History or propaganda?
I used to love history. It was pretty much the only subject I excelled at during my school years, unless you count throwing the cricket ball (I've always had a good arm).
I still find myself drawn to the history section of Waterstones and the list of unfinished historical biographies by my bedside is impressive. History has typically been written by the victors which, if you're a truth junkie like me, isn't that helpful.
I have this debate with my kids. Just because I believe something passionately doesn't necessarily mean it's true. Whilst I'm not sure that teaching my children to question what I tell them is conducive to an easy life, the damage is now done. For the children though, when they have English and French versions of the world coming at them in equal measure, it's very useful.
It's a matter of opinion
The current debate is around Roland Garros. French people, my wife included, believe absolutely that it's the premier tennis tournament in the world. Just because everyone else knows it's either Wimbledon or the US Open that counts most doesn't make the French wrong. But at least my kids have the inclination to challenge the "clay is king" lecture when it's delivered.
And what does this have to do with work and family?
Well, fair to say I get reasonably frustrated with some of the stuff that gets generated around work-life balance. There are no hard and fast rules whatever the commentators tell you. Everyone has their own version of reality and one person's balance is another person's nightmare scenario.
How much work and family I want to do on a daily basis is determined by any number of factors: the weather; the office atmosphere; how well or badly I'm getting on with my children; whether they have homework which I need to get involved with; and how well I slept.
Work and life is just something that everyone does some or a lot of every day. Everyone needs to understand their own reality. Applying someone else's version of balance to your life will nearly always end in tears...
P.S. Want to know which is really the most
important tennis tournament in the world? Try this debate