I’m fresh off the national AMTA conference and still processing all the amazing moments that occured. Several of those amazing moments happened during a roundtable discussion I facilitated with good friend and music therapist Deb Layman titled “Is the Work-Life Balance a Myth?” The purpose of this presentation was to provide an opportunity for fellow music therapy parents to share challenges and “ah-ha” moments associated with being a working parent.
I am still in awe of the honesty and openness that occured amongst the group during the session. This didn’t happen with the panelists alone, but also with several of the attendees. It told me (and others I talked with after the session) that there is a need for this type of dialogue, a need I see through groups like the Music Therapy Momma’s (and Dad’s) on Facebook and through publications like Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In (which I am reading now and LOVING).
As for last week’s session, each panelist contributed a pearl of wisdom that was incorporated in a Top 10-type list. Audience members requested I post this list on my blog, so here you go:
- You can do everything you did before having kids…it just takes longer.
- Family first, but you can’t do it alone. Surround yourself personally and professionally with good people you trust.
- Keep options open to change based on the needs of your child and your family.
- When life gets in the way, be honest with your clients, customers, coworkers, etc. They’ve most likely been in a similar position themselves and will understand if your work needs to take a temporary back seat.
- It’s a LONG journey . . . pace yourself, be willing to ditch the “map,” savor the unexpected detours.
- It’s okay to take time for yourself and okay for your partner to take time for himself (or herself), even if it is separately. It makes the wheel spin a bit smoother.
- Nobody knows you or your family better than you. Trust your instincts.
- It IS possible to have “everything” in the course of your lifetime, but maybe not at the same time.
- Know your limits. Know they can change.
- Remember, it’s not about the work-life balance . . . it’s about the work-life rhythm.
Do you have any pearls to add to this list? If so, please share it by leaving a comment in the box below!