When choosing how to balance work and home, be smart, choose yourself. It is not smart to choose others first. It is not an act of generosity to choose others first. When it is all said and done, whether at home or work, you are the constant factor, so choose yourself.
When balancing home and work don’t choose one or the other, choose what you need at the moment in question.
Most of the people who read this blog are women like me. They are wives and mothers with businesses, careers, jobs and numerous obligations. They have to find ways to get eight hours of work done in four hours. They have to-do lists that seem to have more items than pages. There has been more than one morning when I woke up and was expected to visit my husband in the hospital. get the kids off to school, do work for clients that could not be postponed, dishes and laundry that needed to be cleaned and parent-teacher conferences to prepare to attend in the evening. I had to do all these things in addition to obligations to myself. Obligations to take care of my physical, mental, emotional, financial and spiritual health.
All of these things were important. Each task, chore, and obligation seemed to be equally important and equally urgent. The bottom line though was that while they all needed to be done right away and seemingly at the same time, they could not. I had to find a way to make a choice. I had to prioritize. When you look at the list of things to be done, it is obvious that not everyone would or could be happy with the prioritizing decisions I had to make. It was not possible to make everyone else happy and get everything done according to other people’s desires and timelines. At the same time, decisions had to be made. Things had to get done. Sitting still and waiting for someone else to solve the problem and fix things for me was not an option.
In the situation above, I had to make choices. I had to decide what to do when among seemingly impossible choices. My husband thought his health, the literal life, and death struggle was most important. My children thought gathering their clothes for school and their lunches were most important. Young children always think the world centers and revolves around them. My clients thought the jobs they were paying me to accomplish were most important. After all, the clients were paying good money for my services and had obligations of their own they needed to meet. The children’s teachers thought the conferences scheduled for the evening were most important. They were part of the team that is helping me to raise my children to thrive and succeed. In their minds, what could be more important than meeting to discuss that mission? It was not possible for me to let any of them choose.
They were all looking at what was best for them, what was most important to them. The best choice to make was to choose me. I made my decision based upon what would give me the most pleasure, the most satisfaction, the most bang for my buck.
I recognized that in the end, when I look in the mirror, I am looking at myself. When I lay down to sleep at night it is the thoughts in my head that enable me to sleep or cause me to toss and turn for hours before getting out of bed in the morning. When I make choices, when I make decisions, I must choose what I can l stomach best. I recognized that while I had hundreds of things to do that day and several of them were important and a couple of them were life and death important, I still had to make decisions based upon what was best for me. I had to determine what would be best in my life at that moment. So, when faced with important choice, upon important choice, upon important choice, I chose myself.
Whether at home or work, the important thing to remember is that you choose, so choose yourself first.
So often women choose to put others first. They choose their husbands, their children, their business, their friends, their family or their co-workers. When given an opportunity to choose, all to often, women choose others first and themselves last. This is a mistake. You must take care of yourself first, you must choose yourself. When you board an airline, the stewardess and stewards all give roughly the same speech. They tell you that in the event of an emergency, air masks will fall from the ceiling. You are told that you should put on your own mask first, then the masks of your children and those around you. The stewardesses and stewards know that when push comes to shove, you must choose yourself first.
On an airplane, if you fail to choose yourself first, you may end up deprived of air, dead and of no use to those around you. Life on the ground is the same way. Before you choose your spouse, your children or your job, you must choose yourself. No matter how little sense it makes to those around you, you must choose yourself first so that you are prepared mentally, emotionally, spiritually and perhaps physically to help others and meet your obligations to others. This philosophy works at work and at home.
At work when you have a pile of things on your to-do list and the inbox is overflowing and there are meetings happening and about to happen. Stop. Pause. Take the time to think about what you have to do and which of those things will be most beneficial, helpful and expedient to you. That is the thing that you should take care of first and foremost. Before you choose among tasks at work, choose yourself. Put on your own air mask and then save the day, make the decision and do the job at work. At home, before you choose your husband, your children, your dishes and your laundry. Choose yourself. Figure out which decision will enable you to live with yourself best. Which decision, which choice will help you to feel better about the next choice? Make that choice then the next.
In all you do, put on your own air mask, choose yourself first because that makes it easier for you to make all the other choices you have to make. Take time today to think about the choices before you. What decisions must you make? Think about what would happen if when you made the next choice, you chose yourself then made the other decisions. How would your world be different?