Forget Balance, We Need a Rest

Sarah Gilbert
Written by Sarah Gilbert

Every once in awhile, some genius decides to start a conversation about “work life balance.” This makes me want to start a conversation about “the number of quacks in a banana” and by that I mean who invented this meaningless phrase?

Women, in particular, are a target of this pointless aspiration to create a balance — a state of equilibrium — between work and life.

Let’s start with work. By this, I have to assume we are talking about a set of tasks for which I will be compensated with actual money. Then, of course, there is life, which I’m guessing, means all the other stuff such as, drinking coffee, riding my bike or having a root canal.

Some of these things I want to do and some of them I do not.

I get paid to do stuff. Sometimes I like doing this stuff and sometimes I don’t. Most of the time, thankfully, my work gives me energy and engagement. Some days I would work, even if I won the lottery. And some days I wouldn’t want to help my kids get dressed, even if you paid me. In fact, can I please get fired?

Here is my point: A lot of life is work. And I don’t know what the fuck balance is, except something I lose if I’m not paying attention on the treadmill.

What women need is rest. We need permission to do nothing. Don’t have a bubble bath or go to the spa. Don’t read a book or take a class. Just sit there. Stare at the wall. Breath. Close your eyes. Ignore the person asking you to locate their shoe. That’s work. Right now you’re busy having some life.

About the author

Sarah Gilbert

Sarah Gilbert

Sarah writes with sarcasm about science, gender, feminism and fertility issues on her blog sarahanngilbert.com. She is writing a memoir about her experience becoming a parent. Sarah lives in Denver with her wife, two girls and an ungrateful dog. If she had more free time, she would spend it lobbying the state government to make down vests and flip-flops the official uniform of Colorado. You can talk to her on Twitter @sarahanngilbert.

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