Real Talk: How MyDomaine Australia Editors Balance Work and Their Relationships
The work/life balance discussion has been around for a while now, and it looks like it's here to stay. You could argue that with deadlines getting tighter and skeleton staffing tending to be as en vogue in the professional circuit as the Gucci loafer is with the style set, it's never been more timely. And though we all start our mornings with the hopes of promptly shutting our laptops within the 5 p.m.(ish) realm, actually switching off to spend time with your loved ones and invest in personal aspirations while succeeding in your career can seem like a never-ending battle.
If you too struggle with the juggling act, we asked the Who What Wear Network team for practical (and realistic) advice when it comes to navigating what sometimes feels like rocky terrain. Our group publisher, Alison Rice, summarises it perfectly, "We're all superwomen, but we have to be gentle on ourselves and remember we can't be everything to everyone."
See below for their personal insights and advice — there's some gold in there.
"I would say my friends and family take a balanced approach when it comes to pushing back when I'm not around enough, and knowing when I'm in a busy period or traveling a lot. For the most part, they go easy on me. I've asked that of them though.
"I realised about a year into my role that if I didn't speak up and admit that sometimes I was going to be a bit underwhelming but it didn't mean I didn't care, I'd lose some very important people in my life. My beautiful husband has always been an exception though. He's forever been my biggest champion and ensures I'm fed and my clothes are clean!"
"I balance my relationships by prioritising time in the mornings to reply to all my text messages and I also make sure when I do spend time with people that I give them my undivided attention, listen more than talking, avoid using my phone, and just making sure our time together is meaningful even if it's not a long time. I also make sure I call my parents at least once a week. I don't know if this is a good or bad thing but I put it in my diary so I never miss a week."
"Work definitely has a big effect on my relationships. Sometimes I'll have plans to go out with friends at night or on the weekend and once I clock off I'm so mentally exhausted that I just want to curl up in a ball and watch Broad City on repeat. However, whenever I resist the urge to cancel, I never regret it. Seeing friends is the best way to get your mind off work. I also make a big effort to not check work emails or socials while I'm out. And I'll never put my phone on the table at dinner—nobody wants to feel like they're coming second to a screen."
"To be honest, I find it tricky to balance the two—both are such integral parts of my life, it's hard for them not to fall into each other's 'allocated' time! That being said, I recently got married and took a few weeks off work and realised how important it is to have the downtime with Jason uninterrupted. When I get home from work, I really take the time to do something meaningful with those hours and leave my phone and email in another room—we watch a movie, cook dinner together, or go for a walk.
"As for my relationship with myself, I make sure I get to the gym every morning. No matter what I have on, or how busy my day looks, that hour in the morning is so important to me—it's the only time of the day I get to be alone and it makes me feel calm, relaxed, and ready."
"In the past I prioritised work over everything. I've always been work-focused, but back then I placed zero value on my health and relationships. Pursuing my career with this mindset for many years was doable until it wasn't—my long-term romantic relationship broke up, fractures formed in my friendships. and my adrenal system shut up shop. And then, for good measure, my father had a stroke. It was a hard lesson on priorities to learn, but in many ways, I'm glad life forced me to look at what else was/is important to me. At the time I came across a quote that has since stuck with me: 'Everything matters, but nothing matters very much'. Nothing like a little perspective, eh?
"My biggest piece of advice—and this may be controversial—is to remember that you're replaceable at work. Sounds harsh, but no one is that important that if they suddenly disappeared the show couldn't still go on. For many of us, it's not a question of ego, more than we don't want to let others or ourselves down—I can relate. That said, my marriage and my family are both supremely important to me, which means I must put checks and balances in place to ensure I stay even, whether that's keeping my phone off the dinner table, reminding myself to schedule in catch-ups or a date night, or teeing up a visit with my parents. I won't pretend I have figured it all out, but I try."
"I find that a healthy balance between work and personal relationships requires gentle give and take. My family, close friends, and boyfriend are all super interested in my job—I think working in media has a certain allure for lots of people. So on one hand, sharing the creative projects I'm developing or the interesting parts of my day-to-day are ways I can let my loved ones take part in my working life in some way. On the other hand, it's vital to force myself to go tech-less when I'm spending quality time."
"Mumma Singh always told me growing up, 'You can have it all, just not all at once', and from her many pearls of wisdom, this one stuck. Both my husband and I are really ambitious and are both pursuing tough careers, (him studying medicine and me journalism) and when we decided to get married, we knew that this season would be career focused, and thus sacrifices like expensive holidays, eating out, and having ample down-time would naturally be less-prioritised.
"And honestly, sometimes it's really hard, but I also know that it's just for a season and that when we need to change things we will. So for now, being strategic with our little time, like taking walks at night by the ocean, scheduling date night where we actually talk about what we are struggling with for the week, and making sure to never go to bed angry at each other are simple things we can do to stay in a healthy relationship."
The Career Code by Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power ( $30 ) ($21)