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Life with Lavendar in London town

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Work-Life-Balance. Blah.

This work-life balance business is a crock of shit.

It's a catch phrase used to emolliate the jagged edges of a frantic reality when you are trying to juggle it all. Not have it all, because that is a delusion.

Just juggle it all.

The Adriana Huffingtons and Sheryl Sandbergs of this world have published sound bite tomes (Thrive & Lean In respectively) advising women how to navigate this work-life-balance theory. In a nutshell, Arianna advocates sleeping and breathing more and Sheryl's advice is to work more.

Thanks Ladies.

What are the other two 'metrics'?

Nonetheless both books were bestsellers for a hot second which shows that women of a certain demographic are seeking advice and guidance on how to work, raise families, manage domestic life, prioritise one's health, have some leisure and social pursuits and remain somewhat sane.

I rarely hear men use the work-life--balance catchphrase. Men I know tend to fall into two categories. Those who work and leave the domestic everything to their spouse. Said spouse might work too but tough luck for her. The other category are men who work and are 'hands-on.'  This might mean they do housework, do the school drop-off, pick-up or shop for food and cook it.

I personally dislike the term 'hands-on' when applied to male domestic labour for it implies some kind of altruism on the man's behalf.  Again, it's not a term ever used in relation to women. It's a double standard.

The work-life-balance issue is bothering me more than normal now because I am working more. Not that I ever stopped but when you drop below three days a week, somehow it's not seen as 'work.' It's something you do for pocket money. Yeah, right.

Pretty much every woman I know

Maybe my mum has the answer when she advises me to, do less, to which my reply is, you are welcome to my laundry. 40c wash please.

Stupidly I agreed to increase my paid work hours in the lead up to Christmas; a time in which domestic chores and social activities quadruple. I get through my days on coffee, sugar and rage.

My husband's work load hasn't changed too much. Maybe a slight increase but nothing requiring Valium.

But why should he need Valium? He didn't source all the birthday and Christmas presents and make sure they are delivered to the recipients. He didn't write and send all the cards. He didn't monitor and plan the family and our child's festive social calendar which now qualifies me to become a airport traffic controller. He doesn't do the doctors, dentist and haircut appointments. He doesn't help out at school. He didn't source any of the houses we have looked at as potential buyers.  He didn't source the family dress up costumes for the Christmas parties ahead. He didn't organise childcare.He didn't look into and plan all the Christmas activities we are doing over the break as a family.

He did get the Christmas tree though. It's huge and too big for our little house.

None of the above is brain surgery. But it requires a lot of brain space.

All throughout November, my head pulsated to an alarming level. I thought I had Martian blood. Every woman I spoke to said the same. Next year we should all get t-shirts that read:

My Head is Exploding. Duck.

Amongst all this jolliness, I'm trying to write a book.  About a mum who is negotiating the work-life-balance dilemma so she can be at home with her daughter and husband, although her career (and passion) means she needs travel for long periods.

But my current work-life-balance is preventing me from writing.

And so is this rant.