Readers Write: About Work-Family “Balance”

Mom distracted by small children while working from home

Thanks to our readers for sharing their experience of work-family issues this month. Here are some positive ideas from two of our readers.

Next month, we will explore how to fight fear. If you have a story to share, please send it to [email protected].

Employees Finally Have the Power to Choose by Mboone Umbima

I have been thinking about this a lot lately, and my thoughts over the years have evolved. I am now at a place where I believe there is nothing such as work-family balance. The secret lies in employers and employees creating an environment of fluidity, industry withstanding.

The world of work (“post-COVID”) has changed, and the pandemic created space for deep reflection on how we work in addition to how we tend to our children and families.

For me, one thing is clear: For the first time in many years, employees finally have the power to determine what kind of working experience they want. Especially if you are good at what you do, you truly have the power and can choose the employer that will meet your needs.

Women will need to use their voices, level up, and ask for what they need because it just won’t be handed over on a platter. This is the time to do so.

Balance is Elusive. Focus instead on Your Top Three Priorities –Sohee Jun

I’m allergic to the word “balance.” It’s an ever-elusive goal with an end-post that keeps moving.And as a leadership coach to high-performing women, I see most of us trying exhaustively to attain work-life balance; it keeps us tired, trying to spin all of the plates in the air perfectly and simultaneously.

It wouldn’t be such an overwhelming task if the ‘plates’ were true priorities in our lives, grown out of our values.But, instead, we spin the plates of obligation, shoulds, perfectionism, shame, and the biggest one of all: the plate of comparison.

Ready to drop those plates and spin ones that are authentic to you? Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • Reframe how you think of work-life balance to one of work-life integration. Integrate only those activities, projects, tasks, events, etc., that align to your top three priorities.
  • You can identify the priorities that matter to you by getting clear on your values.Once you have your top three values, all priorities start to shift and become clear in terms of what matters most to your work and life.
  • Then, look at your weekly calendar.What can you integrate more of and take away from your day-to-day that will help you align your days with what matters to you most? For example, if creativity is one of your core values, look at your weekly and daily schedule to see if you’ve made room for it.

This is a continuous practice in aligning your life to make it authentic to what matters to you most! Start, learn, iterate, and most of all, love the process!