The Quest For Balance

I was at the doctor the other day and the technician asked me if I had the day off. I said, “I work for myself.”

“Oooh, so you’re always working.” Isn’t that the truth?

Entrepreneur + Mom = Mompreneur: person who can still take her kids to the dentist, albeit bleary-eyed and unshowered.

The holy grail for this ever growing segment of the population is life balance! Google it! You’ll find gobs of sites and books and articles.

So is it a wonder us that us digital moms are spreading the news like its the latest meme… Sheryl Sandburg clocks out every day at 5:30 and has dinner with her kids! How. Does. She. Do. It?

On the other end of the spectrum is Marissa Mayer. According to Betabeat, in the early days of Google, Marissa pulled an all-nighter every week for the first five years, as did everyone else at Google:

People wondered how she and other employees worked 130-hours when a week only contains a 168 hours, but you can do it “if you’re strategic about when you shower and sleep.”

But I AM strategic about when I shower and sleep!

Are you more like Sheryl or Marissa? Where do you see yourself on this continuum? My informal poll shows most mom bloggers would love to be in Sheryl’s shoes. It’s the new American dream — internet famous by day, lounging with the family during nights and weekends…. keep dreaming!

Is a truly balanced life a unicorn — a figment of our collective imagination? Is it a hot topic because the capitalist machine has latched on to our growing dissatisfaction with life on the giant hamster wheel and created a billion dollar personal development industry around it?

Assuming that Balance (yes, capital B) is even possible, Is it even something worth aspiring to? Or is just another “thing” — like Fame, Fortune, Love and now Balance — gods of the modern world. It seems that the only people who are good at it are the ones that put Balance above all else, which means it’s either pre-empted those other demi deities or have already checked Fame, Fortune, Love off the Bucket List.

Consider this: what if it isn’t really Balance that we seek? What if we have we attached this concept to other ideas/feelings like Happiness and/or Fulfillment! What if you can actually get to a place where all the little silos of your life are equally balanced — your home is in order, your family’s needs are being met, your work demands are sated. Let’s just indulge in THAT little fantasy and say that in this said dream world, you’re to-do list is completely checked off at the end of every day!!!

What have we gained from all that efforting towards “equilibrium.” Peace? Freedom from guilt? What if we get to that state of balance and realize there is no there there? Now what?

So as you reflect on the Sheryl-Marissa continuum, consider that this whole work-life balance thing could be a red herring. The quest for balance is just one more item on the to-do list, keeping us from what will make us feel good about ourselves.

photo credit: Henry Lohmeyer

Ria blogs as Practical Mommy here. Tweets here and Pins here.

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Blah blah blah… Enough With The Words Already


Article Posted 3 years Ago
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