The Career-Family Balancing Act
- Sep. 01 2005 00:00
Single professionals often wonder how others balance a career, spouse or partner and kids. They want to know how they too can get it all, have it all, and keep it all going successfully. Although there are no simple answers to this question, as every person and their own life situation is different, there are a few basic guidelines that if taken into consideration could easily lead to having a happy balanced life.
Belief and confidence
The first step in attaining a balanced life is to truly want it and believe confidently that you can have it. It is about not making excuses about what you believe to be as losing your independence, career, friends, and your social life, in exchange for having a spouse or partner, and kids. Achieving a balanced life means adding your new life to your old life, not exchanging one for the other. If you really want it all, then get it - there is nothing stopping you but you.
Choose the right partner
In choosing a partner to share your life with, consider your own personality, lifestyle and goals and who might fit well with those. Your career should be very important to you, so be sure to choose a partner who respects your career and the attention you need to give it. Consider also if the person's ethical, religious, political and general social beliefs match yours. Choose a life partner who you would respect and get along with, not someone you would end up arguing with all the time.
Compatibility in other areas such as intimacy and humor are also important, as is matching with someone whose habits, hobbies and interests you do not mind.
Future goals are also important. If you want children make sure your partner does as well. You can always sell your house, car or boat, but kids are for keeps and they will need both of your lifelong love and attention.
Be a happy couple
Once you have picked your partner and have both committed to each other and your futures together, work on perfecting your marriage and how it relates to your career and former single life. Respect each other's careers, become good listeners and support and assist each other during career advancement decisions and times of conflicts.
Learn to balance your home life by respecting each other's personal time. If your spouse has work to do, then spend that time doing something you want to do. If you both had a hard day at work, then come home, catch up with each other for thirty minutes and then break away into your own personal time for a good hour or two. Maybe you like to watch TV and your partner likes to play computer games - whatever you like to do, just give each other space for a while.
Creating great balance in a marriage means having and displaying respect, trust, fairness, attention, love and forgiveness for one another. You will need to share in each other's social lives, certain career obligations/functions, and occasionally partake in each other's hobbies and interests. You will also need time alone with each other and personal time away from each other.
A happy marriage takes a lot of work, but like working hard to be a successful business professional, it also has a lot of rewards. If you choose the right spouse and treat your marriage seriously and with love, respect and devotion, you should be happy and have it pretty good.
Have kids and keep your career
A lot of people fear that kids will interfere with their career or that they will even have to give up their career just to have kids. This again has a lot to do with a lack of belief and confidence that some people have in themselves. Just as it is as easy and rewarding to fit a spouse into your once entirely single life, kids will also fit into your new life just as smoothly.
Unless a woman has an extreme medical condition requiring her to remain in bed for all or part of her pregnancy, there is no reason why she should not continue to advance in her career while waiting to deliver. Most employers may even come to an acceptable arrangement should she require some added time off during months when she may have morning sickness or toward the very end of her pregnancy when she might have difficulties commuting or enduring certain certain aspects of her work environment.
Today, computers and the Internet enable people to work from home on a part-time or full-time basis, so perhaps discuss this possible option with an employer as well. The idea is to consider all options - not to give up a career just because of a pregnancy.
Once your kids have arrived you also then need to decide whether or not to become a stay-at-home-parent. With the help of available grandparents or other family members, nannies, and daycare options, parents no longer have to give up their careers to raise their children themselves on a full-time basis.
Many people find it very difficult to switch from being a career professional to being a full-time homemaker. They miss the intellectual stimulation and challenges that the workplace provides. Fortunately for those who want it all - a career and family, there are many ways to achieve it including part-time work, flexible hours, and telecommuting from home via computer and phone.
Balancing it all
Once you have a spouse or partner and kids added to your professional life, work hard and smart to keep everything balanced and flowing. Your career, spouse and kids are all important. They each need your time and attention. Without your career your mind, happiness and sanity may suffer. However, without you in your family's life, your home life may suffer. Find a balance good for everyone and every aspect of your life.
Try to keep work at work so that when you are home you are dedicating one hundred percent of your time to your spouse and kids. At home spend time alone with your kids, alone with your spouse, together as a family, and alone with yourself to enjoy your own personal time.
Having a happy balanced life is easily attainable if you want it and make good choices in getting it. Once you have it, work hard to keep it balanced, fun and exciting. Enjoy having it all.