Sunday, June 25, 2017

Work life balance

I get a lot of messages on Women's day! And this year too, I was flooded with messages. Some forwards, some customary, few personal ones and some very encouraging. Among the forwards, a typical picture of a modern women with many hands depicting various roles women play in their life caught my imagination. Then another picture with some Work life balance gyaan appeared!
These pictures kept me thinking for a while. Thinking about multiple things. One was, do we women really like to be super women or we just dont have a choice but to manage our career and family aspirations together. But at 11 am in the night, I have no mood to be a feminist and present my thoughts on being a super woman.
The second thought was, Work-Life balance!! The word which is kind of a mantra which all of us want to achieve. But can we really achieve a balance in our lives? Well, I have my doubts!
So then I thought , "Then how do I see this work and LIFE being managed?". And immediately I was reminded of a picture where a juggler is juggling with 6 balls in his hands.
Then I tried to interpret, what does that mean in this context? What does each ball stand for in my life? 
I feel, the six balls are HOME, FAMILY, WORK, CHILDREN, HOBBIES and HEALTH.
HOME includes household chores which are irrelevant but needs mammoth attention for a proper functioning of any house. From electrician to grocery everything!
FAMILY starts with husband and then the extended family. Your social life and close friends.
WORK ofcourse irrespective of whether you are working out in office or running your own setup or even working in a NGO. Everything we do as a profession comes under this umbrella.
CHILDREN! I have kept it as a seperate ball, because they are a seperate ball game altogether. When you are a parent, you have no rule book. You evolve every day and face new challenges everyday. And this I feel is the MOST crucial of all the balls to be handled.
HOBBIES is what makes you happy. The ME time which is the most understated.
And last but not the least, HEALTH! We talk about both mind and body health here!
If I have to give you an analogy. CHILDREN, WORK and HOME are glass balls. HEALTH and FAMILY are wooden balls. And HOBBIES are made of paper.
So for any juggler, its impossible to keep all the balls in hand. At any point of time, maximum 2 balls can be kept in control. And rest 4 should be in air.
As you must have guessed, the first ball to fall down for not so alert juggler would be HOBBIES. It is not a priority for you and the moment the pace of life increases, we drop that ball are constantly struggling. Sometime HOME takes the priority and other times WORK gets crazy. You have to select which  ball you will hold and till you hold that ball, the other needs to be floating in the air. When you have someone ill at home, you cannot work in office. Vice versa when you have a deliverable in office, you cannot socialise at the cost of your work. We always compensate for the other in the due course of time. I remember working late nights for almost couple of months and then when my daughter was starting her school for the first time. I almost worked only 4-6 hours a day in office. So there is no correct way of work life balance i feel. 
But the moment one ball of WORK and HOME remains in air for too long, we burn out. This is the time when many men choose WORK and women choose HOME as per their natural instincts. Nothing wrong in choosing one over the other, but somewhere the feeling of sacrifice, discontent creeps in. Men realise at some point they had missed out on family life and women feel there was a lot of sacrifice which they made. But eventually its how we juggle the balls.
CHILDREN is another glass ball which is kind of the most unpredictable of the lot. You are juggling perfectly between HOME and WORK. But suddenly this ball spins and changes the pace of everything. The moment kids need you, all the balls go in a closet and u suddenly forget how to juggle. HOME is in a mess, WORK becomes unimportant, forget the HOBBIES/HEALTH and FAMILY. Its true that, once u r a parent you are always a mother first. The wife, aunt, daughter, sister, friend roles take a back seat and ur mind is one track.
If I had the power to set the pace, I would give equal weightage to all. That is the most sustainable model. It will ensure your physical, mental and emotional happiness. 
BUT we dont live in an ideal world. So keep juggling and taking care of all the important things in life. And when you are tired, take a break and start afresh!!