Work-life balance has been one of the hottest topics of the 21st century. As working mothers and fathers, we have pushed for this almighty movement. But, now that our employers have so graciously granted our wishes, we have failed to wholeheartedly embrace this balance. Instead, we have chosen to narrowly define -life' as home life. I'm not suggesting that we abandon our families and hit the local bar every night. No, I'm suggesting that we expand the definition of life to one that encompasses a social interactions or a break at the very least. As parents, we do not stop. It is an around the clock job. Busy doesn't come close to describe our lives.
In fact, there was a job advertisement posted around Mother's Day last year that all mothers can relate to. With the intention of highlighting the startling but very real nature of motherhood, A Boston agency posted a job online with the title -Director of Operations.' The conditions and requirements sounded outrageous: standing up almost all the time, constantly exerting yourself, working 135 to unlimited hours per week, degrees in medicine, finance and culinary arts essential, no vacations, increased workload over holiday periods and a non-existent salary. After candidates had expressed their utter shock and disgust at the appalling job description, the interviewer proceeded to justify the harsh conditions by stating that billions of people around the world currently hold this position. Who? Mothers. You're laughing right? It's because it's true.
It's important for us as parents, to take a time out for ourselves. A mini break. A breather. Rather than deleting your social calendar because you feel guilty about not living up to the unrealistic expectations imposed on parents, embrace your social calendar. Instead of making up the same old excuses, say yes to your colleague's birthday or that Rod Stewart concert that you've been looking forward to all year. Is that selfish? Most definitely not. As parents, we play a 24 hour role. So, we deserve a break. It's not only that we deserve it, we need it. It is far from selfish. It's healthy. The last thing we want is to drown in the relentless stress of parenthood and the pressures associated with work.
Allocating a night to ourselves every now and then is critical in avoiding stress, fatigue and burnout. The ramifications of burning out are not pretty. So, let's look at a preventative approach. Taking a night off our motherly and fatherly duties allows us to truly relax without being bombarded by the constant demands of our children. For a couple of hours, our thoughts are not clouded by the deadlines our bosses have inflicted on us. We are not forced to play Judge Judy to determine whose lego belongs to who or what channel the TV should be on. We can breathe. It does not mean we love our children any less. No. It means that we are looking after our emotional wellbeing. We often forget that looking after our emotional health is just as important as our physical health. It influences our ability to conquer life's greatest challenges, build strong relationships and jump back up on our feet when life takes a negative turn.
You're probably nodding your head but you're probably also formulating another excuse that justifies your inability to make time for yourself. Who is going to look after your beautiful children? Lucky for you, the wonderful world wide web is at your service to find a babysitter. No need to scrunch up your face or fear the worst. These directories are your fairy godmothers to the rescue, here to revolutionise your world and support your -take a break' program.