Forget “Work-Life Balance.” It’s the wrong goal.

If you are a mother or a father with children under age 19, and if you strive for success in your professional career AND success as a parent, I created this blog just for you.

If you’re in HR or management, and your company has working parents on your payroll and you want to understand and serve them better, stick around too.

I’m a working parent. I understand the day-to-day challenges of trying to be great at my job and great as a parent. Here’s what I’ve discovered: All this talk about “Work-Life Balance” is the wrong conversation. It’s the wrong goal. It’s like the proponents are trying their best to tell us how to go East, when we really want to be going North. The best, most complete, most accurate directions to go East still won’t get you North!

Likewise, when you stop and think about it, you don’t really want to balance these two essentials, because one is your livelihood, and one is your LIFE. If you lose your job, you can get another one and you’re back in the workforce. If you lose a child…Sorry, I didn’t mean to make you tear up, but you get my point. You could never replace that child, even if you had more or adopted.

I know. My son, Mark, died suddenly at age 8 1/2 in 1998. There will never be another kid like him in the history of time – and there will never be another kid like any of yours either.

So I say, forget “balance.” Rather, prioritize “family first, and work a close second.” After all, most of us have to work, and many of us LIKE to work. But we LOVE our family, and I hope to help you keep all this straight, be successful and enjoy the ride too.

Thoughts? Comments? Insight? Please comment.

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3 Comments

Filed under work-life balance, working mothers, working parents

3 responses to “Forget “Work-Life Balance.” It’s the wrong goal.

  1. I like to work hard, I studied law in Mexico worked there funded a law office and came to US to learn how law firms worked here, efficiency, productivity, research, I felt impressed. I thought marvelous! why they never taught this way to do things in the Mexican universities.

    Then i got married, and got a better position, negotiator, then my little girl.
    I was working in this company that was like a family, leaded for a great woman,

    The new contracts came up along with nice salary, then my daughter reached 5 yrs old, and asked me if I would be going to her presentation, I said I would check and asked at work if I could have that day off.

    They said no, deadline is coming!, I told that to my daughter and she asked me, why you have to work? -So you can go to school, get toys, food and a house.
    Then she told me -Why I want that if I can’t have you?
    Next day I had a reunion, one of the senior lawyers had a farewell party at his house, pool, big country house, even a small movie theater in his huge basement.

    I told him, you have a beautiful house here! – you like it?- he said – well I’m divorced, my kids live in England, Spain and LA always busy never had time for them, now I don’t have anyone with whom share this.

    Next day I quit!

    Now I struggle to meet ends as a part time event organizer and building my own law firm, my dream?: create companies that works as a company that need to make profits with no false slogans like: “we are like a family here” but a company that can employ people working compact weeks, (40 hrs in 3 or 4 ays so they can employ the rest of the week with their families).

    I heard all the time, that immigrants will destroy this country, terrorists, oil, whether, that US will follow the same path as the Roman empire did when they admitted the foreigner in their country.

    I have lived in both countries Mexico and US enough to say in both nations or any nation on this planet would be in danger when they stop putting value to family time, to hug our kids.

    my experience is, there is no way to balance work and life, you have to choose, between selfish get going with my career or generous I’ll dedicate time to my kids.

    I chose love, now I spend quantity and quality time with my girl I’m convinced both are important, I can chose what days I will work and I’m happy with my small townhouse.

    Career? I have the knowledge with me, so I decided to put that for later when she doesn’t need me anymore, then I’ll take where I left and I’ll keep going. I’m so happy hugging and spending time with my girls, Giving them time that no money ever would buy.

  2. Michelle,
    You have hit the nail on the head with this one! For the longest time we have chimed in with the work.life balance and everyone would ask, “so how is it done?” Depending on the dynamics of your family/work situation, a different answer would be given.
    The deep seeded memory of your son is the reality of it all. Family cannot be replaced, yet it is our work that supports that which we love.

    Thank you for sharing your life, love and talents with us all.

  3. Pingback: Flow for Organizational Effectiveness & Increasing Innovation « Quality and Innovation

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