Lifestyle Elements (along with a great picture of myself and baby Harper!) were lucky enough to be featured in South Australia's 'The Advertiser' newspaper yesterday. The topic of the article was 'Australian working mums spending just 15 hours with their children'. There were many (many) comments on the article on both www.adelaidenow.com.au and facebook, which obviously stirred up emotions in a wide cross section of our population and this is great, as it means the conversation about work life balance is alive and well.
In reading the article, as well as the many comments, one word kept coming to my mind - and that word - CHOICE.
Lifestyle Elements is focused on providing choices to our clients so that they can live their ideal life - their own ideal life as defined by them as individuals and families. Some women (or men) may choose to stay home with their children. Some may choose to work part time. Some may choose to work from home, and others may choose to go back to full time work. There can be many reasons for their choices. I would like to think that every individual's choice is respected, without the pressure or guilt of not staying at home with your children or not going back to work after having children (yes, there were very strong opinions on both sides of the coin!).
The key here however, is that we do in fact have choices (whether we are aware of them or not), and more and more avenues are becoming available to us (such as personal concierge services) to make even better choices in our life.
Many people, when they first hear of our personal concierge services, believe that they are for the 'rich' or those with a large disposable income. I like to explain that yes, some of our clients may fit into that category, but they are not exclusive. Our services are used by those who have chosen to put some money towards outsourcing their tasks so that they can focus on such things as growing their business, or spending more time with their children, or to take up a hobby, or volunteer, or to take on a new role at work - whatever is important to them.
It is all about choosing the best way to spend our time, and finding support to achieve this in the best possible way. For some that may be child care, for some a gardener, for others, a personal concierge. It may be choosing to go to part time work, or to talk to your employer about flexible hours. You may choose to change jobs, start your own business or take (or not take) a promotion.
At Lifestyle Elements we get excited about the concept of choices. At the moment I have made the choice to stay at home with our 3 month old baby Harper, and my husband Tim has made the choice to quit his job and come into the business full time. All of these decisions were made by us as a family so that we could make a choice that was best for our lifestyle at this time. Things may change. I will come back into the business but we are yet to decide in what capacity that may be. Tim may go part time and I may take on a more full time role. We may share our work and the care of Harper 50/50. It is exciting to see what the future holds for us - who knows, we may be making decisions based on a second baby!
I am glad that there are regular discussions and debates regarding work life balance as it is the way we are going to continually strive for improvement and greater choices. In such a technology focused and globalised environment, I am sure the way we work in 20 or 50 years will be dramatically different to how we do it today. I feel many of the ways our work days are structured are still very traditional. However, we are moving forward and making changes, and if our services at Lifestyle Elements can in some way affect that direction, then we are achieving our core purpose of "providing the inspiration and confidence for people to live a balanced life."