Work/life balance? What is that? But really, when you work full time and are a parent of a toddler, like me, it’s hard to feel like you’re dominating at anything. You never feel like you’re the best parent in the world, the best spouse in the world, the best employee in the world or the best volunteer in the world. I’m aware that there are plenty of people out there who don’t even see a light at the end of the balance tunnel, so I know I am lucky. I have a great boss and work at a great organization that allows me to feel like I have achieved some level of work/life balance. The on-site daycare alone reduces my stress and anxiety a great deal, and it is a resource that more companies should consider offering. But since those kinds of accommodations are not always available, most people want to know that they are just doing their best to cope with daily responsibilities and struggles.
So, what do I do to feel like I’m at least doing an acceptable job and living as stress-free as possible? I implement little things that can make me feel like I’m “crushing it.” I really try to make a habit of leaving my phone in my purse from the time I pick up my daughter from daycare until she hits the pillow at night. Of course, there are a few extenuating circumstances that make it hard for that to happen, like a work event, a big project or a commitment outside of work. But for the most part, people will rarely see me responding on social media or to a text between those hours. As soon as my little one is in bed, though, you’ll find me dialing back in to make sure I didn’t miss a pressing email or text. That is also the time I try to connect with my husband, family and friends. Weekends, in particular, are reserved for family, friends, fun and of course cleaning. I really try to find balance on the weekends by making sure I make plans with my husband, each side of the family, and my daughter’s friend group / my mom squad. If we’re not busy with all of that, I try to make sure the house is semi-clean, the laundry is done and that there is a plan for meals for the week. Resetting like this each week really reduces stress and anxiety for me. When things are somewhat clean and organized, I feel more prepared to take on the work and school week. Organization has been key in making me feel like I’ve achieved a work/life balance with the least amount of stress as possible.
Ashley Hirtzel is the communications director at Cantalician Center for Learning and its division, Diversified Labor Solutions. She began her career in newsrooms across Western New York after graduating from Medaille College with a Bachelors of Science in Communications in 2012. Hirtzel is an Associated Press winning reporter, Buffalo Business First 30 Under 30 class of 2017 honoree, a Buffalo Broadcasters finalist for rising star, and a distinguished young alumni nominee from Medaille College.