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Work Can Be the Winner

Here’s a question for you: In the never-ending merry-go-round of work-life balance, why is work always the bad guy?

My business partner Lauren recently raised this important question on a Tuesday when her work life trumped her home life in a big way. It was a body-slam of sorts because her wins at work were far more exciting and rewarding than the chaos that was going on at home.

In a single day, she locked down two incredibly exciting projects where The Mom Complex would have the opportunity to help build an innovation pipeline for two Fortune 500 companies in their pursuit to make the lives of moms easier.

That’s a good day at work.

Meanwhile, at home, Lauren had two young kids to care for, a house full of guests from out of town, and a refrigerator that immediately broke down after she filled it with $350 worth of groceries and the meals she prepared in advance to make life easier during a tough week.

That’s a rough day at home.

When Lauren went to bed that night and reflected on her day, not surprisingly, the pit of her day was frantically scrambling to find storage options for her spoiling food, while her peak was nailing new opportunities for her company.

So, why, when we talk about work-life balance, is the implication that work is always the bad guy – that we should feel bad, guilty, or shameful for spending time in this area of our lives? What about the days when it’s the best part of our day? When the wheels fall off at home and doing or being at work feels awesome?

In Lauren’s case, her job was the sole source of excitement and relief in a crazy, busy day. And that’s okay.

Maybe it shouldn’t be called work. Maybe that’s where its bad reputation comes from.

The truth is, it’s okay to love your job. It’s okay to look forward to it. It’s okay that, at times, it feels better than fixing pancakes, wiping kids’ butts, and taking out the trash. People seem to get so judgy when working women celebrate the working aspect of their lives. But in the wise words of my partner, “Judge me all you want. It was the best part of my day.”

As you might have figured out, I think the very notion of work-life balance is implausible, and it’s not my metric of success. I aim for peaceful coexistence between my responsibilities at work and at home.

Case in point: the image from my life right now.

As I’m writing this, I’m on vacation and sitting in a very comfortable lounge chair next to a lazy river. I don’t have a longing desire to be in that river – with water spraying in my face, strange kids swimming around my legs, and siblings fighting in the tube next to me. Nope. No, thank you.

I’m very happy watching and writing.

Several people around me are looking at me like I’m crazy for having a laptop at a pool, but I’m very happy right now. The important lesson here is that you gotta do you.

If you have a great day at home, and work is annoying you, that is fine. Everyone expects that. However, if you have an awesome day in the office and your kids are making you crazy, guess what? That’s okay, too. It’s even okay to say it out loud. Or write about it.

You’re not the only one.

Right now I’m doing me. My two worlds are peacefully coexisting and I’ll venture into the lazy river with my kids in due time – meaning when I’m good and ready. It’s more enjoyable that way.

Katherine Wintsch is a nationally recognized expert on modern motherhood, founder of The Mom Complex in Richmond, and author of “Slay Like a Mother.” The majority of her expertise comes from studying the passion and pain points of mothers around the world. The rest, she says, is accumulated from a little trial and a whole lot of error while raising her own two children, Layla and Alex.
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