Here’s a question for you: In the never-ending merry-go-round of work-life balance, why is work always the bad guy?
One of my colleagues, Kelly, recently raised this important question on a Tuesday when her work life trumped her home life–big time. It was a body-slam of sorts where her wins at work were far more exciting and rewarding than the chaos that was going on at home.
In a single day, she secured two incredibly exciting projects where The Mom Complex will have the opportunity to help build an innovation pipeline for two Fortune 500 companies in their pursuit to make the lives of moms easier.
That’s a good day at work.
Meanwhile, at home, Kelly had two young kids to take care of, a house full of guests from out of town, and a refrigerator that immediately broke down after she filled it with $350 worth of groceries and the meals she prepared in advance to make life easier during a tough week.
That’s a rough day at home.
So, why, when we talk about work-life balance, is the implication that work is always the bad guy—that we should feel bad, guilty, or shameful for spending time in this area of our lives. But what about the days when it’s the best part of our day? When the wheels fall off at home and doing or being at work feels awesome?
In Kelly’s case, her job was the sole source of excitement and relief in a crazy, busy day. And that’s OK.
It’s OK to love your job. It’s OK to look forward to it. It’s OK that, at times, it feels better than fixing pancakes, wiping people’s butts, and taking out the trash. People seem to get so “judgy” when working women celebrate the working aspect of their lives. But in the wise words of Kelly, “Judge me all you want. It was the best part of my day.”
Maybe it shouldn’t be called “work.” Maybe that’s where its bad reputation comes from.
Case in point: the image from my life right now.
As I’m writing this article, I’m on vacation and sitting in a very comfortable lounge chair next to a lazy river. I don’t have a longing desire to be in that river—with fountains spraying water in my face, strange kids swimming under my butt, and siblings fighting in the tube next to me. Nope. No, thank you.
I’m very happy watching and writing.
Several people around me are looking at me like I’m crazy for having a laptop at a pool, but I’m very happy right now. The important lesson here is that you gotta do you. If you have a great day at home and work is annoying you, that’s fine. Everyone expects that.
However, if you have an awesome day in the office and your kids are making you crazy, that’s OK too. It’s OK to say that out loud. You’re not the only one.
Right now I’m doing me. My two worlds are peacefully coexisting and I’ll venture into the lazy river with my kids in due time—meaning during happy hour.
It’s more enjoyable that way.
Katherine Wintsch is a working mother of two and intimately familiar with the highs and lows of trying to keep it all together. As CEO of The Mom Complex, she studies mothers around the world and helps businesses develop better products and services to meet their needs. Read Katherine’s workmom blog, In All Honesty, follow @kwintsch, or visit The Mom Complex. Also see her TEDx talk on motherhood.