Back in the day, men spent a significant percentage of their time working at one or two jobs in order to put food on the table, pay the mortgage and purchase whatever items the family needed.
Their wives were homemakers who spent a huge portion of their time taking care of the children, cleaning the house or apartment, and handling the many chores that came up during the course of a day. Usually there was little overlap in these roles.
Over the past five decades or so, that situation has changed dramatically. Because prices have risen significantly higher than salaries through the years, adults have to spend more time earning money than they used to.
As a result, many women have entered the workplace while still continuing to be the primary caregivers for their children, and many men have become more involved in the lives of their children without sacrificing the time they spend making a buck.
This brings us to a phrase that has become popular in recent years: the work/life balance. Or do you say, the life/work balance? Either way, it’s something every adult has to deal with, even if they never think about it in those terms. Every day we have to balance the amount of time we put into “work” with the time we put into “life.”
Now, “work” can mean different things to different people. For you, work might be a fulltime job or a part-time job. Or, if you are fortunate enough to be completely retired, work for you could be projects you do in and around the house or volunteering in your community. Basically, work is anything you do that temporarily takes you away from your family.
The same holds true with the “life” part of the balance. It doesn’t mean the same thing to everybody. If you’re single, life might be dating, socializing with friends and spending time on a hobby you love.
If you’re married with a family, life is probably preparing and eating meals with your family, picking out clothes for the children, taking the kids to the doctor or dentist, and attending a seemingly endless parade of games, plays, concerts and whatever else your children are into. Not to mention spending one-on-one time with your spouse and occasionally taking the family on vacation.
Maybe you think you’ve already attained the perfect work/life balance. You do what you have to do to make a living and then spend most of the rest of your time with the family. Or maybe you just think you’ve found that balance. The best way to find out is to ask your spouse and children to see if they agree.
Work is very important and it’s essential to keep your boss happy if you want to provide for your family. But someday, when you are an empty nester or when you’re nearing the end of your days on Earth, you won’t regret not having worked a few extra hours at the office.
On the other hand, you may regret not having spent a few extra hours with your family. Start today to make your family a big priority in your life.