STRIKING A ‘Better Balance’ We Still Can`t Have it All

Abstract:

The clock ticked 6.00 in the morn. Dawn of ‘Yet Another day’ for Smriti. She dint need an alarm in her phone or the table clock, as it’s all inbuilt in her body mechanism.

Main Article:

The clock ticked 6.00 in the morn. Dawn of ‘Yet Another day’ for Smriti. She dint need an alarm in her phone or the table clock, as it’s all inbuilt in her body mechanism. Each day, 6`o Clock ...and she`s up for the preparations of the daily course of meals, packing lunches for the family, quite a bit of cleaning, writing instruction notes and leaving it on refrigerator top for the maid, squeezing in few minutes for her morning workout...Back and forth in the middle giving voice for waking the kids and their daddy. After about a couple of hours of rushing...speeding through the many mundane chores of domesticity, she finally gets ready herself for her work.

And now its honk..honk...honk.. Everywhere on the roads. A pretty long journey she got to make to reach her office. Its 9.30 am. And there lies her days` tasks tightly packed for each minute till 5.30 pm. Couple of meetings, some important tasks laid down on her desk, and few impromptu tasks coming up her way. Smriti was a Mid-Senior level employee in a private firm for about 8 years. She`s earning a pretty decent salary. A mom of 2 children. A perfectionaist by nature. She`s a woman who engages in few social activities outside work. A woman with bigger goals in life. A woman whose vision is to be focused on her career as well as be the great care giver for her family. All these years of an extensive tug of war between work and life to do justice to both her career and life that she envisions to have, has only made her realize one thing, “Smriti, You can’t have it all. And if you wish to, then in the process you end up stressed out yourself and others around you” In her mission to fulfill and give her best to both ends has resulted in nothing but leaving her frustrated.

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At times even pushing her to compromise on her bigger goals of career. Also at times, she feels she is prostituting her love for her family with her passion for career. Eventually she`s filled with the guilt of not providing her whole self to her dear ones while she`s completely fatigued and engulfed with the work pressures.

If Smriti is a story that unerringly portrays the lives of many working woman of all strata and woman who are at the start of their career or who has reached the pinnacle of success in their career.. Am sure, that would not be a cake walk for any. Rather each day and every single moment, the woman who sets out to work needs to cope with a OVERABUNDANT challenges and stores deeper sense of guilt many a times.

It was a complete surprise and a daring confession made by the PepsiCo CEO, Indra.K. Nooyi during her interview with The Atlantic when she was asked two questions that elucidated a frank discussion on Work Life Balance for a woman. The world knows her as one of the most successful career woman who made it to the top as well as a mother of 2 children; hence she must be a stalwart of that ‘Happy Balancing Act’. Instead Mrs. Nooyi stated “Working women has to put up with many things. Women can`t have it all. It’s just that women pretend we have it all. We pretend we can have it all!” By this statement she has nailed it hard in our minds that a woman who is amongst the most influential list of people in the world also faces the trauma and is still striving hard to balance her work and life to embrace the ‘Happy Balancing Act’

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We all wish for a ‘Happy Balancing’ between the 2 scales of work and life. We must all understand that Work-life balance is a daily effort and in fact a minute to minute effort to make time for family, friends, society, spirituality, personal growth, self-care, and other personal activities, in addition to the demands of the workplace. Just as how we have the ‘Work Management’ which guides and functions with pre-set goals and timelines, we have something called the ‘Family Management’ which has evolved as a new science for striking the balance between work and life.

But a happy, well-functioning family doesn’t just happen - it takes an infinite amount of efforts from not just you but those around you as well. The first step towards ‘Family Management’ is to THINK about how you’d like your family to work? In this write I am bringing to you the ‘HAPPY BALANCING ACT’ to help you in FAMILY MANAGEMENT.

We must all understand that men do more of ‘Paid works’ and a less of or nil of ‘Unpaid works’ whereas working women do both ‘Paid Works’ as well as ‘Unpaid works’ at home. The dipstick to check if your families are working well is to find out if you have more time and energy for activities to be indulged in together, and all the members in your family are less stressed and more happy. This is when you can be sure of your ‘Happy Balancing Act (HBA)’ in place.

HBA 1 – Bring the members of the family together. In many a family these days, 4 or more people live under one roof but seldom make time to see each other and talk. Probably a lesser person-to-person connection is evolving these days and a more of person-to-gadget/technology connection is happening.

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HBA 2 – Make everyone in the family, be it the grown-up or the children to get organized in their respective works and to equally contribute their share of responsibility to the functioning of the family. Say, for children it will be to plan and work on their daily lessons, wake up times, play time, eating and entertainment time etc.

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To initiate them you may prepare a weekly time table of activities with a weekly reward for the first month. Slowly you may stop you intervention and let them be their own little masters. And ensure to reward only if time table was followed for the week completely. You could write up a chart that outlines who does what and when. Then,down the track, hold an informal family meeting to see how everyone is finding the plan. This will also give you a chance to praise your children for their achievements, or suggest better ways of doing jobs. This paves way for appreciation and encouragement instilling a positive attitude in children towards their responsibility rather than being hostile or showing aggression.

HBA 3 – Every family has its own dynamics of functioning. So certain intricacies in family management cannot be generalized. You must ensure the family functions based on a sound value system set by you and provide a way for passing on those values to each member of your family. And all grown-ups in the family play an equal share in making this happen. Values could be the social skills, civic sense.....

HBA 4 – Help each other in the family to have fun in a way together as well as in the preference of each. Encourage all in the family to pursue a hobby or a worthwhile pass-time. Through this we ensure all are coping well with the stress. Nowadays stress is not the absolute confine to the grown-ups alone, it’s something which has swamped our children as well. Affection and Positive Attention for everyone in the family is needed to feel the love and value each other in the family. Make sure your children and the grown-ups receive lots of encouragement, positive feedback and signs of affection. It’s also important to make time every week to do things as a family – even a short walk or a night sky watch at the terrace can help bring you together.

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HBA 5 – Routines and Rituals: Consider your daily routines and figure out what system works best for all members of the family. Routines make children feel safe and secure, and can make the busy times of day less stressful for everyone. The HBA 2 will help in achieving this. Routines are those planned and recurring activities that help keep the home running smoothly. They include things that need to be done at the same time most days, like getting dressed for school or having a bath, doing the daily lessons, cooking a meal... Research shows that rituals can strengthen your family’s values and help pass these values on to your children. You can indulge in cleaning or dusting the house/counters/Dishes/Washroom/Vehicle along with the children or as family.

HBA 6 - Coping Mechanisms - Think about how you can divide up jobs so everyone is happy. Understand the preferred reactions of family members by talking about how you would like everyone to respond to difficult or challenging situations like tiredness, an upset child or financial pressures and time pressures. If household jobs are shared, the burden is lighter on everyone. Sharing household chores with your children can help them feel important and valued members of the family. Taking the support from others in the neighborhood or at office making them as ‘Extended Families’ during the needs of time is a best coping mechanism. It also develops connections to become strong as its all about getting and giving support in return.

Managing stress for striking the BALANCE

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Getting the work-family balance right can be stressful. You’ll be trying to cope with more responsibilities and even less time for you. Stress has a way of sneaking up on you slowly, or it can sometimes be more like a volcanic explosion, particularly if conditions at work or home are difficult. Take care of yourself. Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Exercise is a great outlet for stress and helps put things into perspective. Are you getting some regular time to yourself? Do not hesitate to take support. Often, the first steps in getting support are asking for it, and accepting it when it’s offered. Giving others support is a great way of creating a support community. When you offer or ask for help, others feel that they can ask you for help in return.

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When we opt for careers and work hard for progression, we also need to remember that we progress in our life into succeeding phases. We are bound to take many roles each day and give our best to all the roles as an employee, daughter, wife, mother, care giver, financial advisor, motivator and an infinite other undefined roles. All these roles become bundled that we got to take up multiple roles in a single moment sometimes.

Women eventually become a pro juggler rotating the tasks seamlessly and are expected to manage the family flawlessly. The simplest way to reach for the perfect balance of work and life are these SIX HAPPY BALANCING ACTS detailed above. Striking a balance between Work and Life can be beautifully attained if and only if you make up your mind to ‘stop and smell the roses’ every now and then! And that is when you can acclaim success in your FAMILY MANAGEMENT.

Nevertheless even after striking a healthier balance through the HBAs and being a better ‘Family Manager’, we got to concede with ‘We still can’t have it all!!

BUDDING MANAGERS
SEPTEMBER 2014 ISSUE


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Author:  buddingmanagers
Posted On:  Tuesday, 23 September, 2014 - 14:48

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