I don’t know about you…but I have always felt to be a failure at this. It has caused me to be in a cycle of shame. It also made me question my values.

In one sense, my values are founded in everything related to family, such as emotional connection and nurturing. Conversely, I state that my values have everything to do with having a hard work ethic, honesty, loyalty, and the feeling of giving or contributing.

Shame And What To Do About It

Whenever I do one, I feel guilty about not doing another. And sometimes I need to do a whole lot more of one, and I neglect the other. At the moment I write this, my elderly mother has fallen and my sisters and I need to take care of her. If I could rewind the clock, my kids would need more of me than they do now. Fast forward and my kids will need me again to take care of their kids. During these times I neglect my work.

Then there are the times I feel I must delve into my work due to the need to show up. Show up for my clients, show up to be a contributing member to our dual-income household, etc. And to be completely honest, being an entrepreneur is a hell of a lot of work. As the joke goes, “We left a 9-5 job so we could work a 5-11 job, 7 days a week. Entrepreneurial work has normalized social isolation and family neglect in so many ways.

As a way of shedding the shame for myself and providing shame therapy to my clients, I tell them that there is no such thing as work-life balance. I instead see these two entities being on a continuum or pendulum, swinging back and forth as necessary. Sometimes work needs more of you and sometimes family needs more of you. You swing with the need. You cannot be stubborn and ignore the other.

I ask my clients to rid the term balance altogether and instead replace it with harmony.

Work Life Harmony

What does this look like? It means to include your partner regarding thoughts of guilt or sadness when you can’t be a part of the daily activities. It means sharing your thoughts of uncertainty about work. It means sharing your emotions about enjoying your work and why. All of this is about becoming more vulnerable with your partner. This can never be a bad thing. You must realize however that this is different from complaining. No one wants to be around a complainer, pessimist or skeptic. If your partner is not privy towards your heartfelt sharing, then take it to a therapist or coach. Not every partner has the emotional capacity or intelligence to hear what you need to share. But always remember, sharing means caring.