not a workaholic - Boston Moms

I’m not a workaholic. I used to think this made me less than. Heck, sometimes it still does. Why? Because we live in a world that glorifies busyness and work above all else.  

Please don’t get me wrong. If you love the work you do and you spend a lot of time doing it because of how much you love and enjoy it, then more power to you. I will not rain on your parade, even if I cannot see myself ever being in your position.

As a wife, a mom of two humans and a dog, a homeowner, and a professional, my life is FULL. I will not say it is “busy,” because I’m trying darn hard to stay away from that word these days. But it is, by all accounts, quite full. Yet despite the fact that I juggle responsibilities of all sorts on a daily basis, my inner critic relishes in its ability to call me lazy and to tell me I do not do enough. And as much as I have done consistent inner critic slaying work for years, it still manages to rise up victorious from time to time.

But it’s time to honor ourselves.

Let’s be real. I am not always productive. I do not always have energy. I love naps and would take one every single day if I could. I despise the fact that societal norms don’t require rest and that naps aren’t a part of our daily lives. Why? Because it is a lot easier to go through life guilt-free if you are following societal norms! If rest was a virtue by society’s standards, do you think I would feel guilty about taking naps? Exactly.

The problem is, I have never been one to conform to societal norms that easily. And because of this, I have struggled with feelings of “not enough-ness” for most of my life.  Yet when it comes to work, I manage to live with the guilt that comes with not being a worker bee. The alternative — becoming a workaholic — is not appealing enough to me to change my ways. Even if it would alleviate my guilt.

And I am owning this today.

I am owning the fact that I am not a workaholic. Unless I have an actual impending deadline that I must meet because my livelihood depends on it, I will not work into all hours of the evening. I will not. I love my work, but my work is not my life. And my life depends on me living it and honoring what it needs. My epitaph will not read: She Worked A Lot. Heck no.

Where do you stand?

If your work hours are out of control or you are missing out on quality family time because you feel like you HAVE to work more in order to live up to some unreasonable societal expectations, then I give you permission to stop. It’s time to make some changes. You ready? Here’s what I suggest:

Take a few moments to review your top life values.  

What are the 3-5 most important priorities in order to feel like you are living your best life? 

Rank them.  

Is number 1 getting the most attention? 

If not, what needs to shift so that it does? 

How can you make that shift? 

When will you start making that shift? 

(Write this down and be specific, or you will not follow through. Then repeat the process with each value in ranking order.)

I will leave you with a journal entry I made a year ago: 

What you do is OK. Comparing yourself to an idea you have built up in your mind about how productive or better other people are is only hurting you. 

How can you be OK with who you are and how you live life? Look at all you do accomplish. Revel in the fact that you’re NOT a workaholic! That’s a good thing! I know it is hard. But you are enough. You are. You give a lot of yourself, and you actually listen to your needs and prioritize your well-being more than you think. Perhaps you are just evolved!”

Wow — imagine if all this meant that I am just evolved? I’m here for it.

I wish you well on your journey, mama. If you’re inspired to let go of your workaholic tendencies, I’m cheering you on. If you identify with not being a workaholic, and you want to stop feeling guilty about it, I’m cheering you on, too — because you are doing enough, and you deserve to be able to live out your values, not someone else’s.

Angie V Martin
Angie was born and raised in Panama and attended college in Massachusetts, after which she took a couple of years to work in Boston and enjoy the nightlife before attending law school. Soon after becoming an attorney, Angie got married to the love of her life. They set down roots in Jamaica Plain, where they welcomed their firstborn, Henry, in 2012. Angie now lives in Nahant with her husband and two children (little Eloisa was born in 2015) as well as their rescue Boxer dog, Hobie. Angie is passionate about public interest law and serves as the pro bono director at Veterans Legal Services, a nonprofit legal services firm serving Massachusetts military veterans. Angie is also a certified life and leadership coach and loves supporting women and mothers on their journeys in their personal and professional lives. In addition to feeling honored to be a contributing writer for Boston Moms, Angie also enjoys writing in, and translating Boston Moms articles into, Spanish — she is a firm believer in ensuring every Boston mom feels like she/they belong here!