Tonight over the dinner table I was commiserating with my husband about time. Specifically, the time stress we experience in our lives. We both have demanding careers and two young children. Combined with running a household and extended family obligations we often feel as though there are not enough hours in the day (especially for working on new, interesting, and engaging blogs!).
Time has become one of our most precious commodities and we are not alone. Time studies reveal that many people would easily give up a day of work and consequently, pay, for an extra day off. There is a major gender difference in how men and women would spend that time, but that’s a difference post, which I have tentatively titled the ‘Stalled Revolution’. In this post, I need to vent about time, or my lack of it.
To go back to the dinner table, I was discussing our blog and how I wish I could create more time to work on it. I know many Canadians would empathize with my situation – Linda Duxbury’s research demonstrates that Canada is becoming a world leader in work intensification. That is, even if people are not working longer hours (but many people are, according to Ipsos-Reid survey data, the average work week in Canada is now almost 48 hours) they are working at a pace they perceive hard to keep up with. Work intensification has major implications for work-life balance and consequently, quality of life.
As a female academic and a mum I struggle to achieve work-life balance on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis. I clock way more than 48 hours per week. And, I often feel torn (physically and emotionally) between my family obligations and my career aspirations. When I make time to read interesting feminist blogs about life in academe (such as Hook and Eye) I know I am not alone. Indeed, when I chat with others in my position, I realize I am not the only one who starts the day at 6 am (at the gym) and ends it 11pm (at my desk) with a whole lot of action in between. There are many people who juggle two demanding careers, childcare/eldercare, and daily life.
At times like this, I am reminded of Carl Honore’s book In Praise of Slow. I swear sometimes I can actually hear him in my ear challenging me to resist the cult of speed in today’s society and to take pleasure in small moments. And often I achieve this goal. But, at the end of the day, my life is very, very full. And at times, that zaps my creativity or analytical skills, or intellectual capacity, which bums me out.
I say all this recognizing this blog is no longer the sandbox for us ladies that it started out to be, but I just couldn’t resist a little whine with my wine tonight. Thanks for indulging me.