Work, Life, Career and Family…

9 Mar

A friend wrote in a Mom’s facebook group that I’m a part of,

Work-life/career-family “balance” (or should I say “juggling”): How do working moms feel about it? Do you always feel like you’re always trying to catch up at home and at work? Or, how have you learned to manage it to your satisfaction? Do you cut out everything else from your life? And how did it change when you had more than one child (or did it prevent you from having more than one)?

I’d like to stay in my career (and it seems really hard to stay home full-time too), but it sometimes feels like I’m not going to do either particularly well.

I suppose this is a question for stay-at-home moms too, since presumably most of you worked before deciding to stay home – what made you decide that it wasn’t worth sticking around at your job? Seems like I’m always thinking about this!

For you Moms (and Dads, too), does this sound familiar?

My response was this:
“I think that often we think that we have to “succeed” at being both the perfect “full-time” working adult and the perfect “full-time” working mom. But in reality you just can’t do both perfectly “full-time”. It’s just not possible. You only have a limited amount of time and energy and self to give before everything falls apart.

First thing is we have to let go of some of the guilt of doing everything and doing to a level of “perfection” that everyone else seems to be doing it at (it’s all a farce really). You can be a good employee, a great (meaning, trying your best) mom and have a house that doesn’t send cockroaches running for cover… but forget being employee of the month, model/make-everything-from-scratch/activity-director-for-all-your-kids-activities type of mom and having a house that looks like it came out of a magazine (unless you have some serious help or your kids are much older and help out a lot.)

Second, for a lot of us (those working full-time, working part-time or working at-home/SAHM included and have toddlers) we’re in a season where we might be focused more on one side of the coin than the other. And that is OK. Life in general comes in seasons. For the season of “my kids are young”, your outside life might seem non-existent. Just consider it as a bit of a “social winter” (although hopefully you still have some mommy networks, play dates and your kids have friends, I don’t recommend complete isolation) where everything “extra” is cut out of “life”. But there will be a time when you’ll know it’s time to jump back into things.

Overall, it is very much a balance and (some pre-planning/forethought doesn’t hurt either). Saying that you’re juggling Work/Career, Life and Family seems more like we’re just trying to get through the day/the season… but that doesn’t sound too fun, fulfilling or enjoyable for anyone. Instead we should embrace each season for what it is and enjoy it. Soon it will pass and we can never have it back.”

Also, I wanted to add a quick afterthought (and I am guilty of this myself) – but we Moms (and Dads) must remember to be good parents we do have to focus on (in this order… it’s important) 1. Our walk with God (and some healthy “me” time), 2. Our marriages 3. Our kids/family and then 4. Our work/career. Otherwise what’s the point of our all busy activities if we to lose sight of why we’re doing it all in the first place. Am I right or am I right?

What other words of advice or wisdom would you add? Or if you find yourself struggling in how to balance Work, Life and Family, what is the hardest part that you face?

2 Responses to “Work, Life, Career and Family…”

  1. Gianna Elise Adams March 9, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    Love this! And I SO needed this reminder today. I can just ‘be’ the best I can in whatever circle, season or arena I am in right now. Whew! Thanks for putting it so succinctly!

    • Gilda Spencer March 9, 2011 at 6:56 pm #

      I’m glad it spoke to you!

      I remind myself this everyday, otherwise I’d probably go crazy. I think we are easier on ourselves saying we do the best we can when “working”, especially when there’s an obvious limit of time, energy and resources. Yet, we need to practice it more at home, because the same limits apply. No need to add guilt to all the important things we’re balancing when trying to make our homes the best place for ourselves and our families.

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