Work/Life Balance – An Oxymoron?

Earlier in the week my friend and I where g-chating about her move, our jobs, starting a family and balancing the two. She sent me this link and the title literally smacked me in the face, Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.

For almost two years now I have been trying to figure out this work/life balance that so many have talked about. Leaving the hustle and bustle of a downtown Chicago online advertising position for a suburb marketing copywriting position. To cut my commute time down and actually be able to take or pick-up Yus from school. Am I glad I made the transition? Yes! Do I wonder if it was the right choice? Sometimes. Do I miss the stress? Hecky nah.

The author, Anne-Marie Slaughter, talks about her two-year leave from academia to work in Washington, D.C. on Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s staff. Slaughter discusses the gilt she experienced having to leave her two teenage boys and husband during the work week only to see them on weekends. After two years, she made the decision to return to her tenured position at Princeton University.

“I realized what should have perhaps been obvious: having it all, at least for me, depended almost entirely on what type of job I had. The flip side is the harder truth: having it all was not possible in many types of jobs, including high government office—at least not for very long.”

And this statement was my light bulb moment. What’s more important to me in the here and now? My “career” or making sure that our son matures with my love and presence. Clearly, the latter. Yes, I am currently in a great position that’s in-line with my short and long-term career goals. The major plus is that it provides me with the flexibility I need to be there for my family.

Clearly, the audience of this article is women currently in high power positions, VPs, CEOs, Partners etc. But I also believe it’s for those aspiring to be in those positions whether it’s self-employed or corporate, for us to understand how to manage to be SUCCESSFUL PRESENT mothers. The key word missing but definitely implied in this article is Present.  We all know anyone can be a mother but being a present, inter-active, lead by example mother is something totally different.

I’m blessed to have a mother who showed me you can work in Corporate America and be a present mother and that it really does depend on the type of job you have. She went on every field trip, was a class mom, and was able to check my homework before bed. Yes, there were days when I sat quietly next to her while she was on a conference call because I was sick or it was a Catholic holiday she didn’t have off. But it was on those days that we had the most fun.

The role of a parent is 24/7 365 days a year. In the words of Tim Gunn, “make it work” and remember that balance is also a verb meaning to arrange, adjust or proportion. My balance isn’t your balance and balance doesn’t have to mean the same thing everyday.

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