Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Guest Blog | The Battle To Balance

Let me introduce myself, my name is Aj and I am a 42 year old wife and mother of one gorgeous little boy. I work full time in a stressful role and have taken fingers to keyboard to try and share some of my wisdom in all matters of Lifestyle and Beauty. Recently I have set up my own blog for this very purpose.  I would like to take this opportunity like to thank Dainty Bride for generously permitting me to write a guest blog to her readers, I hope that you all enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it. 

Thank You.

The scales of home versus work never really seem to align themselves and for those of us working parents working long hours and still wanting to spend valuable time with the family it can be torture. I know this more than anybody at one point my standard working week was 48 hrs, and at least once a month it spiked to 54. Splitting my focus and time between the two was difficult to say the least, and in my quest to make both employer and family happy I served only to make myself miserable. Something had to change but despite constant please from my husband to reduce my working hours I carried on regardless.
Sticking post it notes on the fridge and reminders on my phone for such basic tasks as making my son's packed lunch for school was common practice. At 6.30 in the morning my brain would switch to work mode and I knew I would forget, I was already focussing on what meetings I had that day and what I needed to achieve. I would forget birthdays and would be the mum arriving at the school gate with her son dressed in school uniform on non-uniform day. The so called family time I spent at weekends consisted of me catching up on chores around the house whilst constantly being tired and snappy. Of course work always benefited from my "game face" so it was those I loved that suffered the most. The rows began to start and the holidays which we could now easily afford to go on were strained as I didn’t know how to relax. I constantly validated working long hours to myself and others by saying my husband’s self-employed status meant that I had to provide the  family with stability.
Then one day it all changed and my son uttered those words usually every parent loves to hear but I knew he meant them differently… "Mummy I miss you."
I looked into my sons sad little eyes and realised that the quality time I had been spending with him wasn’t quality time at all, and although I was at home every weekend I wasn’t actually lavishing my attention on him, he was growing up so fast and I was missing out. So the next day with that thought and his words still ringing in my head I went into work and I reduced my hours to a standard 37.5 week 9-5 Mon- Fri.
Don’t get me wrong working full time still brings with it challenges, I always drop my son off at school and he attends after school club until one of us picks him up after work, but he is used to this as he has been going since he started school so he is accepting of it. I also ensure that I leave enough holidays at work to cover sports days, school plays and if he gets poorly. 
Now weekends are for us and quality family time. I also made changes to my lifestyle I joined a gym and developed a love for weights (that is a whole other blog right there) the increase in serotonin which exercising gives you helps me manage work stress better and I leave it at the door. Oh not forgetting that my physique changed also, which with itself brought that feel good factor. I now feel for the first time I am keeping everybody happy including me. I even have the time to combine my love of life and writing and manage a blog something I never would have had the time for before.
So do the scales now balance? No and they never will but they are a lot closer than they used to be. Learning that life will pull you in all sorts of different directions is part of accepting life’s unpredictability. So by constantly monitoring the balance I can shift the weight accordingly and through organisation, delegation and appreciation I can enjoy life a lot better.
So to conclude my final words to you would be this… Listen to those who love you the very people you are working so hard to please. Spend less time trying to please them and more time listening to them, the pleasing part will then come naturally. Be generous with your time to those who appreciate it the most and that includes yourself. Leave work at work, I have yet to see or hear of a work problem solved around a silent family dinner table.
 And lastly our children look to us for Inspiration, and we need to look to them for our motivation. Because believe me there is nothing worse than life giving you a kick in the balls and your children are watching. Remember that and you will deal with all lifes dramas differently I can promise you that.