Instead of Work-Life Balance, Find Your Rhythm

Photo by DigitalNative via Creative Commons

It’s no secret I’m a night owl. I’m usually up past midnight. I know it’s late when my west coast friends show up in my Twitter feed. I look forward to each evening, when the kids are finally snoring, limbs askew in bed and while my husband is in transit home. This time is just for me. There’s no kid asking me to pour them another glass of milk or read the same book for the fifth time that day.

Either I grab my favorite diet soda or pour a steaming cup of coffee from my French press before heading to my desk. It’s time to work. I tweet with friends. I blog. I write book reviews. My husband makes it home and we spend a bit of time together while he eats dinner. Then more tweeting, emails, and blogging.

Working from home, in the wee hours of the night, allows me to stay home with my kids. My husband does breakfast and school bus in the morning so I get to sleep in until 8AM. Then my day starts again.

My non-blogging friends, upon hearing what I do, comment, “How do you get it all done?”

It’s easy. I don’t sleep, is my usual joke. My toddler is going to wake up several times a night, so why not make my sleep deprivation useful, right? I do sneak in a 20 minute nap with Jaxson sometimes.

I might not get enough sleep, but my work makes me happy. I enjoy what I do. I’m not perfect at balancing all aspects of work and family (see my vacation from motherhood post). I truly don’t believe work-life balance exists. We can’t each aspect of our lives equal attention all the time. I know I can’t. I do know that if I can’t just be Mom. I have to be me. In order to be me, I have to pursue my dreams and goals. 

Photo by dicktay2000 via Creative Commons
About a month ago, I read an interview with Marissa Meyer, VP at Google, about work-life balance. Like me, she eschews work-life balance. To avoid burnout, we must find our rhythm and keep resentment at bay.  Her belief is when we resent our work, we cannot do our best. Everyone has that one thing that they must have in order to be happy and we must protect it. Something that makes the other sacrifices worth it.

I think this is true in not just my work, but my family time. Recently it’s been making Saturdays family time. I only do Passion Parties scheduled for after bedtime and usually no more than twice a month. I’m up late Sunday through Thursday but I mostly unplug the rest of the week. I might check my emails over the weekend but don’t answer them. When I check my Facebook or Twitter feed, it’s to socialize and not work.

My social media work really makes me happy. I love my work. Not everyone is luckily enough to love their work. So instead of stressing over the elusive work-life balance, I’m focusing on what keeps me going. My family time is sacred. Friday nights on the couch with my husband watching television or bad natural disaster movies.

It’s still a struggle find and stick to my rhythm. I have help from my partner in crime: my husband. With a toddler, as soon as we settle into a routine, he changes it. Or when I travel for work. Next month I’ll be gone for 5 days for Book Expo America. Every Sunday I look at my calendar and plan out my work week. Then go with the flow. 
Thank goodness for coffee. And appletinis.

This post is inspired by the novel Julia’s Child by Sarah Pinneo. Worried about what her kids eat, Julia Bailey starts a prepared organic toddler meals business. With names like Gentil Lentil, can Julia balance work and family and still save the world? 

Join From Left to Write on May 24 as we discussJulia’s Child. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes. This post contains affiliate links.

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