Can working women ever have it all?

When it comes to work and home life, it can be a struggle to find the right balance.

IHow can hard working women find a balance?f you are a career-minded woman, do you believe that you have to let things at home slide? A new survey shows 3 out of 4 working women think that you do.

To support the launch of her new book, Getting Real About Having It All, Megan Dalla-Camina asked her publisher to poll 1,000 working women from around the country. The result show that the majority of women believe the having it all is a pipe dream, but is that really the case?

According to the survey:

  • 70 percent say they feel like it’s impossible to have it all at work AND at home
  • 50 percent are craving more time to themselves
  • 40 percent feel like they’re constantly hanging on by a thread

“This is really unfortunate because statistics show that more and more women are taking on the role of primary breadwinner,” says Gary Herman, President of Consolidated Credit. “This poll seems to indicate that these women may be doing so by sacrificing their own happiness and time they would want to spend with their families.”

The women on Consolidated Credit’s staff can understand this tug-of-war. From our executive staff to our counselors and client service reps, plenty of us are trying to strike that perfect balance as female professionals, too.

Although every situation is different, there are some things that most women can incorporate into their daily routine that will help support a balanced lifestyle. Here are our top 5 tips to strike that perfect balance:

Tip No. 1: Don’t be on-call 24/7

It used to be that the only on-call professionals were doctors and health professionals, but email and smartphones have led to a world where your boss may expect you to be on-call 24/7 no matter what your career path.

If you never unplug from work, you’re not leaving any time to focus on your home life. Draw a line in the sand when it comes to answering emails or handling emergency issues at home. Whether this means setting a cutoff time that you turn you work phone off every evening or putting a limit on the amount of afterhours work-from-home time you do, make a defining line so work isn’t taking up your every waking hour.

Tip No. 2: Plan “you time” into your weekly calendar

It’s not all about work, your partner and your kids – it also needs to be about you! If you have trouble taking time for yourself, you’re not going to be as good as you can be for everyone else.

So if you’re one of those women who find they never have time for themselves, take one hour (or a few) to schedule something in for yourself. This could be time at the gym, at the salon for a mani-pedi, or even just an hour blocked out so you can get in the backyard or garden or read a book. If you schedule this time, you’re more likely to actually get time for yourself.

Tip No. 3: Take real vacations… no really

Have you ever had a boss who spends their whole vacation emailing people about projects and putting out fires in the office? Even worse, are you that boss?

Don’t ruin family time by letting work time interfere. You do plenty at your job and you’ve almost certainly earned your vacation hours. So don’t waste them by not checking out of work completely when you get away.

If there’s no way around it, then make sure you set some really strict boundaries. For instance, you will only check your email for one hour in the morning or in the evening, so you can spend the whole day with your family uninterrupted. Although ideally, you should really tell your boss and coworkers that you’re going to be out-of-pocket completely expect for REAL emergencies.

Tip No. 4: Share the burden

As women, we have a bad habit of tending to be control-freaks. You do everything because you know how everything needs to be done – otherwise, it’s just creating more work for you to go back and fix someone else’s mess. Still, does everything really need to be in your control or could you give up some control to gain balance in your life?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with all of your responsibilities at home, then share some of them with other members of your household. Your significant other and even your kids will probably be willing to pick up some slack by taking on a few easy chores if it means a happier, less stressed you that has more time for them.

Tip No. 5: Negotiate with your boss to build best schedule

One of the hardest parts of balancing work and home life usually comes with kids’ activities. If you work until 7:00 (or even 8:00 or 9:00 at night) then you’re probably missing all of those activities that your kids do that you’d want to see. So why not negotiate with your boss to make that happen?

Many employers are becoming more flexible to address the challenges that come with raising a family as a working professional. Take advantage of this flexibility to build a schedule that lets you be a mom, a wife and a productive employee. This may involve coming in early one day so you can leave at 4:00 to make your kid’s karate practice, or even working an extra hour four days out of every week so you can take a half day for some much needed mommy and me time.

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April Lewis-Parks
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