Work life balance, a modern myth?

I don’t like the phrase work life balance. I know it is a common and widely understood term and I get what it is supposed to mean. I constantly work on trying to make the different pieces of life fit together. I just don’t find the term very helpful. It makes me think of a see saw. It suggests that work and life are opposites – divided and in opposition to each other.

work life balance

It’s feels like quite a precarious image. It suggests that there is only one magical point where everything is in equilibrium. One step to either side and everything is out of kilter. It also suggests, to me anyway, that things are linear and that there is only one way to do things.

I have three kids a husband, a job, my blog, a family business and various other things in my life. My days are definitely not a finely balanced see saw with everything getting equal time and attention.

If I have a big project or deadline work will be a priority. Some days work doesn’t even enter my head as I enjoy my daughters class assembly, do messy play or look after one of my boys who is poorly.

Sometimes I compartmentalise things. I’m lucky that I have cast iron childcare arrangements so when I need to I can totally focus on work. I’m also very fortunate that I have the type of job that I can do quite flexibly. Although I realise that working part time and not always in office hours has an impact on my career. There are also benefits of my husband being self employed. He can be flexible with his schedule around school plays and sick children (although time spent not working does have a direct financial impact).

Sometimes the components of my life are all mashed together. I might think over a work problem while pushing the twins in their pram. I’ll have ideas during my working day for things to do with Sofia.

I’m really trying to think of a phrase that better sums up the blend of work and life for me.

To stick to playground images my experience feels more like a sandpit than a see saw. There is a finite number of hours and energy in my day (the edges of the sand pit). There are lots of different interests, responsibilities and tasks thrown in (that’s the sand). It is all mixed together or carefully made into separate piles of sand. The whole thing is constantly shifting and being shaped in different ways. I like the idea that when it is not working you can mix it all up again and try a different approach.

I guess you could call it finding a work life blend.

What are your thoughts on work life balance? Does life feel like a see saw or a sandpit to you? How do your make the components of your life fit together?

I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments section below.

14 thoughts on “Work life balance, a modern myth?

  1. The sandpit is a brilliant analogy! Sounds like you have a very full plate. Some days I don’t think I could fit another thing on my plate and I only have 1 baby, 1 husband, 1 dog and 1 blog. Going back to work at some stage in the near future is going to be a big pile of new sand for my sand pit!
    Robyn recently posted…A MOMENT’S PEACEMy Profile

    1. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. What I thought of after I pressed publish is that there is likely to be other people in your sand pit pitching in and helping you out. Life is very full but it is a team effort most of the time. Good luck with going back to work in the future.

    1. You do an amazing job Angela in challenging circumstances – really hope you get the medical support that you need soon.

    1. Thank you for stopping by and commenting – I hope you find something that works for you and your family.

  2. What an amazing way to look at it! I have a sandpit too…its just full of bloody toys haha! But seriously, I have always previously been questioned on appraisals and job reviews about work life balance, and whilst I never had the same picture in my mind as you describe, I definitely did think well what is a good balance?!?! One day play time comes first, and the work comes once their in bed, and others work has to get done so you adjust your usual parenting style to suit! Great post lovely xx
    Clare recently posted…Tyres, when did you last check yours?My Profile

    1. Thank you Clare. I like the idea that it is something that shifts and changes and there is no right and wrong approach – it’s more about what works for you and your family in the moment.

  3. Work life blend I like that. I work from home so when my children are here, so I guess it is more like a blend. Some days it’s all about them, some days I set them up with activities so I can work, sometimes they are part of my work. It’s a total juggle, but there are times when things swamp me, but other times I just love it. Great post.
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    1. Thank you – I think blend sounds less like an “either/or” choice which I think matches my experience a bit better.

  4. I love the idea of a work life blend. I like that the two work simultaneously together. Your life sounds so similar to mine. Pushing the pram and thinking of work, working and thinking of things to do. I love having my work life blended with my home life. It can be so difficult at times, but I feel lucky to have the opportunity to work hours that suit our family. x
    Chloe recently posted…ORGANISE YOUR BLOG #11 ULTIMATE DIARY FOR BLOGGERSMy Profile

    1. I walk so much with the boys – I think there is something about being in the open air that seems to trigger good ideas. You’ve done a great job at making your life as a mum your work.

  5. I would like to find out how to get that balance as at the moment I don’t have it at all!! I’m finding it very hard to organise myself. I have a lot going on at the moment but I think I just need a few days to switch off where I can rest and relaxed and perhaps after that I can come back with fresher ideas and hopefully a better balance between life and work. Great post!! 🙂 xx
    A Moment with Franca recently posted…#KCACOLS – 29th November 2015My Profile

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