As a working mom, I’m often asked how to achieve balance between home and work life. It’s a challenging question and one that I’ve found doesn’t have a formulaic answer. I’ve learned that balance is not about having it all, but instead about knowing what’s important and holding true to that idea.
As a result, I know what tradeoffs I’m willing to make to achieve my own balance. The definition of balance is different for each individual and the definition can change over time, even on a daily basis. Achieving balance isn’t a one-time decision; it’s an ongoing series of choices and decisions.
I find myself making decisions daily on the trade-offs between my work and family life. For me, it’s not an individual effort but a team effort with my husband. For my husband Chris and me, it was important that our children were under our care the majority of time prior to attending school. My husband’s career allowed him to work a flexible schedule. We combined his flexible work schedule with a nanny three days a week. That arrangement worked for us.
However, as our children grew older, it became equally important to us to continue being the primary care givers for them when they were not at school. At the time, we were both working full-time and for us, the balance equation was not conducive to our needs. We made a mutual decision that my husband would make the big leap and become a stay-at-home dad. This was in no way an easy decision but for us, it was the right decision.
Given this background, my personal balance comes from having the ability to spend maximum time with my family and friends. I strive to never miss one of any of my children’s games, concerts or a special event at school. It doesn’t always turn out that way, but on balance it works for me. While I am not able to be a school volunteer or to coach a team, my husband is and that helps create a total balance for my family.
My advice is simple: understand what’s important to you and hold true to it, being open to the idea that the definition of balance and how you achieve it may change over time.