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Whenever you gather a group of women together, the conversation inevitably turns to how hard it is to balance the duties at home and work. It doesn’t matter if the women are successful business executives or stay at home moms charged with keeping things running smoothly on the home front. There is always a conversation about how to balance work, family and still squeeze in some personal time. Inevitably someone leaves the conversation upset because she feels like a failure because she can’t make it all work.
Today I am advocating for a different way of looking at it. Get over the frustration, kick it out the door and say, forget it all and accept and embrace your life, whatever it is and keep moving. This is a great situation to use the seven stages of grief to handle:
1 Shock and denial – what happens when a woman realizes that she has responsibilities at home and work that ideally need 28 hours per day and that there are only 24 hours in each of her days.
2 Pain and guilt – what happens when she realizes that she cannot attend both her child’s school play and the big client pitch meeting at the same time so she must pick and she chooses to go to the client pitch meeting instead.
3 Anger and bargaining – what happens when she tries to explain to her family and her job that she can make it work and that she is sorry she missed the school play and went to the client meeting and that she is sorry she didn’t go out for drinks after the meeting but went home to feed the kids.
4 Depression, reflection, and loneliness – what happens when she realizes that she is not squeezing 28 hours into 24 and that there is no way she can do it. She feels sad and spends hours thinking about what she should have done, could have done.
5 Upward turn – what happens when she begins to realize there is hope, a chance that there may be a way to stop feeling so bad about the job she is doing juggling work, home, and her personal needs.
6 Reconstruction and working through – what happens when she realizes that there really are only 24 hours in each day and that sometimes work will rule her life and sometimes family will rule her life and that is okay. It is at this point that she starts prioritizing things situation by situation and accepting the fact that there is no 50/50 rule that will work and that is okay.
7 Acceptance and hope – what happens when she decides to be happy. She accepts that work-life balance is a myth that she no longer has to believe. She decides she is happy with her new knowledge that she doesn’t have to have it all and instead can enjoy and appreciate her life for what it is – full of opportunity to fail, but also open to the possibility for so many wonderful accomplishments.
In conclusion, it is fantastic to finally realize that there is no magic secret to the work-life balance puzzle and that is okay. So, the question for you this fantastic day is when are you going to embrace your life and be happy?