The Family & Parenting Reporter for the Seattle Post Intelligencer Paul Nyhan made an interesting post last night about Work-Family Balance: Work-Family Balance is a Joke: Embrace the Chaos
The post talks briefly about efforts towards new family leave law in Washington and then moves on to an evaluation over whether a happy Work-Family Balance is actually realistic and attainable. He concludes that it isn't and that working parents need to roll with the punches.
I'm not sure how I feel about the phrase "Work-Family balance." Typically when I hear the term Work-Something Balance it's "Work-Life Balance" that's being talked about. I've never heard anyone without kids refer to their "Work-Family Balance." Perhaps it's only once we have kids that family actually factors into the equation.
I think that the phrase for everyone should be Family-Work-Life balance. Family comes first, then work (gotta pay the bills), and then you can squeeze in some time for yourself after you taken care of your family and your work is in order. Not that this is the arrangement of my priorities all the time but it's something to shoot for. Actually, the thing to shoot for is Family-Life-Work but that's really hard to do. Focus on your family and living your life and let work be an afterthough. Work to live vs. the other way around and all that.
Finding time for yourself is definitely a challenge even as a single person with a full time job let alone as a parent. Pamela Slim (who maintains the Escape From Cubicle Nation blog) posted yesterday morning about 8 Strategies to get the most from painful or awkward life transitions. A lot of the strategies she posted definitely apply to parenting and the attempt to maintain some sort of balance. In an effort to not copy the meat and potatoes of her post into mine I'll say you should go check out her post. I'll end this with a quote from that post that I really liked:
The interesting thing is that no matter what the ultimate benefit of a change, going from "what was" to "what will be" can be very unsettling.