With the pressures of globalization and competition keeping us at work more than ever before, balancing work and family is always a thorny issue. For moms, the contradiction is even more intense because of the pervasive attitude that a woman’s natural role is to protect and care for the home. Unfortunately, modern society has left few women with the luxury of that option. Mothers (and fathers) have to work for their children to eat.
This dilemma is best expressed in the poem “My Boy” written by Morris Rosenfeld:
I have a little boy at home,
A pretty little son;
I think sometimes the world is mine
For him, my only one. . . .
‘Ere dawn my labor drives me forth;
Tis night when I am free;
A stranger am I to my child;
And stranger my child to me. . . .
Thankfully, a work-life balance is not impossible. Numerous women have managed to find a manageable equilibrium between two necessary, but often times conflicting, aspects of their lives. Here are six tips from hardworking moms.
Treat family time as unmissable appointments. For Jessica Wang, SVP of Placement in 2U, an educational technology company, the calendar is her biggest asset. Unlike many of her contemporaries, she schedules everything in it—including important events with her children to ensure that work will never intrude during those times.
Get your family’s support. Kira Wampler, chief marketing officer of ridesharing platform Lyft, talks about accepting the flow—that sometimes work will be prioritized and other times family will be number one. She also notes the importance of choosing a mate who supports your decisions and is willing to compromise to make the relationship and the family work.
Use tech to your advantage. A city administrator at Candon, Ilocos Sur, Grace C. Singson, loves the power of smartphones and the internet to manage her family and work. Technology enabled her to be productive anywhere, even during traffic, and to connect with her children.
Don’t forget the little things. Yelp VP of Corporate Communications, Shannon Eis, finds the balance not in checklists but in small daily interactions. Taking the time to make eye contact and create meaningful conversations with the people that matter most can go a long way in restoring the work-life equilibrium.
She recommends defining small, achievable things that an individual can do with her family that will be her balancing moments.
Know when to disconnect entirely. TV 5 AksyonsaTanghali news anchor, Cherie Mercado, realized that having the best of both worlds is incredibly difficult. Instead of stretching herself too thin, she followed her counselor’s advice to let one aspect of her life go first. Now, instead of reporting breaking stories, she’s happy telling bedtime tales.
Get into a position that gives you better control of your time. Jennifer Walzer, CEO of Back Up My Info! (BUMI), a premium managed service provider for online data backup and recovery, suggests taking control of life and making decisions to prioritize work or family.
She founded BUMI in part to give herself that power, prioritizing work to enable the company to prosper and now family after the business became stable.
As can be read from their stories, there is no single answer that can guarantee the perfect balance work-life balance. Moms have to find their own way that works for them.
Have you found your way? Post about your approach below. Or connect with more moms about family life, visit our page on mommy bloggers.