I'm a business woman (I own my beauty company, Little BU® nail polish www.iluvlittlebu.com) and a new mother to a six-month old little boy named Grayson. With these two roles, I'm having a hands on experience of the very real debate that constantly hits our headlines; 'Can the 21st Century woman really have it all?'
Its been argued in recent articles on the subject (Anne-Marie Slaughter's "Why Women Still Can't Have it All" recently in The Atlantic) that men have it better, as they're not faced with the same career restrictions once they have a family. In many aspects it's true - and I'm all for making the business world an even playing field. However, men aren't expected to take time out of their career for their families and with that in mind, men do often miss out on the special, never-to-be-repeated moments and important milestones in their children's lives.
I don't really think there's a clear answer to this debate as the true questions are: 'Can anyone really have it all? What one has to personally decide is what does 'having it all' mean?' And 'What do you really actually want to have, or need to achieve, to be happy?' This is very personal, and no one particular think-tank can define or ordain this.
Juggling a career and motherhood, I've personally learned that the key ingredient to have a successful and happier work-life balance is a clear vision of what one really desires from day one. Then, become extremely focused and organised your life in order to achieve it.
For me, time management is the key to keeping everything running smoothly, and flexibility is the secret ingredient to keeping it calm. I'm extremely goal orientated, and as a former publicist for some of the biggest PR campaigns across global beauty brands, I've learned to hone my ability to set short and long term goals, initiate projects from concept to completion and deliver them on time. I've discovered that it's particularly important to schedule in time for your personal life too - I work from home so I can happily start my day with my son and whilst he sleeps, I work on Little BU®. If it's important to you, your family and ultimately your strategy for happiness, then life needs to be 'booked in'.
Of course, I'm fortunate to be self-employed, allowing me to enjoy more flexibility with my time than someone within a corporate or traditional company environment. Hopefully, as the modern trend for more work flexibility and home offices grow, more working parents will be able to bring a greater level of harmony and balance into their lives. As employers, women in my position can only lead by example, so we need to do our best to challenge, and ultimately change the work culture into a work hard, play hard, quality not quantity model.
Being in the beauty industry, in addition to being the face of Little BU®, I still need to look my best, but now, with the job of being a mother too, I don't have as much time to invest in my beauty regime as I once did. I have come up with a few time saving beauty tips, along with a few ideas for the home and office, to free up more precious time.
My quick-fix beauty tips:
As a new mum, my hands are working overtime too! I recommend using a deeply moisturising hand cream. I love Liz Earle Hand Repair as it keeps cracks away, soothes paper cuts while helping to condition nails and cuticles.
I save time in the morning by washing my hair every other day and letting my hair dry naturally. I have a natural, gentle wave so I tend to just add a little styling cream to tame the flyaway's, then I'm out the door. In between, I keep my hair fresh by spritzing in Klorene Dry Shampoo on the roots.
When there isn't time to cleanse and exfoliate I use Liz Earle Naturally Active Cleans & Polish to remove makeup and cleanse the skin. The muslin cloth is wonderful to use.
To save the hassle of dressing up my eyes each morning, I usually wear Jinny Lash eyelash extensions. You just wake-up (looking beautiful) and go!
The fastest way to have that sun-kissed glow without spending time in the sun or applying self-tan is with a tinted moisturizer like Estee Lauder Day Wear Sheer Tint Anti-Oxidant Moisturizer SPF 15. Not only are you tastefully bronzed but the sun protection also keeps you from having to add an extra layer of protection.
Like you, I don't have the perfect balance just yet, but I certainly have my vision that I'm working towards. If you focus on everything equally, balance will come into play, and if all else fails to impress - relax, reboot and smile - it work wonders on your general wellbeing (see Yoko Ono's 'Smile' blog). I know seeing my little boy smile can wipe away all the stresses of the day and make me think I really do have it all...
Follow Patricia Dente-Haimes on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@iluvlittlebu