Life Balance is an Ongoing Effort

by Melanie Edwards on February 7, 2012 · 2 comments

in life

Le ying et le yang du gravier

I guess some weeks have to be bad.

Those were the words my husband said this morning in response to me saying, “Oh, and last week was so good too!” I said that because yesterday I wasn’t feeling very well, then last night we had a really rough night with baby boy, and we’re exhausted. This is a dangerous combination that’s pretty much going to guarantee today will be hard to get through. I really needed a decent night’s sleep to get over how I was feeling yesterday so as to not repeat the cycle.

Quite the opposite, last week was good both personally and for my family. I was productive in work, we maintained our house’s condition, spent some nice family time together, and had a good week overall. I felt centered with my work-life balance. One day into this week, and we’re not off to a similar start.

My husband’s words got me thinking that the universe has a way of balancing itself. Just as it is said that for every good, there is a bad, perhaps we need to undergo imbalance to acknowledge when we do have balance in our lives. In order to appreciate life balance, we need to get through those days, or even weeks that aren’t so smooth. I suppose as long as you don’t let it consume you and learn to bounce back, it’s fine. We need to learn from those off days and be flexible. It’s apparent to me, yet again, that work life balance is a fluid and ever-changing concept.

Today I will try to have a better day despite my words and attitude early this morning. If I still don’t feel it’s a balanced day, I will take the time to think about what went right and be thankful for that. Then, I’ll try again tomorrow.

I’m learning that balance requires an ongoing effort.

How do you get past those days or weeks where your work-life balance is thrown off?

Photo by Raphaël Labbé

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Execumama February 8, 2012 at 6:40 pm

I’m so appreciate of this post, Melanie! As I’m sure you know, you are not alone.

To answer your question: I got past work-life balance woes by rejecting the idea completely.  It’s a myth for me, a painful one at that.

I struggled with this idea of work-life balance for years. I spent a lot
of time seeking out and interviewing other women/mothers/entrepreneurs
who’ve attempted to successfully implement the work-life balance philosophy. 

I found that most of us never get there, and that led me to conclude that what works best for me is the pursuit of harmony, not balance.  For me, it’s significantly different because balance was more about looking at good days versus bad days, time spent with my husband and children versus time spent with myself and my work, etc.  Those efforts left me feeling quite the opposite of “empowered” or “balanced” or “fulfilled”.

I now practice and teach about Work-Life harmony, which focuses on feeling fulfilled as opposed to being productive.  Fulfillment means being present, being compassionate with myself and others, releasing the need to adhere to a rigid structure around my day, releasing my children from that same rigid structure, and overall staying present so that I can work smarter, define time for my family, and release any guilt around serving myself in mind/body/business stuff.

I talk to my friends and clients (and strangers when I can!) about considering the shift from balance to harmony.  For many of them, it had the same effect it had on me: relief, guilt-release, and regular doses of work-life fulfillment.

I recommend giving it a mental whirl, and seeing if any of it feels worth trying out.

Thanks for sharing, and I hope you get some rest tonight!

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2 justicefergie February 10, 2012 at 3:25 pm

What I do is take a deep breath and recalibrate.  Which is exactly what happened to me yesterday when I was having a mini panic attack because my life was feeling out of whack.  So I try to step back and take a close look at what elements are causing me stress.  Is it that we’re always oversleeping and rushing for the school bus? Or is it that I haven’t planned out my dinner menus ahead of time so I am scrambling to throw a meal together at the end of the day when everyone is tired and cranky.  Yesterday it was that people calling me for advice or wanting to ‘meet for coffee’ were monopolizing my time – so I signed up for an online appointment service to manage that.

It’s alllll a work in progress!  Here’s hoping next week is more balanced for you :-)

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