My online friend Jitsuko—who has turned me on to do this 30- day blogging challenge, wrote a great post that really spoke to me. Of course, she wrote in Japanese (If you understand Japanese you can read it here.), so I am going to explain her post in English.
We often talk about Work-Life Balance in North America. It’s the same issue in Japan, too. Not just for parents. Basically if you have a life, everyone is struggling with Work-Life Balance. Perhaps more so in Japan where many work long hours.
But Jitsuko says she’d rather think in a different way. Instead of trying to balance everything, in her mind, it works like a switch. You have to turn each one on/off.
-Mom button, Work button, Private button, Wife button…
She says she used to try having multiple buttons on at the same time, but realized only one switch can be flipped on at a time.
So when Mom button is on, she can focus on being a mom, work when Work switch is turned on, Private one (Me time) is particularly important…
and if she can use all the buttons(or maybe you can call them channels) effectively, that is a great day. But if you end up using only one or some of the buttons, things could go a little crazy.
I always said myself there is no such thing as Work-Life Balance. It just does not exist, so don’t look for it. In my opinion, you just have to do what is most appropriate at the time. If the kids need attention, that is important, and sometimes work really needs to be taken care of. And I know it’s not easy.
Jitsuko’s “switch button” theory kind of makes me want to gamify my busy life. Next time I have my kids, let’s see if I can use all the switches effectively, shall we? Suddenly, this sounds much more fun than trying to achieve a perfect Work-Life Balance. Thank you, Jitsuko-san!