"Well, I'd rather fail at work than at home." This was said by a contestant on a baking show who had just made a major mistake on the current challenge. It was such a random and unexpected place to hear such profound wisdom, but it immediately rang in my ears and for days after.
Nobody is super okay with failing so the statement above isn't a common thought in our society. It is obvious to see that so many of us choose work over home simply by looking at all of the failed marriages and disconnected families everywhere. Even for those of us who are committed to our families, it is so easy to give the best of ourselves to tasks and other people in the name of stress and urgency. And it's the same whether you are home all day or work long hours away. By the time we get face to face with our people, aren't we tired and drained from dealing with all the other stuff?
When we started December, I knew that we needed to be more mindful of each other and of the important things. I started Mindful December to re-energize us with a purpose. Mr. Butler had been really feeling stressed, I was getting cranky and the kids were getting stuck in the whirl-wind. And in the most important way, it was a success! Mr. Butler and I had a chance to really communicate and invest in each other, things we needed to be better in life. The kids, of course, follow suit and find their sweet spot as well. What wasn't a success was my writing about it. There was a lot going on that first week and then we left for a week-long trip. Since we have come home, all the holiday preparations are in full force. Sometimes there's only so much room in my brain. So in a small way, I've failed at work in order to succeed at home.
The overarching theme of this blog is balance. I easily get stuck and need to be balanced all the time. I don't mean to imply that you have to fail at work in order to succeed at home or even that you can't be successful in both. I just think we need to be willing to entertain the notion sometimes. As parents, especially us mothers, we are all really trying to do it all even though we KNOW we can't do it all all the time. I needed to be a gentler kinder person to my husband and he needed more kindness and gentleness in his life. Without focusing on that for a while, the stabilization of our marriage probably wouldn't have happened and instead our stressed out state could have undermined everything else we are trying to do in our life.
With work usually being such a public thing (business, reputation, etc.), the urgency to succeed can ramp up way higher than family success. The love of our family by nature seems flexible and constant therefore easily put off until work is settled. And sometimes it must be so. But the feeling you get when someone chooses to put your needs above all other demands is incredibly powerful and healing. Balancing this multi-faceted life is very hard, but genuine security and committed love is worth risking some much less important work here and there.