The myth of work/life balance– and what to think instead.
Does balance really exist?
Everyone talks about striving for this work/life balance but does anyone really know what that feels like? And if they do, why aren’t they sharing how to make it happen?
I mean, if you are waiting for things to 'calm down' you might just be waiting forever.
Because here is the thing about life- today it’s one thing & tomorrow it’s another.
I can imagine having a work life balance would probably look like you’re succeeding in all areas of your life, at the same time. But is this even realistic?
What is typically true for me is if I am succeeding in one area of my life then I am failing in another. If I am killing it at work then I am indeed missing out on something my baby is doing for the first time, if I am really winning at making sure the house is clean, dinner is made, and my partner feels loved then I am surely not finishing my to do list at work. So, how do we ever get to a place where we say- okay things are calm enough now I am going to finally start that business I’ve been thinking of, or now I think we should try have another baby, or now I am going to write that book. Do we wait until we retire to really feel a sense of calm?
I mean really- does balance only exist in yoga class?
I’m sure I cannot be the only person wondering if the idea of work/life balance is just that; merely an idea, or whether it can be a reality.
When we’re waiting for things to ‘calm down’, we’re believing heavily in the fact that there will be calm and THAT’S when we should feel ok. When the fact of the matter is that life being calm and us feeling ok are two totally exclusive things.
Hear me out. Because I know A LOT of you might not agree with me.
There is no ‘right time’ except decided by YOU. There is no ‘balance’ as decided by you. Work / Life Balance is hoping to give credit to your feelings to your external circumstances being ‘calm.’
But, people, this is what we know to be true:
WE CAUSE OUR OWN FEELINGS. LIFE’S CIRCUMSTANCES DOESN’T CAUSE THEM.
So, YES, we will feel stress in our lives. We will feel like there’s just too much going on right now to start something new. And that’s ok for you to make a decision around. But just realize that all sorts of people all the time are resilient and calm amidst GREAT stress. And the thing to remember, too, is that ‘GREAT STRESS’ is different for everyone.
The cool thing about this is that it gives you a choice. To decide to put what you want at the forefront. To decide that, sure, your life might get more stressful if you have that third baby or take that job across the country or balance motherhood and entrepreneurship but that you CAN and you must decide what you want your days to look like even during times where more is going on that other times.
Do you know your threshold? Have you defined your boundaries? We have a limited supply of emotional energy. We have a limited amount of actual physical energy (otherwise we wouldn’t have to sleep– boy do I know that now as I have a 6 week old baby at home). We all have a limited supply of hours in the day.
My threshold currently is finishing this post before my baby screams because I just don’t want to live the life of someone who is trying to have a calm and thoughtful conversation with you while a baby is hoping for my attention. So I’m focused. I’m dedicated. I’m all in on this conversation because I know my time will be up soon.
I can handle lots of things. And I also know that Liv will cry and need me. None of that is surprising so I don’t have drama about it. And none of that is about balance. It’s about deciding what to do ahead of time so that what’s important to me gets taken care of. AND staying focused during the times I set up for those tasks so I can choose to move from one to the other confidently.
If work / life balance, beginning a passion project or business, or being a mom and launching a big project sound like things you want to know about, then please join us in a discussion about how you being something BIG with an already-full schedule with our latest guest in our Happy Hour Chats.
Nicole Parker is a mother, boss, non-profit owner, full time Field Faculty Advisor / Clinical Instructor at Case Western Reserve University, & much more. Join us November 8th where she will share her own story of starting a nonprofit while having a pretty stacked set of priorities. You may or may not want to start a nonprofit, but what we do know is that finding time to do something BIG when you’ve already got a lot on your plate seems super challenging. Nicole inspires to do great things even when you don’t believe you have the time. Get your tickets here >>
About your author:
Krista Jordan is Director of Marketing & Sales for Cleveland Flea brands. She’s a new mom to Liv, born on September 16th of this year!
She’s getting used to this whole working mom life while living in Montana with her fianceé, Mitch and their dog.
She’s a true Cleveland girl who loves her city like no one else, and part of that involves enjoying monthly care packages from her #TeamFlea coworkers filled with favorites from Sweet Dish & Darling, Fat T’s Cookies, Salt & Light Coffee and Little Red Bird Custom Cookies.