(excerpted from the book Mom, Incorporated)
We’ve talked about time issues and money issues, but what about those elusive “balance” issues? Right now, you might be waiting for us to swing down from the heavens with the
SECRET to Work/Life Balance.
So here it is . . .
There is no such thing as perfect balance –
and the sooner you embrace that fact,
the more “balanced” you will feel.
Danielle on Balance:
For the longest time, the word “balance” felt like a bad word to me. I was certain
there was a secret handshake — a code word even — that allowed only the most
special of mothers into the mythical world of balance. I was certain if I could just
be strong enough, smart enough, organized enough, I would crack the code. But it
wasn’t happening. And the only success I saw was the successful failure to balance
my work and home lives. Until one day it hit me: Balance is impossible.
Balance is a myth. At least, based on the definition we were being fed by society.
It was — and it IS — impossible for me to be everything to everyone, every day. So I
stopped trying. And I realized that giving my family my full attention when I am with
them is the most important thing I can do. And giving my work my greatest effort
when I’m in business mode is also important. So now, I’m at peace. Most of the time.
Aliza on Balance:
I’ve pretty much thrown the word — and concept — of “balance” out the window. I prefer to refer to it as a “juggle,” as in “work/life juggle.” To me, juggling is a perfect analogy for having to toggle back and forth between family and clients, between
housework and project work. Like the expression “having many plates in the air,” I
feel that you can only juggle so many things before you drop something.
So the way I handle the “work/life juggle” is to pay close attention to what I’m
juggling and to keep the number of things I juggle down to a manageable size. I
keep rechecking my To Do list not just to see what I’ve been able to do and what
is still outstanding, but also to look deeper and ask myself, “Am I overcommitting
If you know anything about being a type A overachiever, you know how hard it is
to say “no” to requests or to admit you can’t do something. Trust me, if you say “no”
more often and reduce the number of plates you have to keep in the air, you’ll get
more done with less stress.
I also like the way Danielle talks about putting full attention to family when she
is with her family and full attention to work when she is in work mode. That is
something I’ve been working hard on because I know that my mind is not at
its peak performance when divided between work and family. Even if you are
a master at multitasking, you aren’t really doing your absolute best when your
attention is broken down to serve many things at once.
What are your thoughts on “balance?” We really want to know!