The balance back to real life

People swimming at the beach under a blue, lightly clouded skyWe talk a lot about work-life balance, and about the daily juggling act. But until this week it hadn't previously occurred to me how much of a balancing act getting back to real life was.

We had a lovely school holiday, enjoying some much needed time out and an extended period with family and friends at my favourite beach in all the earth. The junior recipe testers learned to body surf, caught and released prawns, swam with fish, some more or less walking on water to get away from the fishes "creepy eyes" and rattled through our very first earthquakes (that's a story for another day).

And then the first day of school rolled around. And we were back to real life.

The daily life tasks that you are required to balance are dependent entirely upon your socio-cultural status: where you live in the world, how old you are, your gender, and your role. If you are a junior recipe tester, this means your mornings may be preoccupied with getting dressed, eating breakfast, making your bed. Routinely, it will mean you need to invest significant time finding your shoes.

If you are an actuary, your mornings may include negotiating commuter traffic, checking market reports and doing hard sums. In both cases this will look completely different if you happen to live in Australia, in Austria or in Angola.

And so the morning, in our corner of Sydney, began.

One junior appeared in the kitchen in a pair of socks. And nothing else. She had neither noticed the breeze, nor that she had missed a few significant steps in the daily task set before her. When prompted she disappeared again.

Shrieking down the hall quickly followed. A second junior was going into meltdown. The first had gotten distracted again and was now sitting on the second's bed. The second indignantly pointed out that his sibling was sitting on his bed, "With a bare bottom!!"

With the daily goal of dressing finally sorted, we commenced goal two: eating breakfast. The youngest of our juniors promptly, and predictably, dropped part of his breakfast on the floor. "It's alright," he bellowed, immediately hopping off his stool in a desperate attempt to ward off the usual berating, "I'll just brush it off. With my toenails."

In a few days time, this particular junior will commence formal education. The senior recipe tester and I have great hopes for his progress. Principally, that pedagogical instruction will assist him in comprehending certain anatomical truths, namely, the difference between his fingernails and his toenails.

If the accomplishment of daily life tasks in and around the rigours of formal education is getting tricky already, may I suggest, this week's menu?