Give these tips a try for making career and family work so you can enjoy both spheres of your life. This article, “For Professional Women, A Balance Between Career and Family,” by Sylvia Marks is one of many she has written on issues facing women in the workplace. The Empowered Team especially likes her suggestion to stop and smell the roses—for women and men.
Professional women often feel torn between the responsibilities of their jobs and the needs of their families. When you are doing well at work, you might worry that your kids are missing your presence. When you make the choice to take off work for your child’s functions, professional issues might affect your chances at a promotion. While it is impossible to achieve a perfect balance between career and family (ask professional women who have tried), there are tips to help you feel like both parts of your life are working as well as possible.
Evaluate Your Values and Goals
You may have thought you wanted to be a partner in your firm—until your first baby smiled up at you. You may have planned to stay home with the children throughout elementary school, until you realized that PTA meetings and classroom volunteering weren’t enough to make you feel fulfilled. It’s okay for professional women to modify goals and expectations based on current professional women’s issues. Take regular assessments to ensure your life choices are in accordance with your current goals and values.
Even super heroes wouldn’t be able to work a full-time job, keep a spotless home and provide homemade treats to her children after school each day. So why try? When professional women are maintaining the balance between work and family, they must remain realistic in expectation of what they can really accomplish. You may not be able to move up the corporate ladder as quickly as you like if you are taking time off periodically to spend time with your kids. By the same token, your house may not always be clean and dinner may occasionally be drive-through if you are going to keep up with the pace. Allow yourself the freedom to be imperfect within these professional women’s issues and you will be much happier for it.
Manage Your Time
It is easy for professional women to let their days control them, rather than the other way around. After all, no one can predict when Junior will be sent home from school with a fever or the boss will ask you to do a presentation with almost no notice. However, it is important to learn to manage your time well, by making lists, setting priorities and shutting out distractions as much as possible. Effective time management will ensure you are accomplishing as much as possible each day without driving yourself to distraction in the process. Getting involved with professional women’s groups such as the NAPW and talking with others in your situation may be quite beneficial in helping you figure out your own goals regarding time management.
Take Time to Smell the Roses
Many frazzled professional women forget to enjoy the many blessings of life because they are too busy dealing with the multitude of professional women’s issues that arise. Force yourself to take at least a few minutes every day to be grateful for the many positives in your life: your children’s health, a boss you like or a supportive spouse. Give yourself time to laugh with your children or snuggle with your mate. And mostly, allow yourself the indulgence of activities you love, whether it is board games with your family or a steamy novel before bed. These are the small enjoyments that make life worth living.
Sylvia Marks is a leading contributor on issues facing professional women in the workplace. She is a proud member of NAPW (National Organization of Professional Women). Her views are not necessarily those of NAPW.
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