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Fittingly Mad: The Myth of Work/Life Balance

I have a full time job. I have two young daughters. I have a husband who I actually enjoy hanging out with, not that I see him much one-on-one. I have hobbies — well, "hobbies" might be a slight exaggeration. There are many activities I enjoy: running, pushing my girls on the swing at the park, baking cakes and pies, studying Spanish, learning how to dance salsa, learning how to sew...but I am finding it increasingly difficult to find the time to fulfill all my obligations and do the things I want to do. I just can't seem to find the elusive balance between life and work.

Magazine covers are filled with the promise that I can have it all: career, family and "me" time. I can be sexy, successful and maternal all with the blink of an eye, or the flip of a glossy page. For me though, there is no equilibrium, and I feel like I am falling short on all fronts. I always think the problem, the chronic feelings of dissatisfaction and failure, is me. The reason I feel unbalanced is that I haven't tried hard enough to figure it all out.

After trying to find balance for years, I have decided to give up the chase. First off, this idea of perfect balance is a myth. There really is no "balance," although there may be tipping points — but I digress. There really are too many things to do than there are hours in the day. I can make lists and strategize and then beat myself up for not meeting my expectations, but that really seems the opposite of balance.

In all honesty, I have been wasting time searching for the mythical pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. There is no gold and there is no perfect balance between life and work. All the details of my life ebb and flow, I am going to try and ride the waves of activity that run through my life. I am going to give up the eternal search for balance. Yep, I am going to take stock in what I have and what is going on. It is a 360 degree perspective, not a this-or-that.

Am I the only one out here that feels this? I'd love to hear about your battle with the life / work balance. Tell me all about it in the comments section below.


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