by Christy Williams | Featured Contributor
I have come to a season in my life where the phrase “work-life balance” has suddenly taken on a whole new meaning—one I never expected.
A lot of people don’t even like that phrase, work-life balance, since the word “balance” can make it sound like the ultimate goal is to achieve a perfect balance of both work, and the rest of our daily lives. But anyone who has spent any amount of time juggling the different areas of their life, learns very quickly that there will never be a perfect balance.
Either work is taking up a little—or a lot—more time and effort, or family and our daily responsibilities and commitments are. It’s just the way it is.
I think the most that we all hope for is that when we step back and look at the big picture of our lives, there is some semblance of equality overall.
If that’s even what we choose.
Fourteen years ago, I chose to focus solely on my family. It was something I never expected to do, but with a husband who traveled most of the week every week, a lack of flexible work opportunities, and corporate America fatigue, I opted out of the workforce.
I’d like to think that if I had flexible work options, that maybe I wouldn’t have made that same choice. But maybe not—those babies sure were cute. And it was easier. No juggling meant no mommy guilt, and we were blessed enough to have the luxury of even having that choice in the first place.
A choice I wouldn’t trade for anything. Certainly not for any setbacks it has resulted in for my professional life.
So most people, when they think of work-life balance, are trying to figure out how to spend more time enjoying their life—and perhaps work less.
But this season I have recently entered? I find myself in the surprising position of wanting to work more.
I imagine I am not alone in feeling this way. For any parent who has devoted many years to raising their children, I imagine that it’s only natural. After giving so much of ourselves and doing everything for those little humans that we’re guiding, it seems like basic human nature to want to now spend some time creating something for ourselves.
Don’t get me wrong…I’ve been working part-time for several years now.
But I want more.
Maybe it’s because I am finally getting the chance to do my soul work.
Maybe it’s because, as someone who has always kept on top of the career opportunities that are currently available, I see amazing opportunities that require more hours than I have available, and it’s disappointing.
Maybe it’s because I am ready to dive back in full-time and I know that I just can’t right now.
I have one child in fourth grade, and the other is a freshman in high school. And when I decided to stay home with them as babies, I remember people telling me that as much as they need you as babies, they need you even more in middle school and high school. In very different ways…but they still needed you just as much.
And they weren’t kidding.
So, as much as I am ready to shift that work-life balance in favor of my soul work, I also know that I have no desire to miss out on any of these days with my kids.
This is simply a new, different season in my life, and with them.
And again, I have the luxury of making a choice that allows me to drive them to and from school and football games—and even to take them a forgotten lunch or homework assignment, while I ignore the lovingly admonishing looks from the front office administrators.
Because even if it’s just spending time with them in the car—for hours a day—it’s still time with them.
And that work-life balance scale? It’s still shifting. It might be in teeny-tiny increments, but it’s still shifting.
And for now, that’s enough for me.