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The Myth of Work/Life Balance

Posted on August 13, 2019


samantha harkins inauguration

Today’s Morning Buzz is by ELGL Board Member Samantha Harkins. Connect on LinkedIn & Twitter!


What I’m reading: The Group by Mary McCarthy

What I’m watching: PBS Kids. Mostly Wild Kratts. On the plus side my 4-year-old and I are experts on the hibernation patterns of groundhogs

What I’m listening to: My excellent summer playlist on Spotify: a little country, a little Motown, a lot of early 90s R&B


I wish I had it all figured out. I’d quit my job and be a high-priced consultant to moms and live a life of pseudo luxury. But I don’t even though I like to pretend I do. I like to pretend like I have it all even if that means exhaustion and spreading myself very thinly at any given time. 

I love working in local government. Absolutely love it. Although I didn’t quite account for how challenging it would be with a toddler. I can handle it, but my son doesn’t always understand it.

I’m gone several nights each week and working pretty incessantly. I try really hard to carve out time to focus specifically on my family. I’m more successful on some days than on others.

Last year I had a rock star mama tell me that there’s no such thing as work/life “balance”. She said “Life is way more like a teeter totter – always more of one thing than another but occasional moments of ‘balance’. Just before your butt hits the ground!”

I love this. In my eighteen months of working for the Mayor I’ve missed both of his budget presentations to city council because of a sick kid. This week I’ve got to work from home at least a day and a half because my son’s preschool is closed for teacher training. It’s a constant balancing act, and some days I feel like I’m failing at being both Deputy Mayor and Mom.

This last year I’ve realized how precarious the “balance” is. I’ve occasional moments of balance, but I can’t count the number of times my tail hit the ground.

As you all know working in local government is never a 40 hour a week job. It’s a calling. It takes passion, dedication, and it means balance is elusive.

I’ll be honest – I think I can do it all, but it may never be perfect. The balance may always be slightly off, and I’m the one who’s going to have to adjust. I’m also going to have to give myself a break. 

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