the type of girl-child inclined to be feminist finds it difficult to get excited about work/life balance, or equitable housekeepingNot that I've ever called anyone a girl-child.
But I was thinking, there's this assumption that work-life balance = taking time off work to look after your children. Which I've pretty much swallowed, if you read my post from yesterday. But then I thought of a whole bunch of things that annoyed me about this assumption (but which does not make me less uncomfortable about the rest of Funari's article, since I am a hairy-legged and hairy-armpitted feminist, although also married, a mother, a full-time worker and consumer of Jane Austen novels. I do pluck my moustache, though. A girl must have standards, harrumph. I thought avoiding stereotyping was a thing feminists (of all kinds) kind of thought might be a nice idea. Like having a clean hanky.
So here's my list of things that work-life balance might be for me.
- Time off to care for the Noodle. Yes, this matters, but the unspoken assumptions about it irk me. Accepting the assumption means that the only decent aspiration other than working is child care. This is clearly rubbish of the non-recyclable kind. And frankly, probably is vaguely irritating for those without kiddies, although taking time to care for elderly and beloved relatives seems OK too.
- Work is, actually, part of my life. I don't know about you, but I spend an astonishing chunk of my day at work or travelling to and fro (Canberra buses being what they are). So having work that captures my imagination, satisfies my need to feel useful, uses my creativity and so on is very important to me. The decisions that the husband and I have made were at least partly in pursuit of rewarding work as time to look after the Noodle. Or having less time devoted to unrewarding work, so that there was time for other rewarding things outside of paid work that resemble 'work' in the senses of time commitment, effort and so on. Oh, that'll be balance then.
- Stuff that has nothing to do with family is important. Well, obviously, you say. And I say, do you know how long it's been since I went to the movies? But quite a lot of my internal dialogue has nothing to do with family or work, which tells me that quite a lot of other things are actually important to me, even if it's only theoretically right now. I think Best Department recognises this, but I think the functioning of the department may also depend on most of its employees not recognising it for themselves. The department has approved leave for all kinds of personal passions, and the humans that make up the department really seem to care about each other's achievements. So I'm not complaining, but I think it goes back to the unspoken assumption that work-life balance = child care obligations.
- And I reckon that work-life balance is about recognising that it's not all about where you are right now, or about planning out a future career, but seeing a person as moving through their lives with all kinds of valuable things learned, and all kinds of things to offer that might not seem immediately obvious. And now I sound like some kind of floaty, dreamy, let's-all-hold-hands kind of person, which is so far from the truth that it might be one of the other micro-planets hanging around near Pluto.