Work/life balance – juggling til you drop

Having tried to work from home the last couple of days has really put the whole work/life balance riddle (or joke) right in my face.  Trying to be superwoman (mother, working/career woman, wife, dogsbody) just seems to get harder and harder.

Just writing this post is an example of the constant juggle between roles. I wrote the first sentence and half at 5.30pm, and then stopped to make tea. I have to say I am one of those lucky women whose other half usually cooks, and I am exceptionally appreciative of this. Except that he hasn’t been available for 3 of the last 4 days to wield the spatula – taking advantage of the fact that I’ve been home to work overtime.

During the making of the meal, kid1 had numerous questions re homework. “How do you spell ‘taught’?” “What equipment do you need for abseiling?” “What’s a crustacean?”

Kid2 retired to bed early – having come home from school early due to ongoing illness. MotH rocked up at 7.10pm, which was good timing as the TV repair man, who was due at 6 but showed at 6.50, wanted a hand to lift 50k TV out to his van. Having been to the osteopath on Tuesday for bad neck/back/hips, I wasn’t really wanting that job. MotH ably assisted, allowing me to jump in the car and head off to the Catechetics class for kid1 (though parents seem to do most of the work).

Back in the front door at 8.30pm, to listen to kid2 read out loud (“it’s worth double points, Mum!”), organise pain relief and hot water bottle for kid1, and finally return to blogging at 9.10pm. Unfortunately after all this, the dishes still need to be washed and school notices need to be filled out, and I see Virtually a librarian has similar issues – though she’s Wonder Woman. (What I’d do to have an invisible plane at times!!!!)

I know I’m grumbling, and that I shouldn’t. It has very much been my choice to have 2 children, and work full time, and try to play a significant role in my children’s education and well-being. The grumbling stems from my knowledge that at times I perform all roles inadequately – especially wife, which seems to be priority 3 after work and kids.

I find consolation in a very clear acknowledgment I am only one of many superwoman-wannabees. I work with them and have many of them as friends.

It is on a more positive note that I’ll finish this post, with an addendum:

  1. I promise tomorrow’s blog will not be an ‘I’ blog – enough of me, there are far bigger issues in the world, even closer to home deserve my attention and concern.

8 thoughts on “Work/life balance – juggling til you drop

  1. Please don’t apologise for the ‘I’ posts. I’m really learning stuff from your blog. Tonight’s made me laugh although I realise that’s not your intent : – ) “It’s double points Mum”. The honesty of your posts are keeping me thinking about things I might psych myself up to say online at some point (still hiding behind library issues at present).

  2. It’s great to hear this stuff. I don’t have a husband or kids (yet) but the whole superwoman/wonderwoman thing is something I know I CAN’T do – and so I’ve almost been writing husband/kids out of my future coz I know I wouldn’t be able to do it 100%. Having someone be honest with it is good to hear. Thanks.

  3. I hear you loud and clear. I dropped from 4 days down to 2 days a week when I took my current job. I still have twinges about not being able to balance study, parenthood, work, a marriage and my own desire to just sit still and be… or even sleep more than 6 hours per night. When I was trying to do it all, I felt like I was failing because I was so tired and spread thin. Now that I’m not trying to do it all, I’m feeling like I’m failing because I couldn’t keep up the pace. I do know that I have a better relationship with my kidsnow and am getting more from my parenting …. but I wish there was a way to live two or three conflicting paths at the same time…

  4. I agree- don’t apologise for the ‘I’ posts. The ‘worldy’ issues and the ‘self’ issues are all linked anyway in how we try to live our lives 🙂 As someone who probably will end up having a partner + kids while working full time in the future, it is interesting for me to learn how different people are coping with this balance now and what it means to them. FTR, I think you are doing a fabulous job.

  5. no, no, i’m *not* wonder woman! (much as i’d like to be!) i have extreme respect for the wonderful women i know who work so hard to balance it all. we’re so tough on ourselves. would anyone else expect of us what we expect of ourselves?

    i don’t have the whole answer, but i reckon i’ve got part of it: we need to be kind to ourselves, and to cut ourselves some slack.

    thanks for an honest post!

  6. strawberriesofintegrity says:

    I heard someone recently say it’s not a work-life balance at all- balance implies we are constantly trying to achieve an equilibrium. It’s more of a pendulum – some times work is more important, sometimes children, sometimes you. I think women, on the whole, are very good at multitasking – but we seem to try ever and ever harder to do more, prove more. We DO need to be kind to ourselves.
    I loved your post BTW. I could visualise your evening so well.

  7. No really – these are some of the big issues that you blog about! Balancing work with family and other commitments is highly relevant. I so hear what you are saying. I also work full time (by necessity not choice), have 2 kids by choice (3 and 6), am married, have the responsibility for domestic duties etc. I fail miserably at super woman too.

  8. Sue says:

    @penny @justgirlwithshoes I was wondering why we try to do it all and be superwomen when we have partners? Why do you “have the responsibility for domestic duties etc” when you have a partner and you both work full time? When my husband was retrenched last year one good thing happened. He took on all the domestic duties by necessity and only after a “little” prodding. But he hasn’t dropped them all again after finding work and we share them better now. I did find myself trying to do it all before this and wondering why. Maybe it’s up to us to to prod our partners more to share the work and set good example for our sons. (But I acknowledge sometimes this expectation is unreal too)

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