Diary of a Mom: Choices@Work-Life
Since forever, I wondered about Work-Life Balance, I attended a couple of Work-Life Balance sessions and workshops and l actually believed in it. But when it came to reality, I discovered that it is a totally different story. Work- Life Balance as a term is a process of finding happiness between your work and your personal life. When l looked the term up, l found out that it originated to drive awareness to improve work conditions.It soon afterwards, turned out not to be a proven driver for job satisfaction nor life satisfaction. As any attempt to optimize Work-Life Balance will inevitably be at the expense of something else.
From my own personal experience after my efforts to act as a Super Woman for almost 2 years and juggle many roles at once, I discovered that Work-Life Balance is an idealistic state that, if followed one would only end up being overwhelmed and burnt out. As a Working Mom, my day started at 5am and ended at 11pm, that encompassed working from 8am to 4pm in a high demand environment,taking care of my toddler and spouse in addition, to carrying out some family duties and trying to be there for every weekend outing with friends. Soon, I realized that,no matter how much I delegated at home and at work it just wasn’t working.
Regardless of your profession, or where you are in your career, life is going to continue to happen, demands and needs are going to always change. If you want to enjoy your Motherhood, take care of your spouse and family, live a rich and comfortable life in addition to enjoying your own interest and at the same time excel at your work then “Work-Life Choices” is what you need to follow rather than “Work-Life Balance”. And not just any “Work-Life Choices” they need to be competent choices that go hand-in-hand with your own values and current priorities.
So, having said that we ought to first know and understand our own values and current priorities because, it will make things much easier and less time consuming. Once we start living by what l like to call our “Work-Life Choices Philosophy” we will not just be able to make those choices competent, fitting, appropriate, proper, suitable but, also realistic and self-satisfying. However, it does require resilience and commitment from our side and the support of our spouse, family and of course our work. But, when it works it is a win-win situation… Developing a plan that is designed to fulfill yourself both personally and professionally is the first step… Implementing it, is the second step yet,being flexible about making adjustment whenever required is what ensures its success…
While putting together my plan as per my own “Work-Life Choices Philosophy” I bared 5 things in mind:
- Life: There are no rehearsals in life we must make conscious choices in order to live our life with no regrets.
- Motherhood: Sometimes, it takes years till you find the right person you would consider having a baby with.l became a first time Mom at 40.Childhood fleets by especially the first 5 years.
- Career: Not having to put my career completely on hold but, only some of its aspects.
- Income:Switching to part-time will affect my paycheck of course but, the payback doesn’t only have to be in terms of money.Besides, l can always use some of my saved-up resources when needed.
- Personal Pursuits: Considering my current situation as an opportunity to catch up on my interests
The implementation of my plan is in process yet, my willingness to be more flexible in making adjustment is something l found to be very helpful…And so far,it is actually working well for me. Currently, l work part-time from home as a freelance Professional Writer (I am on leave of absence from my full-time work), l spend more time with my 3 year old son, I enjoy more tete-a-tete time with my spouse, and we spend more fun time as a family with friends. Last but not least l get some me time too and get to spend it on things l wished to pursue;l am getting back on track with the French language and I’m exercising a little more these are 2 things l previously had no time for …
I believe everyone is very much on time in their own time zone that is destined for them…
After all, in life you can have it all but, not at all at once…
Dr. Nelly Abulata is a Professor at Kasr Al-Ainy Faculty of Medicine- Cairo University with almost 20 years of diverse experience in Public/ Private, Academic, Clinical, Management, Training and Research settings in cross-cultural environments. She is a Thought Leader and Management Consultant for Higher Education & Healthcare, an Expert and Mentor for Health, a Women’s Leadership Coach and a Presentation Guru. She is also a Wife and a Mom. Her goal is to bring about positive change in her community and make a difference in people’s lives. Check out her page.