I don’t know about you, but ever since I started in proper full-time employment, I have always wanted to find what others refer to as “the work life balance”. I’m not 100% sure that it truly exists, and I’ll tell you why I think that.
Since moving back to the UK from South Africa, at the beginning of January 2016, I was literally up and running in full time employment as I stepped off the plane and onto the tarmac at Heathrow. My husband was stuck in South Africa, applying for his UK Ancestry Visa, and we weren’t sure when he would follow me to the UK, and I had to start earning money so that when Sharp arrived in the UK in March, I could afford to pay his import duties and Tax, otherwise he’d still be stuck in Belgium!! So to begin with the work life balance wasn’t really in my mind, as i was focused on what I needed to do.
However once Sharp arrived in the UK the juggling act began! It wasn’t too bad, and I thought that I had it all figured out – get up early, head to the yard, ride before work, go to work and earn the money, go back up to Sharp in the evening, get home, have dinner and relax and go to bed – Easy!! Then in May 2016 the husband arrived in the UK and everything changed! No longer could I potter around up at the yard till gone 8pm at night, and weekends, where before I could do what I wanted and take my time, now I had to make sure that I spent quality time with the hubby! The work life balance became harder, but we still managed to get everything done and spend time together, and I had my time up at the yard – yes I still felt a bit pressured to be home at a reasonable time for dinner – but again I felt like I was achieving a good balance!
Then came the dreaded words – “We are making you redundant!” Not words many people like to hear, and certainly not someone like me who absolutely HATES change! However I really was in a quandry, as the hubby was now studying as well as working, and essentially I was the bread winner – Stress then became a factor in my life – worrying about what job I could find in the country, that would have me earning the same amount as well as giving me the flexibility to ride Sharp and still maintain the balance that I’s become used to. I was lucky enough to find a fabulous role moving completely away from an office, and working as a Sole Charge yard manager for a lovely family who have event horses – in my head this was the best solution. In reality, my work life balance just got harder!
As you all know working with horses, means starting early, even in the dark winter months, and for me having Sharp meant an even earlier start to get him done before work, as he is not at the yard where I work! So in winter months riding and training for competitions I tried doing on my lunch break – this worked, but couldn’t always be counted upon that I would get a break, and so I would be riding under solar lights, that often turned off whilst I was riding, and still getting home around 7.30/8pm however having a physical job compared to my previous office job, and my own horse on top of that meant that I was tired ALL the time and so my quality time with the hubby suffered – I was losing the work Life balance again!
Summer has been easier with the light mornings and late evenings, and I feel that I have been able to get a better balance in my life, but with the approach of winter and the darker months, I am wondering how I can preserve the balance that we’ve. It’s going to be hard, and I am extremely lucky that I have a very understanding husband – possibly because he is working and studying, so the little time we do get together we make it worthwhile – but his course is coming to an end and I am hoping that we will both be able to sustain a healthy balance between Work & Life – otherwise what would be the point?! At this moment in time I feel that all my juggling balls are in the right place – will this continue into the darker months? I guess only time will tell.. but one thing is for sure, if I can’t find a healthy balance, then something will have to change, as life is too short to not enjoy! 😊
Until next time – enjoy everyday as it comes!