Just Google “work-life balance” or “mom-work balance” and you’ll find a list of hundreds (maybe even thousands) of articles telling you tips and tricks with balancing work and family. Unless you’re a career musician (most of us aren’t!), these articles aren’t satisfactory.
What if your job is just a day job, and you have other career aspirations, such as being a fulltime musician? Or, what if you like your day job, but also would like to keep a band and play shows – in addition to having three days a week to exercise?
Balancing, you see, is not just this two-dimensional “mommyhood vs. career” thing. It’s a way of living, about dividing the hours of time into buckets.
For me, these buckets are: 1. Being a mom who nurses her son; 2. Being a journalist who works, by day, 40 hours per week; 3. Teaching guitar two days a week (aspiring to teach three days per week); 4. Exercising 4x per weeks (aspiring to hit 5x per week); 5. Being part of a community service organization; 6. Household duties; 7. Having a good relationship with my husband; 8. Making time for family and friends.
Since becoming a mom, I’ve had to give up having a full-time band (and by full-time, I mean full-time in the extracurricular sense) that practices three hours a week and plays regular gigs. I’ve also had to give up Zumba with my favorite instructor in Stamford, because you have to score a spot 30 minutes early. I’ve also given up teaching guitar in Brooklyn on Sundays.
I’m at the point where I want to add some stuff, like 2-3 new students per month for guitar lessons, two hours per week for Skype lessons, two hours per week for my own music, and one chapter per week for my novel. But I don’t have anything left I can give up!
I can’t give up exercise; it’s already scaled down from my pre-pregnancy days. Gone are the 5:30-7:30 p.m. 13-mile runs with my running friends, or the half-marathon field trip. And I already mentioned the Zumba.
I can’t give up teaching guitar, because it’s my passion. I certainly can’t give up cleaning, or time with my son. I don’t want to give up the two or three hours I have with my husband per week, talking in bed or watching “Kitchen Nightmare” over sushi takeout.
And I don’t want to give up my regular book club – it’s one of the only chances I get to see my local friends. Speaking of which, I’d like to do more stuff with friends – running, going to rock shows, singing karaoke, attending birthday parties.
I didn’t start this blog post with any ideas for a solution. But I’ll take suggestions. And with that, my 10-minute break is over, and I’m back to being a journalist.