The term work-life balance used to work for me until I realized there is no such thing as balance.
The term work-life integration used to work for me until I realized that things don’t always integrate and fit together (the word integration reminds me of a puzzle, and life isn’t a puzzle at all).
So now I use the term work-life blend because this makes the most sense. I think of it this way – every day I’m given a blank canvas and an array of paint colors. Each color represents an important part of my life – my kids, my husband, my work, my family, my friends, me, etc. And every day, I get a chance to paint my masterpiece the way I want/need. Some days the color that represents my kids takes over my canvas, sometimes it’s a good blend of everything, and sometimes it’s more work than anything else. Every day looks and feels different and that’s ok. There’s no perfect painting, and there are definitely no shoulds.
The great thing is that most days this approach really resonates and works for me. It also takes away the guilt I sometimes feel when I can’t get to work as much or when I don’t spend as much time with the kids as I want. Another blank canvas awaits the next day for me to try again!
This week and next are a perfect example of this…
Kaiden is participating in an Indian cultural camp this week, and one of the requirements was that a parent has to volunteer for a minimum of three 3 hour shifts. Instead of breaking three individual days apart like that, I was at camp all day yesterday and half the day today. Because my days were consumed with this, I woke up extra early to work out, make dinner, make breakfast, and get everything we needed ready for the day. Kaiden definitely got a lot space on my canvas these days.
The rest of this week is split between Vishnu (he has tomorrow off so we’re going to grab lunch and hang out a bit), work (client calls, podcast work, discovery calls, project work, etc.) and prepping for our beach trip next week. A varied blend of colors if you will!
Next week’s canvas will mostly be filled with Kaiden, Mila, and Vishnu’s paint colors, as we’ll be spending a ton of time together! I can’t wait.
Then once we get back, it’ll be more of the same plus lots of friend time as we’re attending a close friend’s wedding next weekend.
Nothing about these two weeks feels balanced or integrated, but I can very much see and feel the blend of all the things.
Not perfect, not equal, but a beautiful mix of colors that end up making very colorful and interesting paintings!
Like all of us, I’m just doing the best I can with what I have. Cheers to that!