So, I've had it! I just read a magazine article wherein the author, a professional woman, gushed about how wonderful her life was, and how she managed to "balance" both the professional and personal parts of her life. Now despite her stated thesis, I thought it was very interesting that this woman spent three-quarters of her article writing about (1) how much she loves her job, (2) how she treasures every minute she gets to spend with her kids (all the while stating that she doesn't get to do as much with her kids as she would like), and (3) how much she and her family eat out, while wishing she was able to cook more. This woman also took time to point out that she almost never has any time for herself, except her morning trip to the gym (before sunrise!). But the most interesting part of the article was contained in the last two, very short, paragraphs. At the end, and in the biggest understatement of the article, the author points out that her husband stays at home full-time with their kids. Interesting...
So, I only have one thing (well, I'm sure I could come up with more, but I'll try not to) to say about this. What is the deal with this so-called concept of "balance" anyway? It appeared that this woman was attempting to say to her colleagues, "See, I AM successful...I CAN do it all." And, isn't that the kind of "balance" the world tries to tell us is not only desirable, but also attainable and required of women? The only problem was that if you looked between the lines, the subtext was not success, but, instead, was guilt, frustration, and even a bit of anger. By her own admissions, she wasn't doing it all. At least that is what I read.
Now, you may wonder how I am qualified to give an opinion on this article. Well, I will say that I was not the author, and I do not personally know this woman. So, in that case, you are correct. I am not qualified to render an opinion. But, I am also a professional woman, and one who works in the same field as the author of the article. So, I, too, have a full-time (plus) job that keeps me busier than I'd like to be. Also, like the author, I have a child that likes for me to come to his band concerts and holiday parties at school. In addition, I am part of the "Sandwich generation," having the responsibility of caring for some older relatives. Finally, I also have a significant other who helps (in his own way--which is definitely a post for a different time) me keep it together on a daily basis. He doesn't stay at home, but he wishes he did! So, to the extent my life is comparable, I have some understanding of this woman's life. And, honey, there ain't no balance in my life! The only thing I attempt to balance is my checkbook, but even that can be too daunting! But, enough about me, and more about my opinions!
My point (I think there is one in here somewhere) is that "balance," as the world defines it, is a big, fat myth! We can't do everything; it's just not possible. When we try to do it all, we fail, and we do a disservice to all those around us because what we do accomplish, we don't do well. And, as for me, I am FED up! I am sick of magazines, books, and tv programs telling me that maybe, if I tried just a little bit harder, I too, could achieve "balance" and Super Woman status. I've tried the world's way. I've tried to organize and schedule and organize some more. I remember studying for the bar exam, baking chocolate chip cookies, and trying to learn the Blue's Clue's planet song with my then three (3) year old son. The result: I did pass the bar exam and learn the Blue's Clue's planet song. ("The sun is a hot star....Ok, enough, but please don't ask me about easements or adverse possession...) But I'm pretty sure I burnt the cookies, and I definitely remembered that my hair started falling out. Stress-related hair loss... I may have crammed it all in a la the world's style, but there was definitely no balance in my life.
So, what is there if there is no such thing as balance? Well, in my humble opinion, there are priorities. You have to decide what is most important in your life, and go with it. Now, I have opinions about what those priorities should be in a person's life, but I will save that for another post. I've been on my soap box long enough for one day. For now, suffice it to say, it's time to stop the Super Woman madness, and while you're at it, get rid of Wonder Woman, too!
PS: I don't want to leave you with the impression that I have it all together...I DO NOT! I have a four-person calendar...for ME (all by myself)! I am actively trying to fire myself, and instead of hunting rabbits, I am hunting down my own Super Woman. It is a process that I am still actively engaged in, and I'm sure you will hear more about it later!
So, until next time...