Ever since becoming a full time working mother, I cringe at how we have let corporate culture consume us. I wonder why we all do not rebel against it, take a stand, talk about it, dispel it and instead join forces to establish a corporate culture that focuses on productivity within the business hours, a culture that doesn’t measure productivity by how long you can stay chained to your desk and/or electronic device of choice. Why is it that if you appear to work long hours, answer emails at all odd hours and present yourself as available at all hours of the day, you seem to be guaranteed a spot in the ‘inner circle’ of corporate bliss. When exactly did we let all this happen?
We working parents have a tremendous responsibility to our families; we owe them our best possible selves, whenever we can manage that. Instead we give our best selves, our time, effort and energy to our work which most of the time leaves us exhausted to the extent that we deny our children our best selves. In the past few months, many times I have felt stretched too thin, too much to do at work and at home, no time for myself to recharge with the result that my personality morphs into a robot with an uncanny ability at snap at the slightest nudge, a wrong comment, a misplaced sock or a dinner not eaten by a feisty toddler. I have had to force myself to repeat my newest mantra in my head ‘my son deserves my best self, not the used up irritated left overs of a long day’. It worries me that I feel I need to keep one eye on my inbox at all times just so I don’t miss that one email that happens to need an urgent response. I also cannot ignore the fact that almost always the projects or work that caused me to stay late at work or that needed attending over the weekend could have easily been completed on a regular work day. It was almost a false sense of urgency which permeates our lives now days.
I feel we all have a part to play in reversing this dangerous trend and of claiming our lives back, sort of like the ‘capsule wardrobe’ or the ‘minimalistic living’ movement or even the ‘more greens, less meat’ movement. Let’s downsize our schedules, make efficient use of our time and show that efficiency and dedication does not need to be displayed by spending countless hours at our desks and answering emails during precious family time. Let’s make family time sacred, let’s make our hours count and lets pledge to raise a generation which values both hard work at work and at home while at the same time respecting where each line ends.