I love my family, I really really really do.
But on some occasions they bring me to tears of rage. And rage for a woman on the 16th consecutive wine free day is a very brave place to go.
I’ve been talking more and more about work / life balance lately. If you sit around for long enough you’ll hear that I’m not particularly fond of the whole term. Simply because I believe it sets up expectations that just can’t be reached.
There is no work/life balance.
There are however commitments, priorities and choices.
My version of work / life balance starts with communication. The more effective the communication is within my family, the more we are able to understand one anothers’ needs. Certainly, taking the tween / teen dynamic in the house we understand the level of effectiveness is going to be skewed at some points (i.e. when my eldest had a complete meltdown when I asked him to create a shopping list this afternoon because he was too hungry).
But mums listen up.
No matter how guilty you feel at times, no matter how ‘bad’ you tell yourself you are being in your work / life balance the reality is that sometimes work will win out. Some days you just have to get through a pile of stuff like it or lump it. (I usually like it). And, families, sometimes your resident mum just needs your help so that she can get back to your every whim and fancy.
Now, in order to avoid the hairy eyeball my husband is likely to throw at me for writing this one I’d like to offer the caveat that he is making lunchboxes in the morning and is on most ocassions an above average carer of children and rounder-up-erer with high skills in keeping the troops moving. I’d also like to mention that he does shift work and on this particular occasion fell asleep while I was tidying up some work.
BUT, my darling children. That DOES NOT MEAN that you have a reason to freeze in time.
Tonight has been one of those nights I needed to work. Not begrudgingly but to ensure my day tomorrow runs smoothly. completely selfish, I realise but goodness me.
An hour and seventeen minutes since I’d left the dinner table I rejoined family life to discover to my horror…
The back door open letting mozzies in
The youngest child up and watching TV
The groceries still out on the bench
Dinner remnants scattered over the table
No dishwasher on
Chooks still out and hungry pets lining up my toes
The time was 8:40pm.
I didn’t need to say much
But for the first time in 6 months there was no pre-bedtime argument
Whether they were avoiding feeding animals
Or avoiding me
There were zzz’s being pushed out within 5 minutes of my discovery.
And it’s moments like these that with utter horror I imagine life while I’m on a business trip.
Does anything happen?
Or do they freeze in time until I return home?
Then I remember, actually things do seem to run pretty smoothly when I’m away
The complaints department (aka children) would certainly let me know otherwise.
So I question – why can’t they seem to do anything when I’m here?
And I realise aghast
It’s because I do near everything
And then I realise with a thumping heart…
That’s why husband tells me a cooked breakfast isn’t necessary every morning
It’s not about the nutrition, nor the effort – it’s about building the expectation
So, my darling children
It’s time for an experiment
I wonder what would happen if… You put your own toilet paper on the holder, if you packed your own lunchbox, if you hung up your own crumbled on the floor uniform, if you reminded yourself the bus was coming, told yourself when it was bedtime, polished your own shoes and cleaned up the little bits of plastic off your own floor.
It doesn’t mean I love you any less
In fact, let’s call it a ‘life lesson’ that shows my effort actually makes me love you more.
And that my friends is lesson number 1 in creating work / life balance
Delegation and responsibility.