Work-life balance is an elusive unicorn that only some really get to enjoy… or so it seems.
It doesn’t have to be that way and I’m going to use Queen Bey as an example.
“You have the same hours in a day as Beyoncé”.
No, you don’t. Not even remotely close. Sure, you both have 24 hours hours in the literal sense… But she has a lot more time to focus on her brand because she has help and lots of it.
Help gives you time to do other things, plain and simple.
A truly healthy and happy work-life balance requires help somewhere because no one is capable of doing everything perfectly, despite how much they want to.
As a WAHM for the last 6 years, I can tell you that it is NOT POSSIBLE to be an effective and attentive parent while you’re working at your desk. That type of multitasking is just not possible to do well.
You also can’t work and sleep at the same time or sleep and play with your kids at the same time, but those examples are pretty obvious. Something has to give.
Work-life balance falls into 4 basic categories:
- Must Do Tasks
You can do a mediocre job at all four or choose to do three really well. The third option is to outsource portions of your work and must do tasks. Then you can do all four and do a kick butt job at it.
If you think I’m wrong, just take glance at a typical work day for me. I don’t even commute!
- Sleep- 8 hours
- Work- 8 hours
- School related tasks (getting ready/drop off/pick up)- 1.5 hours
- Kid activities (gymnastics/soccer/swimming)- 1.5 hours
- Meals (eating and prep)- 1.5 hours
- Gym- 1 hour
- Basic grooming- 30 minutes
This leaves me just 2 hours a day to somehow do laundry, dishes, clean the house, pay bills, and grocery shop if necessary. I also need have meaningful quality time with my husband and children. I’d also like to spend time with my girl friends, but that’s a rare treat.
The time just isn’t there to do everything and the first thing to suffer is usually relationships simply because you can’t physically see the damage being done. (Damage) out of sight, out of mind kind of deal.
Like I said earlier, you can achieve work-life balance by getting and asking for help. Help with your work and help with basic time consuming tasks.
When my children were much younger, I hired a housekeeper and sitter twice a week and also decreased my work load. My husband also started chipping in a little extra during the week so we could fully focus on family time on the weekends.
However, this was only after I had spent months being sleep deprived and emotional because I didn’t feel like I was “enough”. I was trying to do everything and doing a pretty terrible job at it. I was overwhelmed, overworked, overtired, and my family suffered for it.
There is freedom in saying, “No, I CANNOT do it all. I need help.” I outsource like my clients outsource their editing and retouching to me.
My husband and I have worked out a great system for household chores and errands. If our daily to do tasks become too much, I hire help around the house. I’m not ashamed to admit that we’ve had housekeepers. They’re worth every penny to me!
Do I have the perfect work-life balance? Of course not, but it’s pretty darn close and I know it’ll get even better. There will always be a part of me that wishes I could do more of one thing and less of another. Thankfully, I’m realistic and understand that I CAN do everything, but I’ll need a little help doing so and that’s 100% okay.
I do my best to maximize my time at work so I can cut my work day short whenever possible. I devote my weekends to my family to make up for any time lost during the week. Most importantly, I ask for help before things get too crazy.
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