Two questions to throw out to all the mums out there…hands up who values being a mum? Hands up who values going to work? So if you do value both of these things, how do the two work well together? This is a balance I continue to work out. As a large proportion, but not the sole bread winner, there feels a responsibility thrown in as well. And then, being “mum” there lies a massive responsibility with that. So how does one manage both things well? As I mentioned in last weeks blog, I am a perfectionist. This means it can be tough to do anything not quite perfectly. A typical trait of perfectionists: if you don’t think you can do it perfectly then there is little point doing it at all! (A very annoying trait too!) So when there are two areas of your life which demand so much of you how can you give to both to do your utmost best without facing total burnout?!
Ah, the old work/life balance. A very familiar term. A very well spoken about theme. But, what is the secret? How do you get a good work/life balance when life is kinda work too? I guess it comes down to the word I started with…values. If both work and mum-life are something we value, we can make it work. It might be a very conscious decision somedays, but that is ok!
I guess another thing I find as a perfectionist is I like things to be fairly clean cut – where work ends, life begins. I like my home to be a place that work is not a part of. However, this past year has certainly brought a change to that and with so many more of us working from home I imagine a lot of us have had to make adjustments to facilitate. When asked “what is work”, what immediately springs to mind? Is it hard slog and labour, a drain and something you have to go to, or something that enriches you, grows you, or something that serves others and makes their lives easier?
Ha! Real life mum hood – that blog was totally interrupted with a trip to A&E for Awena. Turns out she has croup. And that is when motherhood becomes all of those things – Monday night was hard work; it was late, there was waiting around, there were two girls to manage (Poppi had to come too as I was home alone), it was a slog, it was something I had to do. But surely it also enriched me; it made me stronger as a person, it gave me a chance to exercise patience (this became increasingly difficult as it got later and Poppi was SO fidgety (probably expressing her own anxiety). And it was definitely an opportunity to serve others (i.e. my kids!). I guess what I’m trying to say is work can be life too. It doesn’t have to be something so different.
My day job (when I’m not being a mum but a play therapist) is also something which can be really hard work. But it also grows me as a person and I really hope serves others (in a good way). But, how does making work life and life work help manage a work/life balance? Again, I think it comes back to values. Work and life can both be things we enjoy and, at times, prioritise. There may be seasons when one takes the front line more than the other. By understanding these seasons and setting our values accordingly we can manage both more harmoniously. It’s when one consistently dominates that we run into feeling overworked in one and neglectful in the other.
So, maybe all I’m saying is that every now and then it’s good to take a rain check! An ability to be self-aware and note what really matters can sometimes give us the answer. This week I wanted to get a blog out on Monday. It’s now Wednesday. Family took priority. This was shelved for another day. Now here it is.