Global Leadership Speaker and Premier Work-Life Balance Speaker
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A Balancing Act

Change places with your child and imagine this: Your mother is a world-class, trailblazing executive who has hundreds or thousands of people who work for her. People cling to her words and jockey for her favor, desperate to impress her… And, there she is, nagging at you to pick up your shoes. To the world, she is a title. To you, she is mom. She performs a daily balancing act.

What the child of the senior executive probably doesn’t know is, women executives wrestle with their job performance as mothers more than anything else they do. When I speak at women’s leadership events, I am constantly asked about balance issues. The reality is that there is no issue of balance. It’s all about imbalance. It’s about making it work so you succeed professionally, raising children who are not juvenile delinquents, and not losing your mind in the process.

So many of the young mothers I meet describe a frenetic cadence they have to sustain as parents and professionals. They always are running to keep up with the demands. Despite their efforts to do it all, they are tortured by guilt because, let’s face it, they can never do enough.

Is it selfish to want a career? Is it selfish to want to be with your children? Is it selfish to want ten minutes to yourself?

Nearly half of the women I spoke with, who are mothers have husbands who are stay-at-home dads. Nationally, just one in twenty fathers are stay-at-home dads, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What does it mean when these senior-level women choose this option? Does it prove that the old model was right? That the senior executive needs someone at home running the household and taking care of the kids in order to make everything work?

I think that it suggests that running a household and raising a family are such demanding challenges that every parent needs all the help she or he can get. And that those who make it to senior leadership are in a better position economically to choose that option.

What would happen to those national statistics if every family could afford financially to choose that option? Senior leadership is a demanding world, but is it any more demanding than a world where a woman works two back-breaking jobs to pay her family’s bills? I think there are a lot of women who would just love to have that kind of support at home.

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