- There are two versions of ourselves: our summer selves and our school year selves. We can quickly feel unbalanced when we return to school.
- There is no such thing as work/life balance because it’s not attainable. Instead, it’s work/life satisfaction.
Welp. Here we are. Some of us are already in the full swing of teaching, and some of us have just a few days left before the school year officially begins. Regardless of where we are, we have all felt the “shift.”
You know what I’m talking about.
It’s the shift from our summer selves to our school year selves. These are different selves.I am happy to report a small shift in language that positive psychologists will invite us to make. It's not work/life balance. It's work/life satisfaction. Click To Tweet
One of the biggest differences between these two versions of ourselves is how quickly we feel unbalanced between our work life and our home life. Once we feel off kilter, we aren’t our best selves in either place.
Have you ever Googled something like, “How can I achieve work/life balance” or “Strategies to help balance work and home”? If you have, you more than likely got a bunch of non-scientific articles or Pinterest-perfect quotes that left you feeling less than satisfied.
Spoiler alert: There is no such thing as work/life balance.
I’m sorry to break it to you, but it simply doesn’t exist. And if something doesn’t exist, we can’t attain it!
I mean, have you ever been truly 50/50 at work and at home? I sure haven’t. Find me now as I am getting the school year started. I’m probably 75% work and 25% home. The week before winter break? I’m lucky if I’m 20% work and 80% home. Parent conference week? Back up to 75% at work. (You should see the dinners my family eats during this time!) Is there a family emergency or great need at home? I’ll be 85% at home and try to muster up the other 15% for work.
Have I ever been 50/50? Not a chance. I am never killing it at work and killing it at home. It depends on the season and needs of both my home and my work. Part of the reason this gets so frustrating is because we’ve been given the narrative that work/life balance is attainable. So I am happy to report a small shift in language that positive psychologists will invite us to make.[scroll down to keep reading]
Shifting to Work/Life Satisfaction
It’s not work/life balance.
It’s work/life satisfaction.
One more time for my friends in the back:
Can I be balanced in both places simultaneously? Nope.
Can I be satisfied in both places simultaneously? Yep. This is attainable.
So instead of beating yourself up because you don’t feel completely aligned and balanced between work and home, revise your language, knowing the infamous work/life balance is not an attainable or sustainable goal. What’s attainable and sustainable is understanding we can feel a level of satisfaction in both places as we move through our days.
Work/life satisfaction. I’m 100% in!
Small shifts, big gifts!
Reframe your thoughts and consider your goal not as work/life balance, but rather work/life satisfaction. See if this reframing helps you create a realistic, manageable expectation for your personal and professional lives.
About Suzanne Dailey
Suzanne Dailey is a proud member of the Teach Better Family! She is an instructional coach in the Central Bucks School District where she has the honor and joy of working with elementary teachers and students in 15 buildings. Suzanne is Nationally Board Certified, a Fellow of the National Writing Project, and has a master’s degree in Reading. She is dedicated to nurturing and developing the whole child and teacher. Suzanne lives in Doylestown, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.