Balancing time and energy spent at home and at work is a juggling act for men and women everywhere in most lines of work. Building a satisfying home life while also developing a career is surely one of the hardest tasks workers and partners face with or without children as part of the mix.
The keys to making things work for you is setting your priorities, creating clear boundaries between work and home, and realizing that life does not follow a straight course. There is always the unexpected to deal with.
It’s essential not to be wedded to the same priorities at all stages of your adult life. As we make new companions, vary our career goals, and do or do not raise children, our priorities shift and change. This is to be expected. Trying to fit a new occurrence, such as the joy of parenting into a former career model just won’t cut it. It’s necessary to be prepared to make changes and experiment with what works for you. Similarly, if you change partners, priorities that suited you as part of another twosome, may not work at all with your new duo. Expecting change not status quo goes a long way towards satisfying yourself and your companion.
Creating Clear Boundaries
In order to set priorities, you have evolved a value system of what’s most important to you depending on your adult stage of life. Once that’s accomplished with flexibility, then it’s time to clarify the boundaries between work and home. This means that when you enter your home, work is put on a shelf and you attend to those you live with. Or, if you live alone, you attend to other aspects of your life. This is of course easier said than done when the clock is ticking and you haven’t completed your work goals when you left the office. But, if you mind your boundaries, you will learn to compromise your work goals and your home goals in a way that meet your needs. Trial and error is expected, and mistakes come with the territory. But boundaries are the end goal.
Life Does Not Follow a Straight Course
If you take those words of wisdom to heart, you won’t be thrown by the unexpected and the uncertainties that come with balancing work and home. Curve balls are common place as ironic as that sounds. Knowing this, however, prepares you to be flexible, capable of compromising, and open to shifts in values. Be open to learning from how others negotiate changes in their lives. No way is the right way for all. But, being open-minded clears the path for many avenues of experience as you negotiate home and work. While this sounds nonspecific and even vague, when change occurs it’s good to realize that this may bring opportunities as well as feelings of being disrupted and disappointed that your plans didn’t go as you wished. When we learn from experiences that are sometimes untoward and obstruct our goals, we find options that we might not otherwise have contemplated.
Laurie Hollman, Ph.D., is a psychoanalyst and artist. Her book, Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior can be found on Amazon and wherever books are sold. Her paintings and multiple articles are found on her website: http://lauriehollmanphd.com. If you would like a portrait or landscape painted by her from a photo, contact her and she’ll be delighted to oblige.