The question of work/family balance is one that parents all over the world worry themselves with constantly. Perhaps one of the reasons it is so hard to achieve this balance is because so often, the reason we are working so hard is for our families. This can blur the lines between where caring about our family ends and caring about work begins.
Despite this, there are a few tell-tale signs that you have achieved your work/family balance. Read on to assess where you fit on the spectrum and what you can do to make any necessary changes.
1. You have set boundaries
One way to ensure you have a good balance between your professional and private life is knowing where your boundaries lie and being comfortable with them.
Just like you shouldn't have your kids screaming in the background of a work phone call, you also shouldn't be expected to answer emails during your daughter's important soccer game.
Being able to give each activity it's proper time is important to keep your family and your boss both feeling prioritized.
2. You are focused
If you're constantly thinking about work while you're at home, and vice versa, it may be a sign that one aspect of your life is taking over the other.
Part of being balanced is being able to stay focused on the task at hand. Of course, stress will always come up if there is a big life change or a big project at work. However, if the stress of one is too much to take, it's important to make a change so that both parts of your life don't end up suffering.
3. You're allowed to say "No"
Whether at work or at home, it's important to sometimes simply say "No." Once in awhile, it's OK for your kids to get their own snacks out of the fridge if you're busy with an email. By the same token, it's OK for your colleague to finish the project himself if you committed to being home with the family.
The important thing is that you feel empowered to say no when it is necessary, and that you don't feel unnecessary pressure to perform beyond your capacities.
Work/family balance takes constant adjustment and attention. Go easy on yourself and do the best you can as you take small steps towards finding true satisfaction in both areas.
Photo by Kevin Liang