2014 · single mom

The Elusive Work-Life Balance (And Why It’s Total BS)

When I first entered PR school, I fantasized about my new career and how perfectly it was going to fit into my life and my dreams. I’d finally have the 9 – 5 lifestyle that just isn’t an option in food and beverage service, and I wouldn’t spend 10 – 14 hours standing every day. As a single parent, shift work became the enemy. Working super early mornings and late into the evening? No thank you.

I quickly realized that preschools and daycares only operate within “regular” hours – nobody caters to the shiftwork moms who are gone for 12 hours at a time, sometimes through the night. I needed this regular, 9-5 job. That was the ticket to the ever-elusive work/life balance.

HA! Reality, I quickly learned, doesn’t have a work/life balance and if you’re tearing your hair out and searching high and low, I invite you to stop. Sit down. Repeat after me: The work/life balance is bullshit. It does not exist.

If you’ve found a way to have this perfect work/life balance, I’ll first applaud you and then I’ll imagine how satisfying it would be to punch you in the throat because, for me, it will always be a juggling act unless I find a way to clone myself. And even then, I’ll still drop all of the balls from time to time. C’est la vie.

 

Image: http://www.the1thing.com/blog/multi-tasking/juggling-too-many-balls/
Image: http://www.the1thing.com/blog/multi-tasking/juggling-too-many-balls/

My work life balance usually looks like $10 because my life is eating up my work financially, and I’m going to bed at 8 pm because it’s free.

On a single income, I work a full time job, write part-time and have added Social Media Management and Marketing Strategist to my freelance resume. As a rule, right now, I’ve got more work than life and that’s OK. It really is.

I was recently approached to do some additional PR work and copy writing. If the money is there, I won’t turn it down so I’ll stay up late and take a little time away from my “life” side to put more time on the “work” side for a while.And when Mr Hockey Coach tells me he’s in town for a weekend or I’m off to Halifax to see him, I’ll get no work done and so you can see the shift and juggle, but not a balance.

I felt badly about not having the work/life balance for the better part of two years. Now? I explain to F that we may not have time to play on the playground today, but I make damn sure that I carve out an hour another day that week – even if it means I have to write my YMC post on the bathroom floor while F bathes or stay up until midnight doing dishes and laundry.

Moving forward, I know it’ll mean that I sometimes have to miss F’s soccer practice so I can prioritize him game days. It’ll mean we miss the movie in theatres, but we’ll turn our living room into a cinema and fire up the DVD player a few weeks later. And we might be eating toast for dinner because Mommy forgot to take something out of the freezer. We’ll survive though.

Life is a juggling act. Not a yoga pose – ask any Mom who’s had to abort garudasana to wipe someone else’s butt.

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