April 23, 2004

Work/Life Balance

(finally figured out how to put titles up!)

So, I was right -- I totally missed the lunch. I am told that she was a very good speaker. Ah, well.

One of the many (well, one of the two) comments I received touched on the issue of work/life balance. How do you achieve it? You don't, really. You cheat. All the time. Either you are taking time away from your kids or your work. In the end, there is not much time left for yourself and when you take that, you know you are depriving either children or wife.

And I think I do mean depriving. Let me take my daughter, for example. I have seen studies which I have found credible that suggest that girls who have a healthy and strong relationship with their fathers have a better life -- more likely to stay in school and less like to marry a dirtbag or end up in an abusive relationship. You see, these studies found, a girl is less likely to enter a relationship looking for the love she didn't get from Daddy if she actually had a Dad who made it clear that she was loved all the time and without reservation. So, deprivation because I feel a responsibility to make sure my daughter doesn't end up making a bad choice out of the fact that she had a poor relationship with me (perhaps through my own neglect) or because I did not spend enough time with her making sure that she has a strong enough personal values system to make good decisions in morally ambiguous situations.

So, where does that leave you? You prioritize your kids because they need you and you have serious responsibilities there, not to mention the fact that most of the time they make your heart go ~squish~. You prioritize work, because it pays the mortgage and the bills and because you have duties that you owe to your clients -- they depend on you to represent them to the best of your abilities. Where are you in this?

For me, I've come to rely on the quiet time on the train home from work when I can just read to myself or catch up on the enormous to-do list that runs my life. Thank goodness for the train. You have enforced time that you can't be with anyone -- its like time caught in the interstices of your day. But a half an hour a day is really not enough to recharge batteries.

Equally, where is your wife? Remember her? She needs time and attention and you need her time and attention because you know that she is struggling with the same issues you are with respect to time management. And if you don't find time to be with her, than what was the point of the exercise in the first place? Besides, you may never have sex again! At best, you may get to go out once a week for dinner and you try really hard not to spend that time discussing logistics for the coming week and all the garbage that remains on the master to-do list, because, that is not a relationship. And frankly, come Friday, you might even be too damn tired to go out at all.

So, you cheat. You steal time from one to give to the other. And it probably isn't enough in any sense. But its the best you can do and you hope its enough.

I suspect every parent in America is struggling with this. I certainly had fewer problems with work/life balance before I had kids.

Posted by Random Penseur at April 23, 2004 02:27 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?