Balancing Work & Family
I live in a sea of Post-it notes… color coordinated by topic. This works until one color runs out and my system falls apart. My only regret in 1980 is being too young to understand Post-it power, and therefore failing to buy stock in the company.
Surely I’m not the only one drowning in a sea of to-do lists and reminders. I’m up before dawn (even on the weekends) as a local business owner juggling my clients, my staff and my kids. Add housework and the dog, and I’m MAXED out. With the weight of a business on my tired shoulders, I’m constantly juggling my passion for my business, family time, and a requirement to make a living. And I’m not alone.
So many working women are stressed, balancing work and family life. With the catchy title “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All,” Anne Marie Slaughter’s article in The Atlantic (July 2012 edition) created much controversy as women across the nation debated on whether “having it all” was just a myth.
As an organizer and home management professional, I can quickly provide tips to help women get more done in their days. Wake up earlier; create morning rituals to maximize time; avoid morning emails; prioritize ruthlessly; and delegate well. But one catch-phrase from the experts gets under my skin: “create work-life balance” (as if it appears with the wave of a magic wand).
With the internal drive to “have it all,” and the external pressure to appear that we are living the gold standard of got-it-together-ness, it’s no wonder we question if we’ll ever achieve balance and success in our business and home life.
Wouldn’t it be healthier to define success in a private way, determining what success really looks (and feels) like personally?
This excerpt from an article on www.womenpoweringbusiness.com is well-stated:
“I think balance is in the eye of the beholder, so it’s based on what your expectations are,” shares Marilyn Midyette, CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, Inc. “I’m really concerned about people feeling like they have to define balance based on anyone else’s definition. It’s got to be what works for you.”
Midyette tackles “having it all” in seasons. “In one quarter,” she said, “I may hunker down because I have major initiatives I need to get accomplished. In another quarter, it may be my kids are getting ready to go off to college and I want to be present for that.”
Having it all is possible, as long as women dispel the myth that work and life have to be equal parts all of the time, according to Patricia Falotico, an IBM executive. She shared a personal story of when she was caring for her sick father. “There were days when I had to be daughter first and executive second,” she said. “You can do it all — all that you choose to do — but you have to be able to navigate around the pot holes.”
Perhaps finding success in business means we are 100% devoted at work, focused and striving for excellence. And finding success at home means we are 100% dedicated to being a daughter, spouse or parent when with our loved ones.
The key to making this work is to choose which “piece” of life to fully embrace at any moment, and allow ourselves the freedom to live in those moments peacefully. We need to give ourselves permission for our needs, desires and dreams to change with the ebb and flow of life’s seasons.
“True success cannot be simply defined by recognition, financial gain, company growth, or our kid’s accomplishments,” shares local business coach Lisa Markman, of Jigsaw Solutions. “True success comes from finding a place of satisfaction and peacefulness within yourself, where courage and wisdom guide you to exactly where you need to be in this moment. And then finally embracing that moment with all the energy you can give to those around you.”
Success is an evolution; allowing yourself to adapt, change course, and “go with the flow” as part of the journey. Accolades along the way can motivate and encourage us; but the deep satisfaction of success can only come from within, when you are where you need to be.
Sarah Friesen is the owner of Gig Harbor Home Management, a local company offering house cleaning, home organization, home watch and relocation services…and hopefully a little bit of peace of mind in the process. She can be contacted at 253.225.4864 or www.GigHarborHomeManagement.com
(Printed in Peninsula Gateway, special “Women in Business” section, September 29, 2014)