Casual Fridays: Balancing Compromises in Our Work

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In an effort to revive this occasional series on balancing the competing priorities of family life and work, I’ll share with you that today I’m writing our “Casual Fridays” column from the comfort of a lovely hotel room in Dallas, where I’ll be speaking at the University of Dallas Ministry Conference. I can’t tell you the amazing blessings I’ve counted in the past several months since the work I do for CatholicMom.com has taken wings in such unexpected ways. Like this weekend, I’ve had countless opportunities to travel the nation speaking with faith-filled groups about our mutual passions: our Church, our families, technology and our efforts to share what we love with others.

This “gypsy” lifestyle suits my sense of adventure perfectly. At every venue, I meet amazing people and return to my work feeling invigorated and renewed. There is no question that traveling as I’m doing these days is great for the professional side of my life.

But how about the family side?

And, most importantly, how about the faith side?

Spiritually, frequent travel actually feels like a boost to my soul — in the quiet of a hotel room, with no dishes, no laundry and no cooking, taking time to pray a rosary or the liturgy of the hours is a special experience with no distractions. On the road, I so often have the opportunity to attend Mass in amazing places and to meet “saints in the making” who inspire and educate me.

On the family side, it is definitely a struggle. For readers who don’t know my personal situation, I’ll share that I’m an older mom with one son in college and another who is a junior in high school. This frequent travel is a new development for our family. My husband — the world’s best — works a flexible schedule that allows him to be at home when I am not and that’s truly a blessing that has made this all possible. When I’m gone, “boys weekends” include spicy food, action flicks and music being played at noise levels mom normally wouldn’t tolerate. They tell me they miss me when I’m gone, but honestly I am not so sure about that!

I probably do more than my fair share of the missing — enough to go around for all of us. Texting, skype and Facebook allow me to keep tabs on life at home, but it’s not the same as being there in the midst of the chaos. I’ve also had to learn to give myself permission to say “no” to opportunities to travel so that I won’t miss the important things like Confirmation meetings, concerts at school or other events that I won’t have the joy of attending in all to short a time.

So today’s Casual Fridays post doesn’t really have answers, only musings. It’s likely in the work you do that you too have chosen to make compromises. Many of my friends who work full time in the home have had to bear the compromise of putting their careers on hold while they minister to family priorities. My friends who are nurses, doctors, lawyers and teachers know the compromise of sometimes feeling that you’re doing everything “halfway”, not giving yourself fully to all of your competing priorities.

Do you feel like you are balancing compromises when it comes to the work in your life and your family? How do you set priorities and decide when “good enough” is good enough? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic!

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About Author

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of CatholicMom.com and the bestselling author of the Chime Travelers children's fiction series, The Grace of Yes, The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. As a board member and frequent host on KNXT Catholic Television, Lisa has produced and hosted multiple programs and has appeared on EWTN and CatholicTV. Hendey hosted “Catholic Moments” on Radio Maria and is the technology contributor for EWTN’s SonRise Morning Show. Lisa's articles have appeared in Catholic Digest, National Catholic Register, and Our Sunday Visitor. Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and Catholic technology and communications topics. She was selected as an Elizabeth Egan Journalism Fellow, attended the Vatican Bloggers Meeting, the “Bishops and Bloggers” meeting and has written internationally on the work of Catholic Relief Services and Unbound. Hendey lives with her family in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Visit Lisa at www.LisaHendey.com for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish or organization.

2 Comments

  1. I loved your post. It reminded me of how often I look at moms who travel for business, and think, “Wow, it must be so nice to get on a plane for a five-hour trip without having kids with you!” I envy them the chance to sit still and read or relax on the plane, then to go to nice restaurants on the other end, stay in comfy hotels, etc. But then I talk to moms who DO travel for their jobs, and I know that it’s not nearly as rosy as I imagine it to be. I guess there is good and bad in every situation — and the trick is to look at our own individual circumstances as the glass half full.

  2. Ginny, thanks for chiming in! I won’t lie — I absolutely love traveling. But I never leave home without battle those guilt feelings for not being there… We all do our best. And the phase of life you’re in at the moment is so precious and fleeting. It feels like you never have any time for yourself when your kids are little, but believe me you’ll wish for those days all to quickly as they grow up in the blink of an eye. Enjoy! And some day, you and I will treat ourselves to a “moms weekend” together!!

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