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The simple life of coming home after work and spending time with your family seems impossible now, as work emails and phone calls come in and marriage gets put on the back burner,” says a wife.
“Your partner is usually the first one you neglect because you think, she’ll understand. She will forgive me. I can spend time with her later,” says a husband. Technology can blur the line between a job and marriage. The employer, workmates or clients might expect one to be available 24/7, making it difficult to achieve a work-life balance.
Each call, email or text one receives off-hours can lead to what seems like a fire that needs to be put out immediately. The balance can be achieved by creating a reasonable separation and prioritizing between one’s job and other aspects of life, including marriage.
Some companies feel that because they pay, they can reach you whenever they need you. “Recognizing that my family needs me, I tell them I’m not available on my days off. At times, it is best to decline or delegate some of your work,” expresses one husband.
When couples earn two incomes, it can produce stress and strain. It is wise to count the cost – financially, emotionally and physically. One of the cold facts of life is that it costs money to earn money – transportation, clothing and miscellaneous expenses.
Many wives can juggle a job and home duties; her doing so, nevertheless, entails tradeoffs and costs. A working wife simply may not have the time or energy to devote to the house or to prepare tasty meals.
Marital strain is another work expense. Wives often resent having to bear an unfair share of the housework. Husbands may likewise resent being asked to help. Some even complain, as did one husband. “I feel left out. She comes home tired and upset. She’s always busy. I appreciate what she does, but fatigue doesn’t make me feel any happier about it.”
Some men are moved to help when they realize that there is a need while others become quite depressed or critical, grumbling that their wives have become too independent or that their home is neglected.
Not all working couples have a grandmother or a friend to take care of their children. Parents can accomplish much by way of training their children if they are there for them.
The biggest source of stress among working women is guilt over not doing enough – of not being as good a wife and mother as their mother was.
A wife, after quitting her job, says, “I have stopped saying, no, not this afternoon, I have to work or no, not now, I am too tired. Having tim e for myself and my family is worth more than a paycheque.”
Of course, not all wives can quit their jobs. And some even say they feel bored or unfulfilled if they had to be at home all day. Said one working wife, “I need more in my life than just cooking.”
Some imaginative women are starting business enterprises. And others are doing part-time work that enables them to arrange various responsibilities easily with less time pressure and tension.
To balance one’s work with home life, one needs to take the initiative. If a plan is not there, one’s job is most likely to intrude into one’s marriage.
When the workload is heavy, that is the time when one needs to create time for one’s partner. A wife who faces office deadlines says, “Usually when everything hits at once, I and my partner agree on a time – a dinner or a walk, to have some time together.”
Some feel obligated to stay connected just in case the boss or a client needs them. But others turn off notifications on their phone to stop work at a set time.
A couple said, “Keeping our life simple has been a great help towards keeping things in balance since there are not many things vying for our time.”
Realistically, work may occasionally intrude in marriage. One can allow for exceptions. Perhaps, the nature of work requires that he or she be available after office hours. Partners can avoid being overly demanding and be more considerate of each other’s workload.
The thirst for ‘fulfilment’ will never be fully quenched by either housework or professional work for a man or a woman.
Work-life balance is an ongoing issue that requires continual review and adjustment. By being flexible and reasonable, one can succeed.