The modern working mom seems to have it all from the outside; a great job, fabulous relationship with her husband, brainy well rounded kids and a set of best friends she spends ample time with. We are three women who thought we could be the quintessential modern working mom, women who could do and have it all! Who are we kidding?
We tried and ultimately just kept coming back to the frustrating point of -- something is just not working! But what?
On the outside looking in, we were three women who seemed to have it all -- successful careers, emotionally supportive and present husbands, growing families, a circle of friends and involved community lives. But life on the inside was filled with too many ups and downs, turmoil and things were just getting ultra stressful. On the inside we were screaming for help.
In the workplace it was a piece of cake, as change management consultants we were implementing change and communication strategies, visiting clients all over the globe, developing assessment plans, all in a day's work. But at home, havoc was wreaking -- to just name a few -- tension moments with our husbands, kids we hadn't spent time with that truly needed us, there was a complete lack of balance. Let's face it we were just frustrated- and unhappy. What was so off in our personal lives? At home we thought of work. At work, we thought of home. Were we living in a fantasy world thinking that we could handle everything?
Was work-life balance just a buzz word that your HR department used or was it something that could be truly achieved? We started our quest to prove that with a few positive changes in our life we could and would achieve and maintain some type of balance (or at least we and our family would be happier J). Our logic is simple; if we are successful in the workplace, why not use the same methods and strategies at home? If it works at work why not at home? If we can develop an entire communication plan for a fortune 500, why can't we communicate better with our husbands about our needs and wants and move forward with a family plan.
A plan to support us with major changes like moving, changing jobs, or transitioning our kids to new schools. Or even small changes such as taking on a new home repair project, pampering ourselves or spending some quality time with our kids? We are not asking from ourselves or from you to storm into your household and demand major changes that will transform your life forever; this won't work, not for us, not for you. We were thinking baby steps, after all, at work even if you are the boss telling someone to do something doesn't always mean it will get done!
So what has brought us to this point of desperately seeking a little more balance? Two simple words: Freedom and Choice, or if you may, Freedom of Choice. Women's liberation did a lot for us, don't get us wrong! Our choices have expanded exponentially, we are not second class citizens who can't even vote and our opinion does not matter. We no longer have to be homemakers; waiting for our husband to come home dressed to perfection and a beautiful dinner ready on the table -- think Mad Men. No, we actually went to college for an education to find a career -- not a husband. We have good jobs, we lead people, our opinion matters!
But maybe, just maybe the abundance of choices has confined us to one too many responsibilities today? Instead of one job, we end up with 3. Most would agree that being a wife, a mother and a professional is like taking on 3 jobs! Two of which there isn't a manual for.
Many of us have a similar life journey. We go to college, start a career, and have something for ourselves first. Then we take on the challenge of marriage, kids, maybe divorce, remarry, caring for our older parents and oh yeah.... for majority of us we still have to work to co-support the family.
So how do we do it all without losing it? Where do we start to change things? No matter what you plan, things have not always gone according to it. We know life is not always a smooth road, there is an old saying "we make plans and G-d laughs. So what is the key?
We have found in the workplace; things like how to be a better team player, dealing with conflicts, setting proper goals and expectations, seeking support at the right time and keeping up with the momentum. We have found that these same tips can be applied at home. The trick is how you maneuver on, around and over these bumpy roads that really determines your happiness and satisfaction with not only your decisions but the outcomes. It's about approaching everything with a positive attitude. As the wise Albert Einstein said: "In every difficulty lies opportunity."
So the first step is believing in yourself and having the self confidence that you can and will make some positive changes in your life from the adversity you have faced. At work you don't hide in your cubicle-you take charge on your assignments, you make yourself heard, so why should your personal life be any different? We owe it to ourselves. Make a difference in your life today. You can't control the past, but you can positively change your present and future for the better.