Thursday, 29 November 2012

work-life balance, also known as LIFE

Having it all.

Just saying it out aloud makes me tired. Because I am tired. I've just recently gone from full time mum to working mum and I'm exhausted.

I'm new at this work-life balance thing. Well, maybe not. I mean what is work-life balance if not just life itself?

Working outside of the home, even part-time, IS harder than I thought though. It's quite the struggle to be on top of my game at work and at home and the learning curve is steep. I entered into this new life stage with the same arrogance that I did when I became a mum. "Millions of women do this - how hard can it be?"

Well, a bit harder than I thought as it turns out. I think I'm sucking at it.

I'm not good at doing things part-time. During my interview for my new job my boss remarked on the fact that I had spent the last 8 years raising my boys, at home, full-time. "Oh, you're an 'all or nothing' kind of person". Which I guess I am and I'm finding it tough to work out how to be a part-time home maker and a part-time employee. 

My washing is piling up. My filing is piling up. My guilt is piling up.

This is real and can be found on my spare bed.

I've run out of milk, eggs, bread, butter, cereal. I've missed my son reading at assembly. I've spot cleaned uniform shirts that I forgot to wash the night before. I've handed in forms late and I haven't organised a single class get together [shame on you Class Rep].

But it doesn't stop there. Oh no. I've dropped work balls too. Leaving unfinished jobs and missing things that need to be done.

It's become a lesson in humility. A hard lesson but I'm keen to learn. And I'm happy to share what I've learned so far. And this is it.

Having it all is all about perspective.

Here are 13 things I am grateful for when I am really down on myself for not getting the balance right.

1. Working part-time allows me to maintain my personal objective of never having to put the kids into childcare. 

2. Having a 'day off' mid-week really does feel like a 'day off' and I'm grateful for the quiet.

3. After 8 groundhog years I finally have a weekend again!

4. I feel supported by my family to return to work and this validates my choices.

5. I feel appreciated by my colleagues and it feels so good to be recognised by people, who have no affection for me, as someone worthwhile.

6. Earning my own money again is affirming.

7. I like that my boss tells me that I have 'a brain the size of a planet'

8. My boys see that Mum can work out of the home and do 'important stuff' too.

9. I am challenged again and I will always be grateful for any opportunity to learn.

10. When I drop the ball at home someone else picks it up and sometimes that someone is a 7 or 5 year old boy and that makes me so very proud... even if it's not the way I would do it.

This is how boys 'tidy up' the playroom. Just shove it all into the corner.

11. There's nothing quite like enjoying a homemade cafe latte in the quiet of the home you're working to pay off.

12. I now have 'washing days' and 'grocery days' and they are not my everyday.

13. I look forward to coming home and I can see past the mess and know a family committed to life lives here.

I do have it all. 

And I am grateful to know that.


  1. This is so inspiring Tanja - I have to take the time to think about your comments and realise that yes there is more!

    1. I'm so pleased to hear that you were inspired! Sharing stories is a great way to learn, grow and see life differently. Thanks for your comments. Tan x