By: Mia L. Hazlett
Yeah right! I remember being at a women’s conference years ago and they had a guy, yes a guy, talking about work-life balance. To this day I can’t remember who he was, but he was retired and had run a big corporation. Probably why they had him on the panel. The Q&A portion rolled around and a woman asked him, “Is there such a thing as work-life balance?” He chuckled and told everyone to listen up – all eyes on him – “No.”
How dare he! This is what happens when you let a man in a women’s conference. I was outraged at the audacity he had to tell an audience of at least 1,000 women, there was no such thing as a work life-balance. Maybe that is why I can’t remember his name. I had to block this vicious man out of my head. But I did stay tuned to his venomous spewing as he summed it up with, “One thing or the other is going to suffer at one point or another.” He went on to explain, there would be times that your boss wasn’t always going to be happy and times your family wasn’t always going to be happy. But ultimately you had to determine who was going to be happy and when.
He continued on by stating there is no company that is going to pay you to raise your kids. You may find one company that is more understanding than the other, when it comes to you having to take time off to take care of your ill children, but even they will draw the line at some point. Because companies are not in the business of making you happy at home. They are in the business to make money and some out there want to make you as comfortable as possible so you can do that for them. But unfortunately, some are not.
One woman did refute his viciousness by stating, her company provided a daycare at work for her. He got sassy. Yes I did call him sassy! “Well you tell me when they provide a daycare at your home so you can work from home; then I will believe in work-life balance.” Sassy! He then laughed and told her, her company was one of those that would make their employees as comfortable as possible. I just sat there wishing there was daycare at my job. I hated leaving and rushing to pick up my daughter by 5:30 when I got off at 5:00.
But now that I’m raising my daughters and leaning on my Village, I totally get what he meant almost six or seven years after the fact. I found a job in downtown Boston. I live near the Cape, so I leave the house at 6:30 in the morning and don’t get home until about 7:00 at night. Once I pull up, the front door flies open and there are two little people dancing and awaiting me, before I can even turn the van off. I walk in to a dose of hugs, and quick summaries of the day or I have a paper I must sign shoved in my face. Throughout the signing, hugging, kissing, and listening, I get my coat off. They have dinner with my parents earlier, but they sit at the table with me as I eat my supper. We talk about our day (mostly them tattling on each other about what occurred prior to my arrival), but I’ll take it. Then it’s off for showers and getting ready for bed. There is always some level of arguing and whining, but their day comes to a close around nine.
At that point at night, it’s all about me. Recently since I’ve finished my book, I’ve moved on to writing my next one, well five (it’s a series) right now. I’m also working on promoting Going Through It. If I’m asleep by midnight, I’m lucky. I get my five and a half hours in and the cycle begins all over again. I try my best to squeeze in a minimal social life, but there are times when I’m just to damn tired. I cherish doing nothing on weekends. But ultimately I’m a writer so any spare time, when I don’t have to do mommy stuff, I put towards my writing. I don’t believe any downtime is in my immediate future. I’m feeling blessed for that.
So whether I’m catching up on some sleep on the train, letting the kids stay up a little later on the weekends so we can get our Just Dance competition in, or heading out a little early from work so I can get to the store with no kids; I’ve become very comfortable with everyone being a little disappointed with not getting all the time they want out of me. Because ultimately, that is my work-life balance.
Copyright © 2012 Mia L. Hazlett
All rights reserved.