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Working Parents: Finding Time For Yourself Is A Necessary Luxury

Many of my peers, myself included, cannot say that they make their personal goals outside of work a priority.
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Woman juggling domestic obligations
Woman juggling domestic obligations

How do you regain your balance when the demands of the daily grind knock you down? Maybe you find rejuvenation when you're curled up with a classically good book or golfing on an endless summer day or giggling beside your kids while playing hide and seek in the back yard. Work and life look different for everyone, but the need to step away from the routine of working, eating, and sleeping, remain the same. Whatever your source of peace and inspiration, it shouldn't be treated as a luxury and privilege reserved for a subset of our communities.

All three of my little ones are involved in activities outside of school. These activities often require my husband and I to perform small miracles in terms of the logistics needed to get Child A to art while Child B has hockey and Child C has gymnastics. We make sacrifices in order to ensure they are exposed to all this world has to offer. Develop ALL THE HOBBIES. There is so much emphasis placed on ensuring our kids are well rounded meanwhile, most adults respond with a blank stare when asked: what do you do for fun? Have we become robots who punch in and out of our lives each day? Why is the message that you are a bad mother or bad employee if your desires are not 100 percent in line with those of your children or organization? And aren't we, by example, setting our kids up for major disappointment once they enter the real world?

This is not to imply that our children should have an expectation to live a life of leisure, but the outlets -- creative, physical, or otherwise -- that they've cultivated in childhood and become accustomed to as a stress relief method should be championed in adulthood, not shunned. The talents that make you, uniquely you should be encouraged and celebrated. Many of my peers, myself included, cannot say that they make their personal goals outside of work a priority. The decision to de-prioritize your needs is actually an easy one to make. As a busy mom, I learned long ago amidst dirty dishes that don't clean themselves and neglected emails that are begging to be answered that I will never be able to create more hours in a day. I can I wake up early, prioritize, plan, re-prioritize, shift tasks, stay up late just to squeeze out an extra hour for the duties I've classified as "mandatory." Often it's my own personal ventures that fall to the cutting room floor during this process. But for me, that's not all there is in this life. I want more. I NEED more. And I will make no apologies for that.

The word balance conjures up images of a long legged ballerina pirouetting, a child setting off for the first time on a bike without training wheels, and an ice skater glides through the ice on a single blade of steel. All solo endeavors. However, when it comes to achieving work life balance, it is impossible to do it without help from a support system -- little wings lifting you up to be the best person you can be. You need partners in your mental health maintenance. It is often times more than one person and takes many different forms: a partner, extended family, and friends who are honorary family. The people that have my back and allow me to take time for myself are invaluable.

I am also fortunate to be employed by a company that plays a major role as well. My supervisors understand that I am are a person outside of the time I dedicate to the corporate cause; that I have commitments to keep and people who rely on me in addition my obligations in the office. They not only encourage me be present as a parent, but also to spend time volunteering in the community through corporate sponsored volunteer programs. They realize that by supporting my life outside of work they are investing in me. It is a solid investment earning returns of productivity and loyalty. It is unfortunate that the same opportunities are not common or more widespread across all industry. We need to highlight the importance of personal satisfaction outside of work by supporting each other in our quests for balance so that all parents and caretakers alike can feel fulfilled as human beings.

A person's success should not be hinged on completely sacrificing themselves. As mothers in particular, we need to be accountable for taking better care of ourselves so that we are capable of and effective in taking care of others. As a society in general, we need to understand that working for some is synonymous with following their passions, working for all is a means to an end; it should never come at the cost of taking care of yourself. Let's allow ourselves to find our way back to our happiness and let's let it drive us from the inside out.

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This post is part of an editorial series produced by The Huffington Post as part of our monthlong "Work Well" initiative, which focuses on thriving in the workplace. The goal of the series -- which will feature blogs, reported features, videos, and more -- is to present creative solutions you can use to take care of yourself as you take care of business. The effort is also part of The Huffington Post's "What's Working" solutions-oriented journalism initiative. To see all the content in the "Work Well" series, visit here.