Can You Have it All? Some Thoughts About Balance... (04/20/2015)
After spending the last several years as primary caregiver for my mother I often asked myself what's next. I suspended most of my business so that I could be available when needed. Some of my friends and colleagues thought this was a mistake. I saw no other option. But, it begs the question : can we have it all? Some claim it as their feminist right and others will say the sacrifices are too great. The juggling act needed to balance elder care, family, work and fun is difficult if not daunting. Something has to give and for me it was reducing my work load to part time and managing my schedule to the minute. I'm not kidding...to the absolute minute. For example; the time I had before and after I went to my mother's to care for her was precious. So precious, for example, that my friends knew this time was "text and email only" rather than a live phone call.
If you haven't read it yet, take a look at Anne Marie Slaughter's article in The Atlantic, Why Women Still Can't Have it All. The discussion around balancing work and family that has resulted from this article and others is enlightening as well as enjoyable. One thing is clear: whether you are male or female or providing partner, child or parent care, the emotional and physical commitment needed to manage it all to the best of your ability is substantial. Sacrifice is the norm and the approach is definitely not one size fits all. Executing on this appropriately is as personal as it comes. You have to make it work for yourself and your family and that can only be defined by you and yours. Having said that , I do have a couple of simple take-aways that will help:
- Develop a detailed schedule for yourself including travel time. I know it's a pain in the neck but it works.
- Prioritize your activities so that if unexpected events take place you have some frame of reference to make schedule changes.
- Schedule time for something that makes you feel good. Use your imagination.
- Use "to do" lists and cross off things when they are completed. This will add to your sense of accomplishment.
- Take stock of what you have achieved at the end of the day. Acknowledge yourself for your good work and your 100% effort.
My mother is gone now and I know I made the right decision to put her care first. Now I am relaunching my business bit by bit. Maybe even using this opportunity to change things up for the better. I avail myself of training to see what's current and attend lots of webinars to peak my interest in new approaches and share ideas. I surround myself with an informal network of friends and colleagues who have gone or are going through similar circumstances. As we share our learnings, we discover common experiences, reactions and feelings which is a godsend when things take an unexpected turn or you need a shoulder to cry on. If you'd like to discuss your personal balancing act and develop a program to help; give me a call or contact Beth
for more information. I've been there. I can be there for you.
Spring is here and it is almost that most wonderful time when we open our beach apartment and let the seaside games begin! After this last winter, which was the absolute worst, I have resolved to leverage the springtime by treating myself to lot's of fun and adventure. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and summer will be terrific as well! One can only dream......talk to you next month.