Is it possible to have both…
I recently participated in a discussion with my sister-in-law regarding a really interesting topic.
Is it possible for a woman to have it all? Is it possible to balance a successful executive career and maintain a joyous family life?
She believes it’s not possible, I however, believe it’s definitely possible!!
Family-work balance is a complex issue that involves financial values, gender roles, career paths, time management and many other factors. Hidden values and models from our cultures, original families and other sources influence our choice in ways that we often anticipate or understand and that have far-reaching consequences for our lives. Balancing family and work has no easy solution, no one size fits all approach. Every person and couple will have their own preferences and needs. The most important factors are Preparation and Joint Decision Making.
The autonomy and career capital that come with executive roles help you delegate on the job. You often have the resources to be strategic at home too — and the organizational skills to pull it all off.
Build your team at work – Investing time in others is incredibly important. You lighten your load when you give people the opportunity to be successful.
Build your team at home- Work smart, not hard! If the budget allows, employ a full-time nanny whose responsibilities go beyond babysitting. The nanny responsibilities could include drop off/pick up from school/daycare, grocery shopping, homework,etc). Hire a house keeper or cleaning service to clean/maintain your home. Don’t have time to cook nutritious meals during the week? Enlist a cook to come and prepare meals at once and freeze them until you are ready. Can’t make it to the gym? Hire a trainer to come to the house once or twice a week. Aye, when there’s a will, there’s a way; spend money on things that make your life easier!
Leading the pact- Having a moderate to large family is like managing a complex organization. You’re leading at work, you can also lead at home as well; the skill set is no different. Leadership means being focused on the whole, particularly in managing children’s lives. Handle extracurricular activities like a boss! Make all of your kids do the same activities. Take the kids to karate all at the same time and then meet up with your best girlfriend across the street for brunch until karate is over. Kids enjoy karate, you enjoy mimosa with your BFF!! Everybody wins!! Just don’t order the pitcher of mimosa, Honey, you still have to pick the kids up and drive home.
Talk, Talk, Talk – A key to every healthy relationship in life is communication. Use every opportunity to talk to your partner. This will help you stay close. Share the details of your day, things you found intriguing and emotions you felt. Sometimes it is not enough to simply report the facts of what you did and who you saw but you need to color it with your emotions so your partner can recognize the person behind the words. This is particularly important if you spend a lot of time at work and most of what happens to you in a day is work-related. Don’t bore them with every little detail of your work, but only stuff you found important personally. I disagree when people say you should not talk about work when at home, as long as you do not do it all the time. It is a big part of your life and there is no need to suppress the business women in you.
Enlist the village – It can be nearly impossible for two parents to get multiple kids to everything, so get some help!! Living near family is also a great strategy.
Create connections when you can – Spending one on one time with each kid is important. Go into your children’s rooms at night and sit on their beds to talk for 15 minutes. That’s when they tell you their secrets. Some parents make a point of taking one child on an errand as a way to get time together.
Sync your expectations – It’s imperative to spend time together with your spouse. Sure, most of your time should be spent in a good quality way but after a long day of delegating at work you can simply eat your dinner together in front of the TV and fall asleep together.
You can both agree that you can put up with a certain level of mess in your home. Traditionally, a wife would have to clean and make dinner after she comes back from work which is a bit unfair. You can compromise by agreeing to each put away your things and do cleaning on weekends.
Embrace work/life integration – This means work options that can promote balance including part-time, flex time, telecommuting, compressed workweek (full-time in 3 or 4 days), extended family leave, freelance and consulting, job-sharing, seasonal work. Work the hours that work for you; structure your work schedule for flexibility. Don’t hold to certain notions of what can be work time and what can’t be.
Help your husband cope with your success – Having a shared budget helps retain the feeling of equality between partners. If everything goes on one ‘pile’ or into one account, you avoid creating a feeling of one partner constantly being in debt. Do not make your partner feel bad because they may not be as successful as you are. These things change quickly especially nowadays, today you have a job and he doesn’t but who knows what can happen to you tomorrow. Adjust to the changing roles in your partnership. Also, do not let your success change you, no matter how successful, you are still the same person you were when you chose him. Do not let yourself underestimate him and see him through his professional life. When you are together, he is not a worker and you are not his boss, he is your husband and you should always feel and act as such.
Prioritize self care- Managing a big career and a family takes time and energy. Smart women manage their own energy like they’d manage an important report. Sleep is one necessary component. Exercise also helps, and you can be creative about fitting it in (remember what I said above about hiring that trainer, yeah, don’t forget that).
Let it go – At some point, children have to learn to be independent. Learning to be responsible and capable early on is a good thing.
And Finally, PRAY- I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
– Philippians 4:13
When organized the right way, having a family alongside a big career is actually liberating. Once you acknowledge that it’s physically impossible to be everywhere and be Super Woman to everyone, you release yourself from that script, and instead embrace one that allows you to be where it’s most important for you to be, at work and at home.
Do you think its possible for a woman to have it all?