Murphy’s Laws of work-life balance

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Some time ago, I wrote a post about the Laws of Working Moms. Well, I’m still a working mom, and not much has changed on that front. But, since I write a lot about work-life balance — and since my friends like to tease me that I write about work-life balance when I actually have none — I thought I’d take a few moments to observe how Mr. Murphy’s laws affect my not-at-the-office life.

To wit:

1. You will find the thing you thought you had to replace — minutes after you replace it. This has happened to me time and again. It’s about to happen in regards to the only key my husband and I have to one of our cars. My beloved Saab 9-5. Which I haven’t driven in about a year. Which no one has driven in about 4 months, which is when my husband “misplaced” the only key.

2. You will kick yourself. Often. Speaking of that key… can I count how many times I looked at it and thought, “I really ought to just skirt up and shell out the $100 or so to make a copy of that thing already. One of those days, we’ll lose the only key and then where will we be?” Answer: We will be right here, kicking ourselves.

3. Your kids will sleep in on the one day that you need to be somewhere early. Where doesn’t actually matter. You could have an early-morning meeting that can’t be missed. You could have a business trip. They could have a field trip. Older kids might have an exam. It doesn’t matter — that’s the day they will sleep in.

3a. Your kids will wake up extra-super-duper early on the one day you could have slept in. This pretty much goes without saying.

3b. And they will not be able to fall asleep on a night when you really, really need them to go to bed at a decent hour. See item 5, below.

4. You will pay off a major debt just in time to accrue another one. I recently changed jobs, and had to pay off a massive loan I’d taken out on my 401(k) (see, also: Being the breadwinner during a recession), just in time for massive preschool and daycare fees — as well as life insurance, auto insurance, home owners insurance, and property taxes — to come due. (See, also: Missing Saab key. Turns out those things cost a pretty penny to replace.)

5. You will pull strings and move mountains in order to remain alert and awake and, um, “in the mood” (cough, cough) after the kids are finally in bed, and then…

5a. see item 3b., above, or…

5b. Your significant other will fall asleep while putting the kids to bed, or…

5c. You will.

Readers, chime in: Which of Murphy’s Laws of work-life balance have you experienced?



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4 comments so far...

  • Oh, the sleep thing is pretty much 100%. I’m sure the kids sense how badly we need them to just do what they are supposed to do this one time - and that makes them unable to do it. (Not unlike the way my own brain works. I never seem to sleep the night before something major.)

    If it isn’t summer and you park outside, it will always snow on the day you are on the verge of being late. The closer you cut it, the thicker the ice will have frozen to your windshield.

    Your kid will spill Indian food on her light-colored clothes. No ifs, ands, or buts.

    Beware the feeling that you’re just finishing an awesome day. It ain’t over yet.

    SKL  |  January 7th, 2011 at 1:27 pm

  • Love these.

    How about: You rush like crazy to get to afterschool earlier than usual on a Friday, excited to pick up your kiddo and go grab a pre-dinner treat. Miraculously, it all works out — the leaving work early, the no traffic, the getting there without a work emergency pulling you back. When you show up, all excited, your kiddo tells you that you have to wait 1/2 hour until she finishes making a pumpkin smoothie with her afterschool club. :)

    Nataly  |  January 9th, 2011 at 1:20 am

  • As soon as I’m within a day of feeling caught up on my life, my kid will get sent home “sick” (note: he’s never actually sick) from daycare. Happens EVERY TIME.

    agirlandaboy  |  January 10th, 2011 at 4:28 pm

  • Along the lines of No. 4: You will land a high-paying freelance job just in time for all that money to go to a car repair, hospital bills, etc. It’s great and fortunate you had it in time, but such a bummer that paycheck couldn’t go in savings or to something fun (vacation) instead.

    A.  |  January 10th, 2011 at 4:42 pm