Work. Life. Balance?

I haven’t been very active on the blogosphere lately.
Partly because of work.
And partly because I’ve been thinking a lot about work-life balance. And the personal thoughts I’ve been sharing with DH on the matter, I wasn’t quite so ready to share on a public space.

But after having read this article, it made me think about the kind of hours DH and I put up and I really felt I needed to put thought to pen (or keyboard!).

Many will stir their kopi siu tai in the local coffee shop, lean forward in their seats with a frown and remark to their breakfast companions, see that is the trouble with life in Singapore – the sacrifice of health in pursuit of wealth. But that being said, it is also the general view of many that that sacrifice is necessary and entirely to be expected. And most people (in Singapore, at least) don’t consider a twelve hour day to be anything extraordinary.

Before our kids arrived on the scene, DH and I used to put in twelve to seventeen hour workdays without giving a second thought. It was just the norm. It was just…expected.

Now that we’re parents, we are at work in the day, and at home with the children in the evenings. On weekdays we wake up, breakfast with the children, leave for work, come home in the evening, bring them out to the playground if possible, or play together in the living room after dinner, give them their milk, and put them to bed. That doesn’t sound like a lot, does it? But what does it say when people’s perceptions are that, that’s too much time with the children and we’re having too good a life, we should be clocking the hours at work like the rest of ’em?

To make up for those hours, DH sometimes fires up the computer after the kids have gone to bed and beavers away till 3 am many nights in a row to meet a deadline. I have had my share of 2 am nights though not in a row. (cannot survive like he does…)

The net effect – our total work hours haven’t really gotten less from those early days without kids!

I actually did a Google search and read a few other working moms’ blogs and I find the same pattern. We all put in long hours, it’s just when those hours take place. A lot of us say we love what we do, but I guess we really need to start thinking about the implications when the things we love to do take us away from what we should do for the ones we love!

DH and I are currently probably not at risk of collapsing from overwork. At least, we think…based off our recent health medical checkup reports!
But it certainly leaves a sobering thought – are we going to continue at the pace we are going at? Here’s what’s worse…we were considering stepping up the pace!

Anyway, I wish this hadn’t had to happen and Mr Tan could have lived a longer and more fulfilling life. But I also hope you will take the time to read it and ponder about its implications on your own lifestyle. And maybe…if more of us start resolving that it isn’t the norm to do twelve hour days we’d be able to find that elusive meaning of what work-life balance really is.

Flowers at Sorrento

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