There are so many things written today about work life balance. Some say it's possible, others say it's a myth. Some claim that work is life and life is work, and that purporting to balance the two is silly, as one cannot exist without the other. Whatever your view, there exists the reality that, as a mom, balancing your work and your life with the aim of feeling relatively satisfied with both, is tough.
But I think part of the problem is that many of us haven't defined what we view as success. I hear from women time and time again, who think that they are failing and are suffering from feelings of guilt and even depression. Yet, it doesn't need to be this way: it all depends on your individual situation and what works for your.
The media has much responsibility in reinforcing the belief of the perfect woman.
Because we are bombarded with advertisements on a daily basis, who's sole aim is to sell us something, we start to believe that this is the standard we must adhere to. The old adage does apply here; that if you see or hear something enough times, you start to believe it.
The 1950′s housewife didn't have the media presence that we have, and modelled herself solely on her peers. Competition was not with a perfect size zero, three weeks after giving birth, model/actress with a personal assistant, chef and Tracy Anderson's number on speed dial. It was with someone who was perhaps a step above herself, who she aspired to be like; the standard was attainable with a little effort. In contrast, the standards we have today are so far out of most women's reach, that we feel like we're total and utter failures. But we're not modelling ourselves on something realistic. In essence, our values have become inverted.
Personally, my heroes are some of my best friends. One of them is a single mom, who's parents, who were only children themselves, have both passed away. She has other siblings, but they all live in Australia. Every day she struggles to do the best by her son, and meet her bills, and take care of her little family with absolutely no outside support. She is my hero.
Another is a friend who has four, soon to be five children, whom she home schooled until very recently. I've never even heard raise her voice to her kids. She parents with gentleness, kindness and compassion. They don't have a lot as a family, but boy are they grateful for what they do have. Their life is more about relationships and love, than material possessions. She is my hero.
I think as a society we need to redefine our definition of success away from the notion that he who dies with the most money in his bank account is the most successful. So many people are obsessed with living an extraordinary life. But I ask you, what's wrong with ordinary? Why does everything need to be sensational to be fun?
My advice? Find joy in your little moments:
Your children giggling uncontrollably
Time with your friends sharing stories and fun over a glass of wine
Your family piling around your kitchen table, bumping elbows and clinking glasses as they eat, drink and be merry.
This is living and this is where you have a chance to experience joy and find balance. Make the little things matter.
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