Work, Life, Where’s My Balance?

by | Especially For The Fire Wife, Everyday

Before I blogged about being a fire wife, I blogged a lot about being a working woman and all the glory and challenges that come with it.  It’s good stuff and I want to share more of it here with you all.  Especially now that we have added the “Working Fire Wives” group to our Fire Wife Sisterhood.  (If you are not a member it will ask you to join when you click that link.)  Being a working wife is one thing.  But doing it with the fire schedule adds a whole new perspective.  And oh how I have underestimated that dynamic!  Can’t wait to talk with you all a lot more on this great topic! Here’s a post from the past (2008) that I’ve slightly adapted.  Enjoy! ~  Lori Mercer @wifeonfire

  Last month I attended a luncheon discussing Work-Life balance with a business networking group here in Columbus. We started off our discussion with a little self-assessment. You can find it here at this blog on WebMD but I added the self-assessment here for your convenience (sidenote:  I didn’t read this book.  Just the blog post.):

Fortgang, who is the author of Living Your Best Life and NOW WHAT? 90 Days to a New Life Direction, recommends evaluating the state of your life with the following quiz.

True or false:

1. I have more than enough time to do what I want to do. 2. I am on a health regimen that helps me feel energized. 3. I look forward to every day. 4. There are no people in my life (at home or at work) who drain me. 5. I love my home (location, contents, the feel, the style). 6. I have no clutter in my home and/or office. 7. I live a life pursuing what I want instead of what I should do. 8. My work is satisfying and rewarding. 9. I take at least two week long vacations a year. 10. I do not work on weekends. 11. I get plenty of sleep. 12. I have plenty of quality time with my children and/or the people who matter to me. 13. I have at least one hobby or pastime outside of my work and family activities. 14. I eat foods that make me feel energized instead of sluggish. 15. I have the space to take at least 15 minutes of silence a day. 16. I have friends that are easy to be with and a joy to spend time with. 17. I carry no heavy emotional burdens or addictive behaviors.

  As I completed the self-assessment, I was actually pleased. My results weren’t bad. In general, I am very happy with what I have going on in my life.I like my house and my job(s). I don’t dread getting up and I don’t even dread Mondays. I have a hobby outside of work and family. I like my friends and social circle (I have friends!)  And I’ve worked hard to learn about healthy eating choices that keep me most energized (protein heavy snacks and eating gluten free for example.) What I am most proud of?  Emotional burdens and addictive behaviors.  Sure I still have some but I am taking names and knocking them down left and right.  This is the heavy stuff that really holds you back.  And you are the only one who can do anything about it.  No more self-defeating thoughts.  Good bye doubt.  So long insecurity.  Farewell hang ups about money, and looks, and everything else material. But nothing is perfect and I haven’t figured out how to put 48 hours into a day yet 🙂 So I found myself falling short in a few areas. Here is how I rationalized them: Sleep. Hmmm. Well I’ve been short in the sleep category since my first child was born in the year 2000. But I don’t really see this as a problem. When I’m working on what I love, I don’t feel a desire to sleep in until even 8 am. I want to get up and get cracking. And I am the kind of person that can fully function on 5-6 hours a night. Actually, I didn’t even start the bad caffeine habit until my 4th child was born and I’ve since given it up. So I rationalize the sleep deficiency in this way…….I never artificially stimulate past 8 pm when I’m too tired to keep my eyes open. Health is important. I see my thirties and forties as the ‘work horse years’. With young children, God just kind of designed us to be strong and resilient to be able to get up in the middle of the night all the time. And although I don’t feel like I’m on a downhill slide health wise, I know that once I reach further into my 40’s and 50’s I won’t have the energy I do now. So, can I sacrifice a little sleep to keep working on my dreams now? That’s my rationalization. And hats off to all those other moms that I’m conference calling, emailing, blogging and chatting with past 9 PM EST. Vacations.  (Here was my answer in 2008 when my kids were 8 and under) Traveling with young children is NOT a vacation for Mom’s. The only way I’ve found to pull this off is to take 2 weeks and to go somewhere beautiful that you just stay put. For instance, the very remote 160 acre property in upstate NY we vacationed last year. We packed the minivan AND loaded a trailer to pull behind. And we leisurely explored the nooks and crannies of nature. Three years ago, we did the same thing in San Diego in a cottage on Mission Beach where we did nothing but play in the sand and water and go to the grocery occasionally. But you see, it takes me a couple years to rev up to one of those big adventures. So in between, I like to take my vacations in bite size portions. A Friday off here and there. A half day in the morning when school has late-start so we can have a family breakfast together.

1b-768x1024_web (Here is my 2013 answer now that my youngest just started 1st grade!)  Wooo hoooo!!!  I was born for weekend getaways and we fit them in whenever and wherever we can.  Our kids have stayed in more hotels and seen more places in their short lifetimes than I did all the way thru age 25.  Love the firefighter schedule for allowing us to do this.  My vacation time from my work is more of a limiting factor than anything else.  Oh yeah.  And that cost factor of traveling with 6 people ;). Silence. Guilty as charged here. I just can’t sit still and focus. It’s impossible with my multi-tasking mind. Even with my car time these days I feel lost if I don’t have at least 3 phone calls to return.  I’m even listening to podcasts and audio books using my sleep-phones (look up these nerdy contraptions that are so comfy!) in bed all night. Clutter. Can you find everything you need? Is it clean? Then do we care so much about clutter? Not me 🙂 I do have standards in place in the high traffic areas and teach my kids (and husband and babysitter!) to meet these standards. With 7 people in our house (including the sitter), that’s the only way. But organization of my personal office is no where on the priority list. The important stuff is organized but everything else gets piled and looked at on occasion when I’m in the mood. We can’t be everything right? And life goes on with my clutter. 1c_web Quality Time with Children and Loved Ones. This is the biggy. Do you ever feel like you have enough? Even if I never worked, would there be enough time to spend with each of my loved ones to be sure they know how much I love them and to “train them up in the way they should go” according to Biblical scripture? How do you know you are doing enough? This is a constant point of re-assessment. Some days require more time. Some days require more profound statements and conversation and listening skills. Some days require more play. Some days just require time! As we approach the 1 year birthday of my daughter and I see her go from rolling to crawling to pulling herself up and walking around furniture, I realize over and over and over again how fast it goes. And if I don’t make a change today towards more time with my family, I will miss all of it. 1d-1024x1024_web What does your assessment look like? If there is something that doesn’t feel right, make a change today. If you had answered this list 1 year ago, would your answers have been different? What kind of answers do you want to give 6 months or 12 months from now? What changes do you need to make to get there? And PS – Get after those emotional burdens.  Drop them today like a hot potato.  You’ve got a great life to live sister!

Women Who Get It

Untitled The Fire Wife Sisterhood is full of women from all areas of the country, with all types of backgrounds and all types of “jobs”. You’re sure to find someone who just gets it.  How busy life is.  How demanding it can be to be to love a firefighter. Check out the Fire Wife Sisterhood. It’s free to join, you have nothing to lose!  If you like what we bring to the table and offer, consider signing up for a Supporter Level Membership with bonuses and filling your heart knowing you’re helping support our mission of strengthening marriages and families.
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On a mission to be and inspire us all to be better humans, to strengthen fire families & marriages, to nurture and encourage fire wives, do "good business" in all areas of my life and of course, love on my 4 kids.

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