I have written for years about the elusiveness of work-life balance, including an entire book about it for women lawyers. That book was published in 2012, and here is a very recent article echoing many of those same themes. The search for balance is a never-ending process.
Work-life balance is not accomplished in the knowing. It is accomplished in the execution. Only YOU can define a healthy work-life balance for YOU.
Sometimes your emphasis has to be more on the personal side, and sometime your balance needs to be more on the professional side. You don’t measure it on a day-to-day basis. You measure it over time. That is the only balance that is real.
I often hear young women lawyers complain that the balance is not being “assured” for them by the profession. They get angry when it is suggested that they have to keep their eyes on both sides of the scale. They become offended when they hear about the pitfalls of the profession for lawyer/mothers in particular, and they feel slighted.
It does not matter how many times they are told, “You are smart. You are capable of multi-tasking. You’ve got this.” The emphasis continues to be on the perceived slight. What they miss is that the advice is being shared to make them stronger and more successful.
They are not being told to ignore their family responsibilities or other important aspects of their personal lives. But they also are not being told that life is fair every day of the week or every week of the month or every month of the year either. The law is a tough and demanding profession, and it includes sacrifices that do not always feel good.
Some days will feel like hell, in fact, but other days will be so exhilarating that a lawyer/mom actually can feel like she does have it all — a combination of the children who light up her life and a profession that both challenges and compensates her in a way that allows for a better life for her children.
Do not resent those who are trying to help you. Focus on the work-life management that is being suggested in this recent article and understand that you have the power to bring about a satisfactory solution for YOU. The article rightly suggests that “We deserve more than balance. We deserve to be honest and respectful of ourselves.”
Honesty and respect for yourself will come from within yourself. It is the first step. Identifying your priorities and your goals are key. Those will dictate the balance that works for you.