Working Women, Leadership and Balance….what does it all mean?

I often see people and coaches talking about work-life balance. I was always curious about this concept and what it really means. I have been on a quest to find this, probably my entire life.

In trying to spell out the truth about this, I feel I need to refer to Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs:

  • 1. Biological and Physiological needs – air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep:
  • 2. Safety needs – protection from elements, security, order, law, stability, freedom from fear.
  • 3. Love and belongingness and needs – friendship, intimacy, affection, and love, – from a work group, family, friends, romantic relationships.
  • 4. Esteem needs – achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, self-respect, respect from others.
  • 5. Self-Actualization needs – realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.

One of my biggest issues in creating balance is my lack of time. Last week I did a self-evaluation based off of the question “If money were no object, what would be one thing that you would need to succeed in these areas. Every single response was either time or sleep. A lot of things that take these away from me currently are things that are out of my control.

I can’t decide to not be a mother. I don’t always have people to help me with them when things come up either. I have to race home, cook dinner, do homework and do everything possible to maintain my energy until they go to bed.

Work is hectic. I do have to support my children, so I need to have a job. I work very hard as well because I do have really high goals for myself. Could I choose to just do the basic requirements of my job? Sure. But I know that if I do things this way, it won’t keep me employed long-term. Nor will my career ever progress into something greater. I am very vocal as well about creating more opportunities for women in leadership. Besides, I strongly feel that it’s my responsibility to show my children that hard work pays off.

As far as my romantic life, my significant other and I both have demanding careers. Added to that, I have my children. We definitely don’t have enough time together. This specific piece touches several areas of needs. I think it’s hard when you go through long periods of time not having to worry about someone else. Then you meet someone and it’s great, but then you try to carve out time when you already feel like you have none. I know from personal experience that if you don’t spend quality time together, it’s difficult to maintain a healthy relationship. We try though to the best of our abilities. There’s not a ton we can change about that at the moment. Patience, understanding, and communication helps.

An area I feel I am lacking the most is in my own personal and professional development. I deeply care about growing my career. In a dreamer sort of way, I sometimes believe I can greatly change things in the world. Especially when it comes to helping more women not only want to become leaders but find them opportunities to do so.

There is, however, still many problems. A large amount of the population has no clue that women still are at a disadvantage. Even though many women are very educated and have the experience to take on these roles, we still have responsibilities at home. Now I don’t want to offend them men out there that do take an active role at home. But the truth of the even if we don’t want a man to take care of us, men still have a strong desire to do so. Yet there are still many women who want men to take care of them. I guess there’s nothing wrong with that. However, it is not for me.

Often enough, women are looked poorly upon by the rather vast amount of women who chose to stay home. I can’t even begin to describe the looks I get some days picking my kids up from school. I am often seen running into school, barely on time and on my cell. I can’t volunteer for every single event that happens at school. But I don’t see a ton of men doing this either. So I don’t feel that bad. I am one person. I still have yet to find a way to create my clone. Even though I work all day, I still have to come home, cook dinner, do homework, bath time, and keep my house clean. Mind you, dinner lately has been my first meal of the day. Do I have 20 loads of laundry to do? Absolutely! I really wish I could wear a GoPro all day so people could see what it’s really like for me. Honestly, I don’t understand why I have to feel like I need to choose between having a career and being a mom. Why can’t I have both and not be judged for it? Why do I have to sacrifice things to do so?

The biggest problem in this world between men and women is denial. Women who try to work hard to grow their careers, often become exhausted and give up. Statistics show that in many of the “good ol boys club” type organizations, women have to 2-3 times harder to prove themselves. In the same case, men don’t speak up about it often enough or are in complete denial that it’s a problem.

There is a lot of talk about this lately. The problem is, we spend way too much time talking about it than actually doing something about it.

As far as work-life balance….I’m convinced that there is no such thing. It really comes down to how good you are at juggling.