Guilt, we all have it at some point. Guilt is all wrapped up with work/life balance. If we have a good balance the feeling of guilt eases.
We thrash the term work/life balance around….. Pretending we all achieve it perfectly with ease. But what is it? Is there a test to know when life is balanced and this is it, Am I doing it now? Working mothers talk to me about their guilt…often. It’s a tricky one so here are some thoughts.
This week we ran a seminar in London on Work/Life balance. It was very interesting even if I say so myself. I am going to share some of it here.
Work life balance came about in the 70’s. Before that people just grafted hard for as many hours as they could. In the 70’s people started to realise that there needed to be balance between work and life hence the term work/life balance.
Sometime I think we talk about work/life balance but it’s a bit of an unknown. Consider this, “daily achievement and enjoyment, including having pride in achievements, being satisfied and happy, being loved and having a sense of well being in each of the four quadrants of life which are; Work, Family, Friends and Self “ Anon. Sounds nice doesn’t it?
Sadly balance is not constant, despite our best intentions. What balances one person doesn’t balance the next person. We can’t just copy each other, that just wouldn’t work. However I do think we can take guidance or work out what’s best for us as individuals. That way we can find our way.
It’s funny but I often think its easier to see when balance is out rather than in. Most people are shy of shouting out “hey I have really good work/life balance”…..it’s just not done. Perhaps thinking about how it feels to be out of balance will make it clearer. Consider the following:
- You are merely getting through the day
- You are exhausted before the end of the week
- You are on a merry-go-round and want to get off
- You are falling behind and never catching up
- You are constantly anxious and struggling to sleep
To gain balance as working mothers we must understand that we are in control of our situations or even go as far as to say of our lives. You can ask yourself three questions:
- We all have drivers. What’s yours?
- We all have decisions to make. Have you made yours?
- We all have choices. What can you choose?
I am going to leave you with a thought. Be clear about your goals for achievement and enjoyment in the four quadrants of life. If you choose to be a working mum don’t beat yourself up with guilt. Think about the plus points of your situation. If you choose to be at home with the kids but hanker over your career, perhaps its time for a change.
Guilt is a horrible feeling so managing work/life balance with a bit more of a plan will see us effortlessly juggling work and family life. Hey presto!