A New Approach to Work Life Balance
As a corporate executive with four young boys, alongside a husband who was climbing the ladder in his own career, our lives have felt out of balance on plenty of occasions. The term work-life balance has been thrown around so much throughout the past couple decades, that there were times I felt like a failure for thinking we hadn't achieved the holy grail that sat at the intersection of parenting and career.
In today's fast-paced and demanding world, achieving a perfect work-life balance can seem like an elusive goal, especially for working moms. It's like balancing on a tightrope or trying to keep both sides of a seesaw constantly and flawlessly mid-air. At it's core, work-life balance is a traditional concept rooted in rigidity and expectations that may not always be feasible or realistic. In this scenario, we're trying to get to the point where everything is perfectly aligned. How often are our lives ever truly perfect? Even if you do happen to accomplish this magical feat, it will be short lived, making you feel as though you have failed once it's even slightly out of balance.
I remember a particular time when I was feeling defeated. A mentor of mine, who had once been where I was with her own kids and career, shed light on my unrealistic expectations. I quickly realized I was chasing the wrong perspective. She guided me toward a much more attainable view of the two aspects of a working mom's role by reframing the narrative. Rather than chasing the near-impossible ideal of work-life balance, which will leave us constantly feeling as though we are falling short, she encouraged me to strive instead for an integration of the two. A blend.
With a work-life blend mentality, we know there will be some moments where work takes priority based on project load, career trajectory, team members on maternity leave, and so on. But there will be oh-so-many moments when family comes first and you cut out of work a little early because your kid has a doctor's appointment or a parade at their school during the day.
Our children and families are not to be compartmentalized, as the word balance might suggest. Rather, they're always with us - either physically or in our hearts and minds - and we have the ability to weave their needs in and out of our days as needed when approaching our role of a working mom from a perspective of blending. It's a mindset that allows for grace and flexibility. A more flexible and integrated approach that recognizes the interconnectedness of their professional and personal lives.
Viewing your role as a working mom from the lens of blend and integration acknowledges that life is fluid and empowers working moms to embrace the complexity and richness of their unique journeys. And isn't that what we all want? The ability to maximize our time, talents and treasures in a way that makes sense for us. Everyone's blend will look different, and that's what makes the motherhood journey so special.