End of Year Reflections 2021

My most recent podcast, published earlier this week, has sparked a lot of interest and generated many comments and conversations. The episode focuses primarily on finding balance as a stay-at-home-mum and opting out of pursuing a career path.

Some have remarked that stay-at-home-motherhood is a luxury that only a privileged few can afford; others have pointed to the onus of childcare falling to the mother as something to be remedied, and for more men to take the career hit to raise their children; some have remarked how “irritated” they have felt by the viewpoints raised; that some points made them “cringe” or were “hard to stomach“.

A number of people have commented on how precarious the situation is for a woman not to be financially independent within a marriage; that it is a sign of weakness, or that it is a foolish path to pursue.

I have also been contacted by many women who have shared their own ‘stay-at-home-motherhood’ experiences with me. Some have been keen to express agreement with Nadine and Michelle’s perspectives; to concur that their time as a ‘stay-at-home mum’, or (dare I quote the word…?) “housewife“, was full of purpose, meaning and satisfaction.

Others have shared how frustrated, unfulfilled and bored they’d felt giving up their careers for a period; that they felt they were wasting their potential and not being the role models they want for their children.

This has all showcased again for me how individually people approach constructing the work-life balance that suits them, their partners and their dependents. And how important it is to listen to other viewpoints with an open mind, to glean what can be learned from one another.

As a part-time working mum myself, and the daughter of parents who both worked full-time while I was growing up, I can vouch that parents with career ambitions can be just as loving and dedicated as those that don’t. And being “present” during the time spent with children is a challenge that I believe is equally relevant to both working and non-working parents. The work:life ratio that Nadine and Michelle prescribe to wouldn’t be the right balance for me at this point in my life; but there is still a great deal I can take away from listening to their perspectives.

However, when I read through the reams of comments and messages I’ve received in response to the latest ‘A Fine Balance‘ activity, I mostly feel a heady mix of amazement and excitement that the content of my blog and podcast is resonating with readers and listeners. I started my blog quite impusively, prompted by my curiosity and intrigue of the subject of work-life balance. To find that ‘A Fine Balance’‘s content is provoking conversations, challenges and introspection is both exhilarating and humbling.

‘A Fine Balance – The Podcast’ launched on the blog’s first birthday, 26th July 2021

2021 has been the year I launched my podcast;

It’s the year I’ve grown my blog’s readership to almost double what it was in 2020 (at today’s count that’s almost 7,500 views);

It’s the year I’ve experimented with social media, set up a Facebook page and grown my following;

It’s the year I was invited to present to a public audience for the first time in my capacity as a “blogger”;

It’s the year I have had the privilege of being entrusted with countless stories from a whole host of people, from all walks of life – including those I’ve formally interviewed for my ‘Work-Life Balance Profiles’ series – about a subject that is incredibly personal and often emotive;

It’s the year my interviewing, writing and tech skills have evolved;

And it’s the year I attended my first blogging conference.

Presenting virtually at a Crossing Thresholds event, February 2021
Attending the BlogOn conference in October 2021

I continue to learn so much from each blog and podcast that I produce, and I’m continually convinced of the value of articulating one’s own and others’ work values in the quest to understand the motivations behind work-life balance choices, and be deliberate and accepting of them. I hope that my readers and listeners do too.

As 2021 comes to a close, I’m thinking ahead to my upcoming interviews in 2022 and looking back on all the stories I’ve been entrusted to hear and share these past twelve months.

I continue to be driven by my desire to explore and celebrate the diversity and complexity of work-life balance choices, so I look forward to seeing what 2022 holds for ‘A Fine Balance’. If you would like to feature on my blog or podcast in 2022, or you know someone that would, feel free to get in touch in the usual ways.

Wishing all my readers and listeners the very best for 2022,

Dalya

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