When people hear that I work part-time, three days a week, I often hear that it must be a nice "balance". This is after all why I went part-time, right? To find some balance?
Well, I kept reminding myself of this when I found myself overwhelmed over the past few weeks. I reminded myself that I should be happy because I do finally have this elusive "balance", right? Or at least, I'm supposed to have it so I should start feeling "balanced" already, right? But I didn't, and then I would feel guilty, because I wasn't appropriately appreciating my new schedule and which then caused myself to feel even less "balanced".
A week or so ago at a playgroup, when this discussion of "balance" came up again is when I finally realized: Screw Balance. I'm tired of chasing it and being let down.
I didn't have it before kids. I especially won't have it after kids. It doesn't matter what my work schedule is or isn't like. Kids and Balance are just two things that don't go together. I may strive for it. I may get close to it. But I won't ever get it and I need to stop feeling guilty when I don't have it and I feel like I should.
This schedule may not have given me complete balance, but it did give me more time with my family. More time to clean the house. More time to work on the yard. More time to give to others. No, it did not give me more time to give myself. Am I totally OK with that? Not really. But it's all good because it did give me the new found absence of that feeling of dread come Sunday night.
I used to hate Sunday evenings because I would literally get depressed. Depressed that my weekend had come to an end and I was in fact working for the weekends. Now I actually kind of enjoy my "Sunday" nights (which are actually Monday nights). I like getting ready for the next three days, knowing my time at work will be busy, but a little less emotionally demanding. I like knowing my mind can wander away from things like naps, snacks and dog hair. Believe it or not, my three days midweek "working" are a little less work than my four days "off".
And that's OK. I enjoy my "Sunday" nights now and enjoy my "Friday" (actually Thursday) nights even more. It's nice to look forward to something...it's not balance, but it's close enough. And I'm not going to feel even a little guilty about it.