Work *Life * Balance – Do you have it or desperately need it?
Finding Work /Life balance has been a hot topic for many years now – not surprisingly since the majority of women have gone back into the workforce sooner and for longer hours after having children. Thankfully the Supermom / Supermum Myth has abated with the media no longer propping up the – you can have it all. Only to result in so many women trying so hard to attain, only to fall in one big heap!
Work / life balance is different for everyone depending on things like the number of children you have; whether you choose to send them to private school; what level of debt you have; how good you are at budgeting; whether you take time out for yourself and also your partner in your 'busy' life schedule; whether you look after elderly parents who are not well; whether you have help from elderly parents who are still more than able to help with looking after the kids; making some meals; how much overtime your partner does; whether you work inside the home or outside the home and whether you have learned how to switch off from work if it is the latter – not easy for most people that’s for sure!
I have obviously found that being pretty organized on the home-front makes a big difference to whether I have a good work / life balance or not. Also right 'up there' is how many hours a week I work. Having spoken to many women over the years about the magic number of hours it is that seems to keep life functioning smoothly, without tipping you and your family over the edge – seems to be around 15-30 hours per week maximum before things start to come apart at the seams.
Managing debt levels is also a key factor in having a good work / life balance. Things like not worrying about buying second hand cars and living in a comfortable home rather than a McMansion like your friends may reside in; Shopping at OP Shops for 'vintage' clothes sometimes rather than always buying brand new; growing your own vege’s rather than buying from expensive supermarkets can really make a big difference – especially when looked at as a whole. Also things like not buying take out food too often, which you are less likely to do if you are not working too many hours in the first place. A lot of people sadly don’t see the connection between working more and how often, the increase in pay is chewed up by the increase in associated work costs. For eg: – clothes; petrol; child care; take out etc. There is a fine line between what makes it worthwhile and what doesn’t. It is a good idea to sit down and really look at the figures to assess whether it is worth it if you are feeling stressed out if you come to the conclusion that your work /life balance is definitely out of whack.
I just find it really sad at how many over-worked, stressed out, frazzled, overwhelmed mums/moms are out there, who know something has to give but can’t work out what or how and it’s not a nice position to be in. When I think back to my mum and grandmother’s day when their role was solely to raise the children and take care of the home – in some ways it sounded like a much easier time. Not as many arguments about who did what –it was a lot clearer!!
Don’t get me wrong though, I love the fact that women are able to choose whether they work and many do because they love it and need it for their emotional wellbeing, but I worry about the growing number who ‘have to’ rather than choose to, just to keep their heads above water and how this is affected them, their partners and of course the wellbeing of their children.
A recent article I read on work/life balance and what the children’s perspective was on their how much time their parents (in most case didn’t spend with them), and not surprisingly most kids simply yearned for more time and attention from their parents – one let alone two!!
Where there is no choice about work hours and whether one or both parents work, more than ever, the time spent as a family is of the utmost importance and giving thought to how you can make the time you spend with your partner and kids quality time – if you’re not too exhausted from work that is!!
Work Life balance is certainly a very complicated topic. What are your thoughts –do you have a good work life balance? What do you think helps to maintain a good work / life balance?
Organize Your Life Organizers