Sometimes Your Work+Life Fit Just Stinks

(This post originally appeared in my FastCompany blog)

Since the start of 2011:

  • My intrepid nanny, who’s missed five days of work in the ten years she’s been with us, was in bed with a cold for a week;
  • On average each week, my children have had at least one half or full day off from school due to the seemingly endless snow, and
  • Finally, I contracted an inner ear infection that morphed into vertigo just as I was getting ready to speak at a conference in New Orleans.

In other words, during the first six weeks of the year, my work+life fit stank (I’d use a bit more colorful term but I want this post to be SFW).

I pulled out all of my “expert” tricks to deal with the unexpected body blows (I do try to walk my talk): I called in my back up care; I traded off with my husband for coverage depending upon who had the more urgent deliverable at work; I got up earlier and went to bed later; and I cut out all non-essentials from my schedule (bye, bye blogging).

I muddled through without any major disasters, either at work or at home. Regardless, it all still stank. It wasn’t fun. It’s been stressful and hard. But I’d figured out a while ago that if I made daily perfection the bar against which I measured my work+life fit success, I’d be doomed. So, I’ve learned to roll with it the best I can whenever the turbulence strike.

Sitters get well, snow stops, and ear infections heal. And I already see my fit improving. It always does, until the next time it just stinks. And if it stinks for too long, that’s my signal a bigger change might be required. But, most of the time it’s a matter of simply hanging in there.

Control what you can. Be good to yourself. Beam with pride for making it through the next 24 hours with as many of the basics completed as possible. Wait for the sun to shine again. It will. It is.

Has your work+life fit ever “stunk?” How did you muddle through to the other side?

(Update: While my most recent period of work+life fit stinkiness is, in part, related to child care issues, I don’t mean to infer that it’s just parents who have to muddle through now and then.  Anyone can have  a pipe burst unexpectedly, a dog eat a towel and need emergency surgery, the car not start, or the weather strand them in the airport during a business trip or on vacation. And those are just a few examples. Unfortunately, no one is immune from the periodic turbulence.)

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7 thoughts on “Sometimes Your Work+Life Fit Just Stinks

  1. I think part of the solution is acceptance. Acceptance that we can’t always be totally prepared for the unexpected and that, as you point out, when the unexpected happens, we have to learn to roll with it rather than resist it. I think that acceptting what is, makes it quicker and easier to find solutions (not to mention a whole load less stressful!!!!!)

  2. Thanks for the post. It is important to note that there are lots of factors that are out of our control when trying to make it all fit. I can’t help but think of families and individuals who can’t make those changes necessary due to economics or lack of support.

    1. Good and important point, Mary. But even if the broader economic and support issues were addressed (and they need to be dealt with), there will still be days that it will not fall together and stink…unfortunately. 🙂

  3. Glad to hear you made it through and great post. I’m in one of those spaces myself right now. The “balance” stinks day to day and will for about a week or two more. Big event coming up for consulting client, daughter has big project due, helping school board candidate campaign, and husband’s big deadline means we basically don’t see him. Like you, I’m just trying to cut out the non-essentials, be totally okay with the fact that our house is a wreck (not too hard for me) and take the long view.

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