Full time job + Start a family + Enjoy hobbies… Can I do it all?
I am a 29 year old married woman who works an 8 to 5, Monday to Friday office job. Every week I just hold my breath until the weekend comes, just to repeat it all again the following week. I get home in the afternoons and it’s a squeeze to do some exercise, cook food, work on my personal well-being, and get an early night’s rest in. I don’t even have children yet, but I hope to somehow have them in the picture one day. How on earth must I fit all of this into my day without feeling completely drained?
We live in a society where women demand to be treated as equals to men and don’t get me wrong here, I am all for women empowerment, especially in the workplace. Yes, we are fully capable of handling any high-end, corporate career. But then at the same time, society still expects us to start families, cook delicious dinners, and lead healthy, fit lifestyles. I don’t know about you, but the more I think about the various boxes that society wants me to fit into, the more I wanna shout out, “This is bullsh*t”. I know there are women out there who do not choose the family life or who do not work full time jobs, and that’s okay - good for you! The point I’m trying to get at here is that in this day and age it is just too darn hard to make time for the things that bring us joy in life. Why should the majority of our lives be wasted at some stuffy office job where we are filling up other people’s pockets? I am a woman who yearns for a successful career so that I can responsibly contribute to my household income, but I also want to be that amazing woman who cooks delicious meals, bakes amazing treats, plays games with her kids, and loves and honours her husband. Oh, did I mention that I also want to be able to go on holiday trips and see the world? Sounds like a demanding list of things to fulfill.
I don’t have an answer to an overnight, life-changing solution, but what I have noticed in my own life is two things: Only I can make it happen, and balance is key. You can’t change your situation overnight, but you can take small steps and keep those two things in mind as you put one foot in front of the other.
Only YOU can make it happen
Your boss is not going to take pity on you and allow you to work less hours for the same pay just so that you can go exploring in the mountains or go wine tasting. People will only see your current situation as you being ungrateful for what you have and then you will realise all you ever do is complain and eventually you’ll just shut up about it until you have your next outburst from stress and anxiety. So instead, let’s look at some personal steps that you can start off with:
Firstly, ask yourself: what is it that you LOVE to do? For me it’s to go cycling in the mountains and enjoy nature, or to try a new baking recipe. For others it could even be their jobs. Make a list for yourself now.
Next, write down how you’re currently spending all your time. Include what you do before and after work, how many hours you spend on work, how you spend your free time and off days, etc. Don’t skip anything.
Now compare the two lists that you made. How many of the things that you spend your time doing also reflect on your list of things that you love to do? The tricky part now is to eliminate all the things that are not your list of things that you love. Of course this is easier said than done. Some things are small and non-essential and it just comes down to your ability to tell someone “no” and not commit to anything that you don’t truly want to do. If there is something major on your list like your job, then that is more complex, but you CAN get out of it over time. In fact, your whole list should take you quite some time before it’s a list that you’ll LOVE.
Balance is key
Making this list does come with a ground rule - there has to be balance. This could mean drawing a distinct line between your work life and personal life. For me, if these two mix, I can’t enjoy the quality time that I have with my husband or with my folks if all I talk about is work stress, and I wouldn’t be able to enjoy flying down a mountain on my bicycle if I keep thinking about deadlines due for next week. One thing to keep in mind though, is that this balance will never be constant and you have to make room for flexibility when life calls for it. That is probably why many companies nowadays are allowing their employees to work from home when it is deemed necessary - this may be something that you could ask your own boss to incorporate and tell him/her about the great benefits of allowing it.
Be sure to look at your list again and evaluate the variety of things you have on it. A variety is good for keeping life interesting. This can be achieved in a number of ways, like scheduling specific times of the day for specific activities, or setting time limits on other things that tend to take up too much time. It could also mean being more deliberate with making plans with friends and family and not just talking about it (how many times have you said to a friend, “we should hang out sometime!” and then it never happens?). I also want to stress the point of making sure your list includes time to work on your personal well being. This could be many different things. For me, it could be going for a short run to clear my head and get some fresh air, or to spend time alone in a room to dive into some scripture and work on my spirituality. Whatever helps you to get your mind, body and soul rejuvenated, do not neglect it!
You may need to revisit this list on a regular basis. Over time our priorities and interests can change, especially if we are working towards achieving long term goals like making a career change or starting a family. And don’t get upset with yourself if you struggle to live your life perfectly everyday according to your list. Most people today are overburdened and never seem to have enough time to achieve everything they set out to do. You will always need to adapt and compromise. It’s okay to be uncertain. Yes, it’s an uncomfortable feeling, but no human being can be 100% certain about everything all the time. You’re doing great and you deserve to celebrate that!
P.S. If making a career change is something that you want to do in order to have more freedom with your time, I can help you explore some options of starting an online business >> click here to learn more.