For a lot of us, work-life balance is a work in progress. And even for those who have established a comfortable balance, the last few months have added new strains on both work and family. We’re living through a world-changing event, and it’s leaving a lot of us struggling to find our footing. If you need some support establishing what work-life balance means to you right now, here are a few things the moms at Ovia are keeping in mind that we hope will help.
Know that you can’t change what you can’t change
If your child is home right now because schools are closed and you’re also trying to work from home, that’s far from ideal. If you were looking forward to going back to work after leave and that’s not possible right now, that’s discouraging. Many of us have a natural reaction against these realities, and the fact that so much is out of our control right now. Many parents feel stuck in similarly impossible situations — we’re in this together.
Do all you can to make your life easier right now
That being said, if there’s anything you can do to make your day a little more manageable, now’s the time to give it a shot. If you need to ask your boss for work accommodations, go for it. If you need to send emails during lunch with your kids so that you can be fully present at dinner, that’s great. If you need to occasionally rely on extended family to read a bedtime story to your little one over video call so that you can take a breather, ask for help. You’re doing great. Anything you can do to breathe a little easier is a win.
Figure out what works for you and your family
Everyone’s work situation and home life is different, so as you figure out how to find something like balance, be guided by what works best for your unique situation. Does wrapping up some work after hours once your kids are asleep work for you, or do you want that time to be off limits for work? If you’re an essential worker, would you rather take more long shifts working out of the house so that you can spend more days off at home, or work short shifts and always have breakfast with your family? There are no right answers. You just have to figure out what’s best for you and your family. And maybe you just need to take it one day at a time — that’s great too.
Forget perfection, embrace good enough
Before the pandemic hit, if you had reached a place in your life where you were comfortable with your work-life balance, chances are that you were already doing this. Let’s be real: perfection is unattainable — life is too messy for that even on a good day. To really feel some semblance of work-life balance means to embrace “good enough” — a good enough morning routine, a good enough work week, a good enough day of potty training. And you may need to readjust your expectations what this means for you in the new normal. So maybe that video call where your crying toddler made a cameo wasn’t perfect — and maybe a few months ago this might have seemed like a disaster — but you rolled with it, gave your little one a kiss and a snuggle, and then finished your call. That kind of good enough is a great success.
Give yourself time to adjust
This sort of readjustment doesn’t happen overnight. We’re all figuring out what this new normal means and trying to sort through the logistics of our new lives. And we’re dealing with big, complex emotions on top of that. So go easy on yourself as we all adjust — schedules, expectations, so much more.
Know that this could be a long haul and things might change
We don’t know how long this pandemic will last, and we don’t yet know the ways it will shape and change our lives. So it’s important to keep in mind that we could be living in this new normal for some time — and then that might change and we may need to adjust to an even newer normal. Aim for “good enough” days, take them one day at a time, and readjust as you go. None of this is easy. But we’re all in this new normal together.