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  • Gail Weiner

Work life balance myth



Women cannot have it all. This is a fairy tale which we have told ourselves for decades. It is truly impossible. Something has to fall over. The concept of a work-life balance is false for women.

It was our belief that we could succeed in a corporate environment, that we could achieve the same, if not greater success than our male counterparts, and this belief proved accurate. Sure, we can, but the day does not end when we arrive home from work; we cannot crack open a beer and watch some Netflix while we relax on the couch. For many of us or third day begins when we close our office laptop. Our first day is before work starts. Preparing breakfast and lunch for the children. Getting them to school and ourselves dressed and ready. During our lunch hour, we can take a break from work to pick up our children from school, since society has deemed it a good idea for the school day to end in the middle of a workday for adults. The third job we perform is to help our children with their homework, prepare dinner for the family, and clean and do the laundry. Our fourth job is to preserve our relationship by being a supportive wife, friend, and lover. In addition, there is our fifth job, which is to care for our physical well-being and mental health. Be sure not to overlook your friendships, your aging parents, or perhaps you would like to engage in a hobby or a second career.

Just writing this has exhausted me. Where is the balance? Surely, something has to be dropped or taken less seriously. Which do you choose? Our current society has been designed to cater to the patriarch. We jumped in and decided to change this, but we have not changed the underlying patriarchy. Now we have women doing everything with very little assistance and our nature tells us not to complain. Men have never had to deal with such demands. Not ever. And yet we do. While the working hour day is structured to accommodate the masculine, it does not take the responsibilities of women or our bodies into account. Children's appointments at the dentist and after-school activities are juggled among our already hectic schedule. In the office, we are expected to report to work while we are menstruating and proceed as if it is perfectly natural that we will be bleeding and cramping all day long. Our society has instructed us to chin up and do this, so we have. In the workplace, we are instructed to show less emotion and to engage in more black and white reasoning, spatial reasoning, and aggressive consumption. This is the opposite of what the feminine embodies. Nevertheless, we have done so.

Our sensitivity and compassion are perceived as weaknesses, so instead of standing up and stating that this is how we want to do things, we have done it their way. We have fought for equal rights but instead we have been given masculine rights and we have accepted it.

Where does this leave us? Burnt out, exhausted and believing that we must be able to accomplish everything else we are a failure.

There is no balance and don’t ever beat yourself up believing that there should be.

What are your thoughts?

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