Just Embrace It
I recently attended a Women in Business event in our community and was struck by a comment our first speaker shared. She said “there is no balance between work and life – stop trying”. She then went on to say that a more appropriate aspiration for her was a “work/life integration”.
Without knowledge of what my subconscious brain was signalling, my head began to nod YES…this is the world I live in. My work and life are in fact integrated.
Sometimes just putting a name to it empowers the less awakened brain centres to realize “Hey….yeah…I do that…that makes sense”, or “Why didn’t that dawn on me sooner”?….Regardless of the prowess your subconscious brain may or may not exhibit, let’s all just take a moment to call it out…to all the ladies in business…to all the 40 hour+/mama work weeks…lets just admit two things to ourselves!
One. We are not really looking to ‘balance’ work and life, are we!? Because honestly, there is no clear cut off for most of us. What we are really looking for is a way to cohesively pair the life we want with the work in which we find meaning.
YES. That feels great to admit… Now onwards to the hard part.
Let me be the first to say that while I was on maternity leave, I was a less intentional mother. I would say (looking back to that time in life) that for me, maternity leave was an unbalanced struggle between house work, parenting (managing and nurturing my children), and an attempt to relax as if this was some sort of early retirement. That right there may have been the worst part. I think we (well…I for sure) tell ourselves that as life progresses (we get married, have kids, etc.) that we ‘wish life would slow down’, but let’s be honest, when it does, even if for just a second, we fill the time as quickly as we can, which brings us to the next point.
Two. We don’t want to slow down! YUP, it’s ok to say…if you didn’t say it out loud…go ahead…do it….I’ll wait. MUCH better right? It’s OKAY to want to work, it’s OKAY to be a leader, a cashier, a coach; just crush it in your industry! Let’s be honest, it’s our time to ‘hustle’ as some would say. I know that 80 years down the road (yup…I’m aiming for a solid 120 years folks), I may have no choice but to slow down, so while the sun is shining, I’m all for making hay! Looking back to my maternity leave, I realized (not as quickly as I’d liked…but I’m human) that part of fulfillment in life for me is being outside of the home, working with clients, creating, and contributing. That time outside of our home made me add intention to my time with my boys.
SO, to bring it all home…I am, in fact, encouraging you to NOT slow down if you don’t want to. I am also saying that you are allowed to embrace it, and enjoy it. You will certainly encounter family members, friends, colleagues and random folks who feel entitled to give you their outside opinion on the matter, but you are you. You get to take the reigns and you get to do it unashamed!
I am proud to have found at least version 1.4 of my best work/life integration…how about you?