Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Work-Life balance - HA!

Working part time and spending time with your kids is fantastic. It keeps you in touch with the adult world and lets you be with your kids while they are little.

Unless part time becomes full time with no change in the "life" bit of the work-life balance equation. Then what happens is you turn into a blithering idiot who yells at your kids and makes mistakes with work. Then you get to feel guilty, as well as stressed, tired and incompetent.

I mostly subscribe to guilt-free parenting. Everyone screws stuff up, as long as you keep looking for the better path, that's as much as anyone can ask for. When I realise what I'm doing isn't working, I just look for another approach. It's not failure, it's bootstrap parenting.

But if it's not my parenting that's wrong, but me - well that's not so easy to rationalise.

Work-wise, I've always been a big picture person. Attention to detail has never been my strong point. Right now it's non-existent. Anything I do I am trying to do in the absolute minimum time before I have to go pick someone up, or cook dinner or deal with a completely different set of clients. I don't have any staff that I can throw things at and say "Just check this for me please, I need a fresh set of eyes." And so all my mistakes are my own. And I just want to give in.

And then in the back of my mind is always this voice telling me I'm pathetic, I don't have that much to do, I'm just lazy. And I genuinely don't know if it's right. I mean, I am lazy. I always have been, but I've generally used that as a strength. Doing things as efficiently as possible, working fast in short bursts so as to maximise my fucking around time. Maybe I've pushed that all too far, justified all too much. And I do rather feel like I have lost perspective.

That's the trap. I know that the family is the most important thing, but the world at large regards the corporate world as the only thing that matters. So there is nothing to give. But doing a shitty job of all of it isn't exactly a solution.

So how to get perspective when I feel like I'm up to my ears in it? I've got a cleaner this week - I can't afford for her to clean the whole house, but anything she can do, I don't have to. I've made some work flow changes to reduce duplication. The school holidays will end. Hopefully something will make itself apparent. Unfortunately one can't take stress leave from family or your own business.


  1. Oh, I have been there. Actually, I was there yesterday, when I woke my daughter up and kissed her goodbye at the same time.

    If the family is the most important thing, then that has to be true for more than one person in the family. When one of us - and it's usually a woman - tries to meet everyone's needs, and everyone else only worries about their own needs, that way lies madness.

    But it's damned hard to keep all the plates in the air. Sometimes they fall on my head. No brilliant solutions, but lots of sympathy.

  2. Ariane you are doing an amazing job considering the mulitiple demands on you and your time. You may be feeling burnout from role overload!!! Not only are there a lot of plates spinning - they're heaped with responsibilities.

    It's true school holidays really are a drag, if you are trying to get some work done at the same time. Mr G and I have just survived 10 days - by tag teaming and taking some time off, but I know it's not easy with your own business.

    I reckon you deserve some time out - just for you. A day at least, to switch off, re-coup your energy and recharge your batteries... and yeah, no guilt.

  3. Thank you both for your support and sympathy. Some of the feeling of total loss of control has lifted, but more things need to change.

    There needs to be more discussion between me and hubby too. As soon as we are both in the same place at the same time without whinging kids and in a reasonable frame of mind I'll do that. :)