Posted By Jillian Fairchild,
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, August 30, 2016
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Can We Have It All?
The question of whether work/life balance is possible is a constant one. Anne-Marie Slaughter famously determined that the answer was “no” in her article titled “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” Since the birth of my own daughter, I have been wondering more and more - is it possible to have a full-time career, children/family, and keep your sanity?
Women everywhere are fighting to balance work lives with home life. My own struggle has been made more difficult by the fact that I recently joined a very busy litigation defense firm. My hours have gotten longer and I am not always home by the time my daughter is asleep. On those days, my time with her is limited to the hour I see her in the morning before I drop her off at daycare. When I have to go out of town, I am frequently gone before she gets up and do not get home until after she is asleep.
This dilemma is not limited to women. I see some of my male colleagues also struggle for balance. My own husband faced similar issues. He is a chef who worked for 10 years before being promoted to executive chef. What he quickly learned is that his new position required working 6-7 days and 70-80 hours a week, all evenings, weekends, and holidays. Once our daughter was born, he felt he was missing everything at home. He eventually refused to work in restaurants and hotels and is now a chef in a corporate office. He works dream hours (6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.) and is home in the evenings and weekends to see his family.
Of course, consideration must be given to the fact that the “all” is different for everyone. Ms. Slaughter referred to having children and a high-powered career. Like her, some strive to be at the top of their profession. Others simply strive to pay their bills, but their real goal is to make time for the PTA. My husband decided that his “all” was time at home and his family was more important than the long hours that came with a more prestigious chef position.
It seems as though it is important to determine what your “all” is. Every person has to look at their life and determine what is most important to them. Is it spending time with your kids? Having a dream job/career? There are also financial considerations impacting these decisions, including daycare and student loan debt. The “all” is a deeply personal decision that is different for everyone and will likely change over time.
This blog post was authored by Jillian Fairchild
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