For many women a career is just as important as family life. It is personal choice and how we achieve that balance is down to each individual. It absolutely isn't about spending equal amounts of time. How much time we dedicate to each part of our life for us to be happy, is very much down to personal choice.
The difficulty comes in to play when time we spend in one part of our life starts having a detrimental effect on the other. Reasons for that? There are quite a few.
If you are in work and enjoying the time spent - great! If you start getting pressure from family members about the lack of time with them - then that is where the conflict starts coming in from one direction.
So that's one direction - the other is if we are struggling to keep up with the work and just can't seem to extract ourself away from all there is to be done. You want to get off home but haven't quite achieved enough. And all the time you are trying to clear the urgent stuff you are also feeling guilty (or even resentful!) that you are not getting home to family when you said you would.
Pressure builds .....
Conflict arises .....
And something has to give .....
But what exactly?
If the pressure is coming from work ask yourself the following questions:
Do I have the skills and competence to do all that is expected of me?
If not - then talk to your manager and organise support and development
Am I organised and on top of all I have to do?
If not - brush up on your time management and prioritisation skills - it can make a massive difference
Am I doing one person's job or have I somehow taken on the work of many?
If you have taken on the work of many - talk to your manager and see what options there are. If that isn't feasible then prioritise, develop a method of updating your manager with progress - maybe even on a traffic light system with green for on track, amber for in need of action and red if things are slipping out of timescales. It doesn't have to be war and peace, you will be surprised what can go onto one page. If you have flagged things to the right person you are acting responsibly and working hard to get through it all.
If you are on top of things in work and the pressure is coming from family, then ask yourself the following:
Have you had a good conversation to identify the reasons for the issues?
If not, maybe it's time to talk. Balancing family life needs respectful interaction and mutual support from all parties
Are you sharing the responsibilities at home or is one person taking the load?
If it is one person, look at how there might be a different balance to be had or if there is someone else that can take things on for you.
Do you both (or all) have the same expectations?
If one person is behaving in a way that doesn't match with another person's belief of what personal / family life looks like, then tension creeps in. A conversation is needed to reach an agreement - and in that it is important that one person doesn't feel obliged to do what the other person wants or dictates. That just leads to resentment.
- Are you feeling fulfilled by work?
- Are you feeling fulfilled in your personal life?
If no to either question, then something will be missing. Work out what it is and do something about it.
The key is to not just assume it is the other person's fault. Don't project the blame out on to the first person that comes into view. Take time to consider the reasons why and do something about it. Take responsibility for your own behaviours and actions. Do everything you can in your power to get things back on to an even keel.
Often a great conversation is all that is needed.
Janice Haddon has over 25 years' experience in strategic and operational human resources and management consultancy. Working across a range of sectors and with start-ups to top 20 companies, Janice is a qualified coach and has a passion for integrating strong leadership and high performance with personal positivity and wellbeing. A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development with a BSc (Hons) in Psychology, an MA in Psychotherapy and an MBA from Henley Management College, Janice is also a Master Practitioner in NLP, a Cognitive Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapy Counsellor. She is currently undertaking a PhD in Organisational Health and Wellbeing and is Managing Director of both Morgan Redwood and Thrive in Life 360.