I was delighted on being invited to be the keynote speaker at my husband’s office as part of their women’s day celebration’s. Topic given was ‘work life balance’ , my only concern being at that time, I was a ‘stay at home mom’ asked to speak to a group of working women. Yes, I had worked earlier and was on a break to take care of kids, keeping an eye on how to get back to the work force if opportunity would allow me. Now back to working full time as a software engineer, the tasks and place of work have changed and I realize I was always working and the challenges were similar.
As part of my talk I asked people to think about how they would want people to talk about them at their funeral. Yes generally at the funeral good things are said about a person, for some we know that what is said and the life we saw are not the same. This is important, if we want people to remember us in a particular way, we need to live our life making the appropriate choices. Personally, I wanted to create a memory for my family of somebody being at home when they came back home after their day. It was this desire that made me decide to quit my career when I was doing well. I was conscious that I would give up my career the day kids came, this was a decision I had taken early in life. Even though I had taken this decision, it did not hinder me from doing my post graduate degree in an academic driven college and taking every opportunity that came my way, what I learnt then is helping me even today.
I realize not everybody can take a break when kids arrive because of circumstances or it’s just their personality. Life is not about one size fits all. We are different and our differences need to be celebrated. Today when my responsibilities at home have decreased and staying at home does not challenge me enough, I have gone back to working full time and am enjoying it.
For some their work is part of their life and they enjoy it. Life can be described as family or leisure. What if there is a conflict between our leisure and family. In reality life is a balancing act. Being a person who cannot be idle, even when I was a stay at home mom, my days were busy and filled with activities. Having gone back to working I am finding it difficult to accommodate the actives I loved doing earlier and miss them now. Just because I am working my responsibilities at home have not changed. So life becomes a balancing act. Some pointers to keep in mind to enjoy our life as we do the balancing act.
- Periodically list down what we want to do in life.
- Prioritize them according to what we want and what we are willing to let go.
- Talk to people who who will understand what we are going through.
- Work out the cost in terms of time and material in pursuing the particular desires.
- See if that is what we want to be remembered for. (Imagining the small talk at our funeral helps).
- The balance is not only about tasks but it is also about the relationships we have in life.