Balance as defined in The Macquarie Dictionary
1.an instrument for weighing
2.a state of equilibrium
4.harmonious arrangement or adjustment
5.some used to produce equilibrium
6.the act of balancing; comparison as to weight, amount, importance
7.the remainder or rest
8.equality between the two totals
9.an adjustment of accounts
10.to be equal or proportionate to
11.to add up two sides and determine the difference
12.to make necessary entries in so that the sums of the two sides are equal
They are a lot of words to take into consideration.
Is balance one of those things that just happens when you are well… trying to balance?
Does it all just work out in the end?
Work/life balance is term that has been bandied around for quite a while and is perceived as the holy grail of our existence.
These definitions make it all sound succinct, methodical and compartmentalized.
I noticed how nowhere in those definitions did the words sacrifice or compromise get a mention. We can adjust, determine, compare, proportionate but in reality when we are talking about work/life balance we are talking about sacrifice and compromise.
1.a settlement of differences by mutual concessions
2.something intermediate between different things
3.an endangering, esp. of reputation; exposure to danger, suspicion etc
4.to settle by a compromise
1.the offering of life or some material possession
2.to surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim
3.the thing so surrendered or devoted
4.a loss incurred in selling something below its value
5.to make a sacrifice or offering of
6.to dispose of regardless of profit
There are not enough hours in the day, days in the week and weeks in the year to accomplish it all in a nice succinct categorized accordingly type fashion.
We want to produce good work for our employer but we want to always be available to our children.
We would like to exercise more, engage in cultural events, or simply do nothing for a lot longer and more often than we do.
Parents do what they can when they can. Some days it works like a swiss watch; other days well… you throw your hands up in the air.
Children have a way of throwing things out of balance and yet we endeavour to find balance in our lives. It could because we’ve put a man on the moon and eradicated some heinous childhood diseases; surely getting life to adhere to some sort of timetable shouldn’t be out of reach.
Not too many people can live their life with wild abandon with some consequence. We need order; we need to satisfy so many aspects of our lives.
But I don’t know too many people who have that work/life balance, or at least to the degree they find acceptable. Or if they do, how long do they keep it for before something goes askew?
I think a more accurate term is multi-tasking.
Multi – a word element meaning ‘many’
I don’t know who does one task at a time anymore. Honestly, even if I am in a work meeting my mind is mentally putting together a menu list for the week while keeping a keen eye on the clock so I can pick up one of the cherubs from training, dancing, music lessons.
1.to keep several objects in continuous motion
2. to manipulate or alter by artifice or trickery
I like the second definition; to manipulate. And we’ve all heard the term, ‘fake it till you make it’.
But in all seriousness being a parent is only one aspect of who we are. Just like whether you are in paid employment or currently a stay-at-home parent, is only one aspect of who you are. What is certain is that something, someone, somewhere needs to be tended to.
Our job as parent is at the centre of all this insanity but we’ve blown the theory of ‘supermum’ out the window years ago.
So maybe we should look at balancing over a 1 or 2 year interval. Letting the ebb and flow of life take its course and then judge on a whole just how balanced your life has been.
It’s a slow and steady race. Pace yourselves.
Maria is a former high flying corporate marketing guru who gave it all up for daytime television and tracksuit pants….oh and to raise her children.
Maria is a freelance writer of articles, scripts, marketing documents and one day, books. She is a wife, mother of four and draws much of her inspiration from her children and the crazy world she brought them into.
She blogs regularly on Mum’s Word (www.mariatedeschi.com/mumsword), where she discusses news, social issues and what it’s like to raise a family in the 21st century. Her aim is to make you think.