Is it possible to find balance between having a career and being a mother? I constantly try to find this so called “balance” and always ask myself if it is really achievable. When I am at work, I feel guilty I’m not with my daughter. When I am with my daughter, work responsibilities are always looming in the back of my mind. I have taken many steps to try and achieve some kind of balance. I have moved my office so it is a 5 minute drive away from my home, I set boundaries so after a certain time of day no work emails or phone calls take place. I dedicate my weekends to spending quality time with my daughter & husband, I never miss recitals, special school events and other significant activities in her life, and when I am with her, I make sure to really be present. While trying to maintain this balancing act, I rarely have time for myself. Is this normal? Am I doing something wrong? I spoke with two fellow career moms about how they find balance in their life, and found what they said very interesting and relatable.
Christine Suarez, founder of Suarez Dance Theater, believes that balance is a MYTH and is an impossible ideal that contemporary women of our culture struggle and work really hard to achieve.
“I am inside of the transition of changing how I work and process stress. Since becoming a parent I can no longer hunker down and focus solely on my work. I have to make dinner, do laundry, bathe my kid, not to mention actually be present for my child and spouse. It is a struggle; a seismic shift of how I work. I am finding ways to compartmentalize such as not checking email or voicemail after I pick up my son from school, making evenings for family, and not working on weekends. These are ideals that I have yet to truly reach, yet at the same time, I have this deep belief that if I don’t work hard, I will never progress in my career. Since becoming a parent, I have had to change my idea of ambition and progress. When my son was a baby my priorities definitely shifted. Now that he is older and my life is changing, I have to find a new balance again.”
Jennfier Berson, President of Jeneration PR, believes it’s practically impossible to be completely balanced in your personal and professional lives, and the most important thing is to realize you can’t be perfect. You have to accept that sometimes “the best you can do” is probably good enough.
“I always try my best with everything I do, so at least I can feel good about the effort I’ve made, and set a good example for my children. Like all working moms, I get a lot done at night when the kids are asleep. 8 p.m. to midnight is often my most productive time since there are fewer family interruptions and less email coming in to distract me. Tips that work for me are:
*Setting up a completely separate office (either in your home or outside your home) because if your toddler sees you, they will want to play.
*Plan meetings & calls when your kids are napping or when you have help such as your husband, grandparents, nannies, daycare or school.
*You need to schedule work-outs, errands & grocery shopping to make sure you fit it all in.
*You can’t do it all and that’s OK. Don’t expect to do everything perfectly, and don’t feel guilty about it.”