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Monday, August 24, 2009

Work Life Balance- Does such a thing really exist?

This morning I received an email from my friend T. today thanking me for giving her a referral to a blogging program. At the end of her note she requested that I write a blog post about organization. I had to chuckle. Organization? Me? I need to ask for tips and pointers in this area myself. I am far from being organized. There are days when everything seems to fall into place for me and I go to bed with a sigh of relief. Then there are the days when I run around like a chicken with its head cut off and wonder what happened to the time and did I really get so little accomplished.

I know that what I need is balance. A life that is filled with a balance of work and play. Finding that balance as a mother and an entrepreneur is difficult. Working from home has benefits but there are seriously challenges to overcome too. I liken it to having adult ADD. Although I do not in actuality have this diagnosis, working on my computer all day (and sometimes night) it is very easy to get distracted. Ooooh what is that over there - it is pretty and sparkly and wait, what was I doing again? Confusion abounds and chaos and disorder are frequently the order of my day. Somehow I manage to get "things" done but honestly my to-do list continues to grow and rarely can I say that it is completely finished. I admit that many times I am totally overwhelmed and just don't see a way out from under all of my responsibilities. And sometimes, I fail. I fail to be the neatest housekeeper, I fail to get all of my work done, my son sometimes watches more television that I like to admit.

I recognize that my struggle is not mine alone. I think most mothers are trying to find a work life balance - even if their work is being a domestic engineer. I recently was given a lifeline when I met Victoria. She is one of the moms that I interviewed while working with The Motherhood as a correspondent for Kelloggs and Mom's Homeroom. I was awed by Victoria and all of her accomplishments. Victoria is an elementary school teacher and was awarded "teacher of the year" in 2007. She is also a single mother to 4 children. As I struggle to manage it all with one child and a husband I HAD to ask her how she does it all. Her response was simple "I don't."

Can we breath a collective sigh here? This accomplished woman simply decides to give herself a break and makes no apology for it. She told me that many mothers look at balance as a see saw that teeters from one side to another but in reality it is more like a Frisbee floating on the surface of a pool. The Frisbee dips and bends as gentle waves pass in the water. In essence, some days are better than others, accept it, do what you can and move on.

I have to say that her words echo in my psyche often. I am working on trying to dispel the myth of the Super Woman/Mom that all (or at least) many of us hold ourselves up to. It is not realistic or sustainable and in many instances it ends up being detrimental to our health. I think that we can all learn from Victoria's insights. When you have an opportunity stop by and listen to some of her words of wisdom, this woman never ceases to amaze me.





22 comments:

Wifey said...

Sounds like Victoria is right on point - I'll have to check her out. There's no such thing as superwoman. Setting REALISTIC goals and to do lists helps me; and giving myself credit for all the things that I do get done instead of focusing on what I don't.

Winks & Smiles,
Wifey

TRochelle said...

This is the most profound post. I am just speechless. I am a work at home mom of 4 who homeschools. My middle name can be overwhelmed sometimes. I find myself sitting amongst a pile of clothes that I have washed and dried but forgot to fold and put away, and I just sigh and yell for the kids to help pick up the slack. Between my own blog, finding work at home for others, freelance blogging, and freelance editing I always forget about the simple things. What am I cooking for dinner? Forgot to clean the bathroom. What appointment for who? I get so tangled up in my day that I have to get creatively unconventional to survive. I was sitting here reading your post and made a commitment to ease my life. If I would do little things like toss the mail in the trash instead of letting it build up, I could release a lot of stress. I have cleared away a pile of old bills (paid) and junk that was almost the height of a toddler. I felt a little relief. Then I decided to tackle my coupon binder again. What did I forget to do, work. Like both you and Victoria have already discovered, I am not superwoman nor do I want to be and I am okay with that!

God that felt good. I am going to make that my morning mantra so that I remember that my chaos is my life and without it, I'm just not living lol!

T.Allen-Mercado said...

In a word, yoga. Yoga has best helped me see my life as a practice; a work in progress with continual gains and losses. I have stopped pushing my body and my mind, but rather gently and mindfully setting a pace that is both attainable and rewarding. Above all, I know that I am no good without large doses of solitude, so I make it a point to avoid the world (unplugged, friend-free, kid free) for a few hours a week, days a month to replenish, I come back invigorated and moreover focused.

Jamie said...

Thanks for this....

Fruitful Vine2 said...

I still hang on to the myth even though I say that I know I can't do it all. Most times I just let the chips fall and just make sure that the priorities are taken care of. Then there are the times when I don't pay attention to the priorities like today and I spend whole day on the computer except for meal prep and bathroom breaks and when hubby stepped in the door. What am I to do really? Be human I guess :)

On another note I'm inviting you to enter my Blogoversary giveaway. To celebrate my 2nd year blogging I'm giving away 2 gifts to 2 commenters on the giveaway post. Come on over. I'm looking forward to seeing your entry.

Have a wonderful afternoon.

Christine Anderson said...

Renee...I appreciate this! After the weekend of trying to clean the entire house, spend time with the kids (together and separately), work in the garden, work on my stationery and try to blog, etc., etc. I felt like I was running around so much I only accomplished a few of the many things. Trying to be the "supermom" is tiring! You want everything to be spotless, but I have two kids and running a paper business out of the home and everything else...it is not possible.

I will have to keep reminding myself that good enough is going to have to be good enough and do what I can (womanly possible!).

Thanks for the reminder. I will have to check her out!

Have a great week!

Tooj said...

I wish that I had the time to sit and organize a chart for to-dos.....wait, I do. At work. :) Maybe I'll get started on that tomorrow. I just feel so guilty if I'm sitting there obviously writing things of a personal nature. Like my son's thank you notes from his birthday party. I think we're one year away from him writing the entire things, but for this year...he'll just sign it. Oh, what was I saying? To-do list. Laundry. I need to go switch out the loads. And maybe load a couple of dishes.

Naomi said...

You always make me feel so much better!

African American Mom said...

This post was right on target as I sit here looking at 3 piles of clothes that need to be folded. After reading this, my new outlook is: Hey! we got clean clothes!

Thanks, Renee!

Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy said...

Oh honey, I hear ya on this one! being a work from home mother, wife and crazy person makes it very difficult to do it all and feel balanced. But I do my best, and that's all I can do.

Laurie said...

I love this post. I am actually good at recognizing that I can't do it all, or even close to all really. It's only when I step back and look at things from someone's else viewpoint that I wonder if I'm not making the right choices or whatever. Gotta remember to keep some perspective BUT realize that as long as my kids are happy and I'm happy that the rest will just get done when it gets done! And totally need to get back into some yoga each day - thx for the reminder in T's comment!

Rona's Home Page said...

I don't believe one can be "balanced". Something is always being avoided. It's extremely hard to come to terms that one can't do it all.

Christie-The ChatterBox said...

I like the frisby analogy. We have to give ourselves a break and realize that life just happens. I have had to come to this realization many many times. The serenity prayer works wonders. So does cussing a blue streak...but that's another story.

Christie-The ChatterBox said...

I like the frisby analogy. We have to give ourselves a break and realize that life just happens. I have had to come to this realization many many times. The serenity prayer works wonders. So does cussing a blue streak...but that's another story.

Christie-The ChatterBox said...

I like the frisby analogy. We have to give ourselves a break and realize that life just happens. I have had to come to this realization many many times. The serenity prayer works wonders. So does cussing a blue streak...but that's another story.

pictures of cakes said...

I believe it exists if you make it exist. Push on and organize absolutely everything, because you need to know for sure what needs doing and when, even the little things. You should check out a book called "Getting Things Done".

Felicia - I complete Me said...

Since becoming a mom I have threw out the word balance in my life. Similar to what Victoria said I saw balance as a scale and having everything done at the same time and being happy. That only lead me to fall into the Supermom Trap. I become unhappy, and found that I really wasn't balancing anything. I felt as if I needed to be able to do it all since I am married with only two kids and my mom was a single mom of 5 doing it all (What was I thinking?).

I too am more relaxed with on myself and have realized once I nurture "Me" that I can be everything to my family. I help other moms accomplish this as well, through my life coaching (www.icompletemecoaching.com).

Remember we don't have to do it all at the same time, as long as it gets done.

Petula said...

I must say that we are all super women/moms in a different sense of the word. We recognize that we can't do it all and need to find balance. We can take off our capes with reminders like this post and heave a sigh of relief that another mom has reminded us again to take a breath and not be so hard on ourselves. Thanks Renee for the reminder.

We don't always do what we should for our children and our partners (if we have them). We don't always clean up and remember to fix dinner on time. And sometimes the dishes just sit in the sink while you try to find the information you put on your desk for a project you're working on.

We must be gentler on ourselves for longevity and use our nurturing spirit to encourage each other and ourselves. Like Renee did today. :)

Nanny Dee said...

Perfect post! Moms are the ultimate multitaskers, but it's not possible to do equally well with every task. It's okay to let some unimportant things slide and not feel guilty about it.

I also love your mention of working on the computer as being distracted by pretty shiny things -- so true -- there are a million things to do once you get online.

Jewelry Rockstar said...

Love this! I gave up supermom long ago. I delegate, hire out, order out, check out, and give and take time outs. I don't feel guilty about any of it. The most important thing is that each of us in the house feels loved. So what if we have feel it while eating a publix sub in a dusty room.

Jewelry Rockstar said...

Love this! I gave up supermom long ago. I delegate, hire out, order out, check out, and give and take time outs. I don't feel guilty about any of it. The most important thing is that each of us in the house feels loved. So what if we have feel it while eating a publix sub in a dusty room.

Mary said...

I try to live by a very similar philosophy. For me, the problem is that so many around me can't seem to embrace it. In particular, my husband often falls prey to the belief that everything HAS to get done. This difference in philosophy can really causes stress. However, I stand by my belief that this way of life works for me and for my children and will just continue to try to compromise with those around me.

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