, and folding laundry. And folding laundry. And folding laundry.

Then, if they’re lucky, they can have a sip of wine before hitting the pillow. And they’re even luckier if they can get that sip in without nodding off and spilling the wine all over the pillow. Because when that happens, guess what… more laundry!

And all of that work is done in the hours away from the office.

There is a kind of balance, but it’s more of a balancing act between the many tasks that need done. You find very little chill time in between. And really, there’s not much point to stressing out because you can’t find time for yourself. The mere act of trying to schedule something you’d like to do can turn to one more thing on your plate.

So, you may need to let go of that quest for the perfect work-life balance. Then go on and embrace the chaos that surrounds you.

Find joy in all those duties and chores. Listen to the sound of your child’s laughter. Feel the texture of the laundry you’re folding. Enjoy what you do at the office. No, it’s not all fun and games. But you can find balance and calm in everyday responsibilities.

Did it sound like I was venting a bit there? Well I hope so… because I was. After all, I’m writing this blog post here at the office. And I have to say that I’ve enjoyed it.

There it is, my own personal work-life balance – my guiltless pleasure. And if you’ve found your own version of the work-life balance, please let us know.

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