How I’m working on finding balance


Hello! Hope you all had a good weekend. Mine was lovely – I had an assignment due on the Monday, so spent quite a lot of it studying, but managed to fit in some fun around the study. We were in Mangawhai with friends, and on Sunday we drove up to my parents’ gorgeous new place in Parua Bay – a small village by the sea in the Whangarei Heads. They are (finally) living their rural dream and are very happy. It’s wonderful to see.

The drive up to Parua Bay was the scene of a Very Serious Conversation between Hayden and me. It was a good conversation, but it wasn’t easy. The topic was hard, and kind of stupid. It was a conversation that surely all couples sometimes have, especially when they’ve got small children. It was about the Balance.

My study is quite intense, even though I only do it part-time. I’m working on my Master of Public Policy. Once I have that I want to go on to do my doctorate, so I work extremely hard at it – I find getting an A kind of devastates me these days, because it means I didn’t do well enough to earn an A+. I’m absolutely too hard on myself, but knowing that doesn’t make it any easier to change. I’m just not happy unless I know I’m doing my absolute best, and this is my future career. I want to make sure I excel.

Added to the study is Amelie, obviously. Not just Amelie but Amelie and Hayden. My little family means the world to me, and I’m never happier than when the three of us are together. Weekend mornings make my heart sing. Amelie comes into bed with us and has her milk while we have our coffee, then we play for a little while before all getting up to start our day. It’s the greatest. I refuse to let it be compromised. I refuse to let my family be compromised, really.

Finally, there’s work – not yet, but soon. I really like my current career – sometimes I even love it – but it’s not my forever career (it definitely feeds into it, though – it’s far from wasted!) I know I can do more, be more, earn more with it. The question is, do I really want to?

Looking at everything in my life, I know I can’t do justice to it all. I won’t compromise my family, and I don’t want to compromise my study, and the future career that hangs on it. So now I’m trying to work out if I have it in me to ease up on my current career. It doesn’t sit well with me, but of the three priorities I have, it’s the lowest right now.

This is a difficult thing for me. As I said earlier, I’m just not happy unless I know I’m doing my absolute best. Compromising one thing, by its very nature, is not doing my absolute best. But it seems better than failing at three things.

The more I think about this, and the more I try to work out what’s right for our family, the more systemic I realise these problems are. One of my friends will soon also be returning to work from maternity leave. She’d like to go back part-time, but she’d also like a new job, ideally. And you know what? Professional part-time jobs don’t exist. They just don’t.

I wonder how much talent is being wasted because of this? And how many people are missing out on things they’d really like to do – career-wise and family-wise. It hasn’t escaped my attention that this is all about me having time for my family, and doesn’t talk about Hayden having time for the same family. There are two reasons for that; my study, which sucks up a lot of time, and because right now it’s just not viable for him to work less than full-time. We need his income. It sucks, and it’s not fair, but it’s just how it is.

I’m still working on all of this, and I don’t have any answers yet, but I think the only thing to do is going to be to compromise. Which is hard, but not the hardest. At least I have these choices to make, right?!

How do you make it work? What works for your families? Whose career is being compromised (if anyone’s is)?


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