Work-Life Balance–Why No One Can Have It All

A friend of mine posted a link on Facebook to a recent article in The Atlantic Magazine entitled: “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” Although her link didn’t spark the debate that I thought it might have, I think it’s still a topic worthy of consideration: is work-life balance really possible for parents (not just talking about moms)? The article is well-written and outlines several “old-style” rules that the author believes must change in society before we can make any progress on this subject. It’s well worth reading it if you find yourself struggling with the pull of wanting a career while also wanting to be an engaged parent.

Here is my response to the article: I would say that nobody can have it all–men included. Lots of men have high-powered careers and do not have the luxury of flex time or spending as much time as they would like with their children. They miss out, too. I think it all comes down to making the choices that are right for you and your family–which includes choosing the work that will support the lifestyle you want (economically and logistically). The next generation of workers of both genders will redefine work culture so that there truly are opportunities to balance both work and family–companies will need to adapt or have issues attracting talent. At the end of the day, in my opinion, no job is worth missing out on your children. Other people may disagree. If you want to have the ultimate career, you are going to make sacrifices. If you want to spend time and build a good relationship with your kids you will make sacrifices, too.

Do you agree with the author of the article? What is your opinion?

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2 thoughts on “Work-Life Balance–Why No One Can Have It All

  1. Wow, this was a long but very good article! I agree that we need to think of balancing work and home life as a human issue, not a woman/mommy issue. I really love this example from the article:

    “Consider the following proposition: An employer has two equally talented and productive employees. One trains for and runs marathons when he is not working. The other takes care of two children. What assumptions is the employer likely to make about the marathon runner? That he gets up in the dark every day and logs an hour or two running before even coming into the office, or drives himself to get out there even after a long day. That he is ferociously disciplined and willing to push himself through distraction, exhaustion, and days when nothing seems to go right in the service of a goal far in the distance. That he must manage his time exceptionally well to squeeze all of that in.
    Be honest: Do you think the employer makes those same assumptions about the parent? Even though she likely rises in the dark hours before she needs to be at work, organizes her children’s day, makes breakfast, packs lunch, gets them off to school, figures out shopping and other errands even if she is lucky enough to have a housekeeper—and does much the same work at the end of the day.”

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