Most of us seek the elusive work-life balance but is it really possible to be a mother and have a career?
A high-flying US career woman, Anne-Marie Slaughter, has caused a stir with her choice to opt out of her job as a State Department official in Washington DC and move to a job where she can spend more time with her family.
Slaughter wrote an article for The Atlantic magazine titled Why women still can’t have it all, where she wrote about her experience as a career-driven mother and why she decided to leave the work environment. Slaughter’s job required her to work in a different city to where her family lived. As a result, she was only home on weekends when she had to juggle time with her sons, as well as all her other chores.
When making the decision to leave Washington, Slaughter was taken aback by the reactions that she got. Most reactions where either sad for her or they were condescending saying that she shouldn’t generalise that women can’t have high-flying careers while raising children.
“Women of my generation have clung to the feminist credo we were raised with, even as our ranks have been steadily thinned by unresolvable tensions between family and career, because we are determined not to drop the flag for the next generation,” says Slaughter.
Slaughter feels that women can “have it all” and “have it all at the same time”. However, she feels that in today’s economy it is not possible. Slaughter, however, is only commenting on the current reality in America.
Entrepreneur, mother of two and author of blog momtrepreneur.co.za, Claire Minnaar has found a way to work with having a family.
“I have to remind myself daily about balance, especially on days when I get focused on or involved in something I really enjoy or am passionate about in my work,” says Minnaar. “I remind myself regularly that work ends at 5pm on weekdays, no working weekends and tomorrow is another day and actually, most things can wait.”
When it comes to finding balance between your work life and your family life, Minnaar says that it is different with every mother. However she says the key to balance is to identify how they want to balance their lives and work towards this through prioritising and lots of planning.
Again the choice of having a career and being a mother is different for every woman. Minnaar says that she could never be a stay-at-home mother. Working is what makes her happy and being a happy mother makes her sons’ lives much better.
“Moms should really stop putting themselves down for working. Accept the fact that some days will be more difficult than others and move on. Plan, organise, be intentional and stick to what you committed to and stop looking back at what you have done / haven’t done, so you can enjoy the moments of being the special mom that you are,” says Minnaar.