I decided to make this type of post a “Conversation” because I really want to hear from YOU! I’m not the expert of everything and expert level in very few things if I’m being real, so it doesn’t make sense for me to tell you the right way to think about this subject. In fact, this is one of those topics that it really helps to hear lots of great thoughts, input, and feedback, then digest it all and come up with what makes sense for you. When I look things up online, I don’t just go to one source, I find several and take all the ideas into consideration before coming to my own conclusion.
Let’s do that! The only way this works is if you’re not afraid to speak up and share your thoughts on the subject. If they’re the same as everybody else’s thoughts, that’s valuable because it shows someone else that many people feel the same way. If your thoughts are completely different, that’s valuable because we need all the angles to think through and you might show us another way of thinking about the whole thing. How to speak up? Comment directly on the post, leave comments on the shared post in Facebook or Twitter, and if I can manage to get the conversation going on Facebook Live, you can comment there too.
It’s a term that’s e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e. these days. What does it mean? Supposedly there is some sort of perfect balance between devotion to your work life and devotion to your family life that means you will achieve ultimate success in all aspects of life. I’m not saying that some of you might not have achieved something close to it, but I do know that nobody’s perfect so maybe we should stop trying to chase an unrealistic goal for ourselves.
I’ve noticed that the term Work-Life Balance seems to be directed mainly at women. Not that men don’t have balancing to do, but it does seem harder for women who are working and also trying to raise a family.
The definition of Work-Life Balance mentions proper prioritizing between career/ambition and lifestyle. I have a few issues that come to mind when I read that definition.
- Issue #1: “Proper prioritizing” implies that there is a perfect ratio of “work” to “life.” I’ve already said that perfection can’t be achieved, but I also think it’s incorrect to think of this as one simple ratio. Don’t these things blend together? Isn’t working part of living? And vice versa? Maybe this is like thinking of how much oil with how much vinegar to make salad dressing – sure, there’s a recommended ratio but even if you don’t get it perfect it all mixes together and you’re really just concerned with the flavor.
- Issue #2: Work-Life Balance only applies to people (I’m talking about women here) with careers/ambition. This makes it seem like only women with a career are the ones who “work.” Are you a woman, especially a mother? Then you work, my friend. And work hard! Whether you’re at home, at an office, working online, working in the home, home-schooling, cooking, cleaning, taking care of family, driving kids around, you are working and you also have a need for balancing all those responsibilities with putting the focus on loved ones (and yourself) and truly experiencing and enjoying life! And those things don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
- Issue #3: The definition suggests that achieving balance may look similar for each person. I don’t live your life. You do. What defines balance and proper prioritizing to you will not be the same as what defines balance to me. It’s about finding what works for you and your family in the life that you are living right now. Should you make an effort to find some balance? Yes, it’s worth looking into and making some shifts when necessary, but what you need to do right now is not the same as what your neighbor needs to do and that’s okay. And how you find balance in your life right now will not be the same as how you need to find it 5 years from now. It’s a constant shifting around depending on the circumstances of your life.
But those are just my initial thoughts. I wonder if we really even need this term at all. We always want to find a balance between all of our responsibilities in life, whether it’s work, play, or rest, but maybe finding balance is illusive. Is the term work-life balance just causing stress where it isn’t even needed? Is it truly a term meant only for those working in jobs outside the home and figuring out how to devote proper amounts of time to each priority in life? If we focus on family first, will all the rest of it fall into place?
What do YOU Think?
I don’t have the answer ready for you. I want to hear your thoughts and I think a lot of women are wondering about this, too. And hey, if you’re a guy, we need your feedback, too, and whether you think this term is meant for all or targeted to women. Chime on in with your feedback! Here are some questions to get the conversation started:
- Do you agree with the basic definition of work-life balance or do you feel it should be expanded to include all types of work, not just careers and ambition?
- Do you think the term is a good one to help us think about how we prioritize our time or do you think it’s causing us to stress out unnecessarily?
- As far as balance in life, do you have some thoughts about how everything in our lives should be prioritized?
- Have you found balance in your life and family and if so, how did you find it? Is it always shifting?
- If you work outside the home, do you find that it is more difficult to make time for other priorities than it would be if you were at home?
- Do you think people are working too hard/too many hours in general and that lifestyles and families are suffering because of it?
- Should there be a different term for the overall balance in life that includes more than work? What would you call it?
Please do share your thoughts and feedback! I really want to hear it all and I know that others will be interested in what you have to say. Thanks for joining in the conversation, friends!