December 18, 2013

Balancing Career and Family

Balancing Career and Family: Fact and Fiction

Balancing the demands of career and family can be difficult for anyone, especially in a bad economy like ours.  Women, with small children often experience significant conflicts and stress but men also report that the keeping their priorities straight causes them a lot anxiety, too . In addition to the inherent conflicts, some folks are needlessly burdened with erroneous ideas and beliefs. Today we’ll discuss some of the factors which contribute to this wide spread problem, burst some of the myths and suggest some helpful tips for reducing stress and keeping things balanced.

Why is having a successful career and a family life so difficult ?  

1. Cultural bias against working women: by employers and spouses.         

2. Emotional and psychological distortions, e.g. guilt.

3. The real clash of competing interests. Having limited time and energy but being subjected to unlimited and conflicting demands means that something’s gotta to give.

What are some of the common myths about having a career and family?

1. A woman’s place is in the home                                                                                      2. A woman (or anyone) can do it all, all at once. ( e.g. you may not be able to make partner and parent a young child – and it’s not your fault.)                                                    3. Career women are bad parents.

What are common mistakes that folks who have balancing make ?

A) Not having realistic expectations.                                                                                      B. Not being clear about their priorities.                                                                                 C) Not communicating needs.                                                                                               D) Not having adequate support network.

Tips for balancing a career and family and making life easier for everyone ? 

     1.Know your priorities and communicate them to your boss and spouse.

     2.Have realistic expectations about your limits. Be able to say no.  You can’t do it all. Remember your priorities and set limits.  Being realistic means being clear and direct with yourself, your boss and your spouse about what you want and what you can do.        

     3) Deal with emotional obstacles, e.g. guilt – Mom’s with careers don’t harm their kids.  No matter how much you know better, everyone feels erroneous some guilt about not being able to make everyone happy and doing it all.  Acknowledge the feelings, identify them as false and don’t be controlled by them. Some personal therapy might help.

     4) Plan and schedule for work, marriage, kids and self. Free time doesn’t spontaneously occur very often when you have career, spouse and kids. By looking ahead and using a calendar, you can block out time for work, your marriage you kids and also yourself.

     5) Communicate and stay connected with employer, spouse, kids and self. A couple of phone calls  during the day really helps you to stay in touch with loved ones and sustain the empathic linkage. 

     6) Develop an adequate support network (quality child care, family and friends) to rely on. People who are successful in balancing don’t do it alone. They have sympathetic bosses, spouses, family and friends.

     7) Periodically review and evaluate your priorities and choices. Over time they may shift. It is okay to change your minds and life emphasis, e.g. after having a baby.  bir

The Rev. Michael Heath, LMHC prepared these remarks for Bridge Street  12 18 2013  

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