by Lianne Castelino www.whereparentstalk.com
Lately, I've been invited as a guest speaker to several events to talk about work-family balance. It is truly a FASCINATING topic and one that I am privileged to address. Not because I am any kind of expert on the topic, but perhaps because by virtue of being a mom of 3, a journalist and entrepreneur, I have a fairly unique lense on this topic.
In an age where most of us are whirling around, not just mere mice on that wheel, but rodents on steroids training for the mice Olympics (!), it is a question that we must all reflect on daily at least, to have some semblance of normalcy. The question? What does work-family balance mean to me?
For me it's being around when and if my husband and children need me on a daily basis while being engaged in creative, professional pursuits that positively fill by brain and soul.
Sure, it's easier said then done. Believe me, I've spent an entire career, almost 18 years in fact, working shift work in the media. Evenings, weekends, night shifts, stat holidays — you name it. However, my husband and I have always made it work. Was it always easy — not always — but we worked it out together thanks to one key: Setting and maintaining priorities.
One of our key, daily priorirites is to eat dinner together as a family. So, over the years, even when I was working evenings and weekend shifts, we worked it (and I know I'm lucky to have been able to do this), so that we were always home for dinner with our children. Sure, travel can sometimes throw a wrench into things, but that's easily overcome because the majority of the time we do eat together.
During my various talks on this subject, I stress one thing —- list your priorities and, like an athlete, maintain a singular focus on achieving them. If you do that, the rest really becomes easy because you likely will never bend on your priorities. Also, like a sports team, everyone has to buy-in to achieving that priority. In other words, if eating dinner together is less important to me than my husband, chances are he will be alone in his quest to eat together as a family. Everyone has to be on the same page. Teamwork has pivotal role.
Martha Hall Findlay, a Liberal MP for Willowdale until the recent federal election, is an extremely accomplished professional with a varied and extensive resume: lawyer, entrepreneur, businesswoman, politician and Mom of 3. She managed to achieve some very high goals in some challenging professional fields as a wife and while raising three kids. It IS possible. Her work-family 'strategy' provides additional food for thought.
At a time when the world is FULL of white noise, distractions, temptations and competing interests, the pursuit of balance in both family and career is both a noble and significant one that like most other things in life is WORK but so REWARDING.
The mouse can still move around that wheel, but it can also take time to jog, hydrate and rest, on that journey.