Balancing the demands of work and home is a very personal thing. What suits us will be different from what suits the person next door. It will depend on the sorts of things we value in our jobs and at home, and what sort of balance we are trying to achieve.
Obviously the demands of one person's job are quite different from those of another. Some people work a fairly predictable nine-to-five day and can plan around that. Others have jobs that are much more variable and demand more or less time and energy depending on what is happening.
On top of that the demands of our personal lives do not stand still. They can change from one day to the next, for instance if a partner or relative becomes ill, or from one year to the next as children are born or grow older, or a partner stops or starts paid work.
So for many of us, the amount of time and energy work and home require is a movable feast. The important thing is to work out our bottom line -- the point of balance we do not want to go beyond. That means planning how we are going to manage our lives as a team member at work, a partner and a family member. What is our ideal match between the demands of all our different roles and what is practical and pragmatic?
Part of that will involve sorting out with our partners what we value. For instance, is family life important? Do we think maintaining relationships is significant? Is being a father, mother or partner important to us? And, if so, what does that mean? What sort of behaviours show how important those roles are to us?
In the same way we need to establish what our work values are. How do we see ourselves at work? Do we believe in being dependable and available when people want us? Do we believe in doing the best we can in our jobs?
Once we've established what is important in each part of our lives and the sort of match we want to achieve, we need to seek the agreement of all those involved -- our boss, colleagues, partner and families.
It's important to spell out how we will respond when one area of our lives demands more than usual. It might be getting to a children's rugby match, attending to a sick child or relative, or responding when a project at work requires more time than usual.
This sort of understanding means that when a crisis occurs in one part of your life you can deal with it legitimately and with the understanding of everyone involved -- your partner when you need to work on a weekend or your boss when you need to take time off work.
If you are finding it difficult to establish a match between work and home -- for instance your partner or boss wants something else -- you will need to sit down and negotiate with them. Counsellors at Relationships Aotearoa can help you develop skills that will help you communicate clearly what you need.