SCORE Small Business Blog

Life Balance: Work/Life Is A Balancing Act

Recently I was asked to talk to a group of college seniors about pursuing careers in business after they graduate. Looking out at 50+ young, fresh faced seniors made me realize how far I have come since I graduated, and how much my outlook on working and life have changed. I remember being a senior, and thinking that I was going to do it all. I was going to have a fabulous, exciting career, and a husband, and kids. I never once thought about what it would actually take to make all of that happen.

Now, almost 15 years later, I have managed to have a great career, and have a wonderful marriage and 2 beautiful children. But it has not been as easy and seamless as I thought it would be. The number of compromises I have made in order to make my life happen –is almost overwhelming. The interesting thing as that most people looking at me from the outside, don’t ever see or acknowledge all the compromises. They assume that one part of my life must be suffering, and for the most part they make the assumption that it’s my family life that must suffer.

The reality is that I compromise on both ends, and that makes my life work. At the end of the day though there is one “loser” in this compromise. The loser is Sabrina Parsons the person, not Sabrina Parsons the CEO or Sabrina Parsons the Mom and Wife. The actual part of my life that gets compromised the most is the “me” part. I don’t eat as well as I would like since I am always rushing around. I don’t work out as much as I would like, because I simply run out of hours. I don’t read novels for fun anymore – I am always reading business books and tech blogs and articles. I recently realized that going to the supermarket BY MYSELF is actually a treat. I get to spend 60-90 minutes in peace – without anyone asking me for anything. When shopping for groceries by yourself is a treat – you know that you have made a lot of compromises.

So how does this relate or help all those other working women out there, who either are already moms, and struggling to figure out their balancing act, or will be moms, and are afraid of what will happen to their careers? My biggest piece of advice to all women in the workplace is to be realistic about what is possible, and make appropriate changes to their careers and family life in order to create the balance that works for them. This may mean a career change or a change of jobs to a company that gives more flexibility. It may mean looking at moving to a place where extended family can give help and support. But what I think no woman should ever do is put herself in a situation where the only compromises happen on the family side. Ultimately you will resent your job and your career, and the Mommy guilt will overcome you. You will have to make compromises, but just make sure that both sides of the coin compromise. On day I hope to figure out how to make myself more of a priority – but for the time being, I love my job, I love my family, and I can live with a little less “me” time.

Sabrina Parsons, Guest Blogger
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Discussion (7) Comment

  1. karimVisitor

    Very thoughtfull post on life purpose.It should be very much helpfull

    Karim – Creating Power

  2. [...] Work/Life: A Balancing Act ( [...]

  3. Thanks so much for commenting on Sabrina’s post.

    Diane, Marti and Jacque thank you all for sharing your experiences and insights to add to the conversation.

  4. Hi, nice post. I have been thinking about this issue,so thanks for sharing. I will definitely be subscribing to your blog.

  5. I think one of the most important things is to aim for “overall” balance as best you can. but on any given day something will be out of whack. Some days your family gets shorted, some days its your job.

    One of the best visual lessons I ever saw to show how important it is to take care of yourself was this:
    the presenter had a glass pitcher full of punch (she wanted the color so that it was easy to see) then she took out a bunch of cups and began to write all of the roles women fill on the cups- mother, daughter, wife, friend, worker etc.
    She began to pour from the pitcher into the cups, quickly running out of liquid.
    The point- if you don’t take time to refill the pitcher, you have nothing left to share.

    That has stayed with me for years. And sometimes i even remember to apply it….

  6. MartiVisitor

    The irony of life-work balance–and I intentionally place life before work in this equation–for women, is we think we can skimp on our self-care and still produce our best for our families and our companies. We are too smart to take off on a road trip with an empty gas tank and yet we think that by skipping meals and giving up exercise, we can make it all work. To truly serve our career, family, community and life purpose and to be at our best, we must nurture, support and care for ourselves first. It is the highest level of service we can give to those who rely on us. So, put that exercise and meal on your calendar and consider it sacred time that cannot be violated. What you’ll see if you do this regularly, is that both the quality and quantity of time and energy for the other parts of life-work actually increases. Fill that fuel tank so you don’t have to call for road service when you break down along the journey. It’s more effective and more efficient.

  7. DianeVisitor

    I love your story, and very relative to many young families. My story is different.

    I raised 4 wonderful children, all adults now, and did not begin my career until I was in my early 40′s since I had the luxury of staying home to raise my kids. We all compromise ourselves. Your relation to grocery shopping being an escape is truly understandable. . LoL I never thought of it that way.
    I work for myself in a commission job and have 2 businesses of my own; both are fun and exciting working in real estate allowing me to help people and having the time I need for family.

    It is all how you look at it. Enjoying your work is the most success you can have, even if you don’t get paid what you’re worth right away. Your attitude attracts success. It takes a lot of work to get to where you want to be, and it’s worth it. You will have some special time to yourself after your kids are grown a bit more, but for now enjoy them, and don’t have the Mommy guilt – this is LIFE.


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