For years as a full-time photographer, educator, wife, and mom of 3, I felt like I was failing at everything. I would hear people talk about work life balance and how important it is and then I would sit around and worry because I didn’t have it. I felt like I was never able to focus on the task at hand. Constantly bouncing back and forth from thing to thing and then end the day feeling like I had accomplished nothing.
Or, on the flip side, I would work so hard that I didn’t want to stop. Shutting my computer and going downstairs to spend time with my family felt frustrating. Not because I didn’t love them, but because I am a “do-er.” I like to get things done and sometimes I prioritize tasks over people.
I would read blog after blog on work life balance but no matter how hard I tried, work life balance began to feel like a myth. But, I stand here today to tell you that work life balance is not a myth. It’s not easy, but it is possible!
First and foremost, let’s talk about if you are the kind who doesn’t want to stop working. I want you to ask yourself, why? If it’s a matter of productivity, or being too busy, then I’ll get to that in a minute. But first, I want to talk about mindsets that hold people back from actually achieving work life balance.
Sometimes, when we don’t want to “leave work” and “come home” it’s because we feel like we aren’t good at the “home stuff.” If we are struggling knowing how to handle a certain phase of parenthood or we are impatient and irritable with our kids and then feel like we are a complete failure at the end of the night. Of course we don’t want to go home!
If this is you… you are not alone. I’ve been there. I think all working parents have. But it’s important for you to recognize that you are not failing. Parenthood is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. So ask yourself, what is it specifically that you are trying to avoid?
Maybe you don’t want to “quit working” because your kid wants you to play dolls and you hate playing dolls. Instead of just avoiding it all together or busying yourself with tasks at home, ask yourself, what is something you DO enjoy with your child? Playing games? Asking them silly questions? Working out together? There are a lot of things we can do to enjoy our time with our kids, you just have to figure out which one is yours.
Perhaps your kids are struggling with sibling rivalry and you just feel like you can’t take it anymore and you aren’t sure how to handle it. Then buy a book a how to handle it. Don’t avoid it. That’s not going to help anything! And neither is yelling at them. That only makes them (and you) feel bad at the end of the day.
If you are working around your kids’ schedules, congrats, you have the hardest job of all! I know because I did it for 5 years. Editing photos while watching toddlers is one thing but when you are trying to write content, answer emails and edit photos while one kid is screaming at their sibling and the other kid is using you as a human jungle gym, it all starts to feel pointless.
So, here’s what I want you to do.
Make sure your task that you want to do makes sense in that time slot. For example, if your kids watch a show from 9-9:30 am, that would be a good time to check and respond to any emails, not a good time to write content. Content takes time and it needs to be in your longest time slot where the least interruptions occur. It’s easy to walk away from editing photos to get your toddler a snack and then pick up where you left off. It’s more difficult to get “in the zone” and write a really inspirational or emotional post with constant interruptions.
This is called “batching” your days or time… I wrote more about it HERE.