What does it mean to achieve work-life balance? On a recent episode of What I Wish My Mother Taught Me, my guest and I discussed what every young woman should know about the many hats women wear. My guest, Dana, and I, an Optometric Physician specializing in pediatrics and myopia management, dove into the difficulty of being a professional woman and navigating a career and family life.
Dana and her husband, Luke, operate the blog LukeKnows, where they share helpful tips with parents to navigate the parenting journey effectively. The blog provides recipes, baby care advice, and eye care advice for parents.
Dana and I shared a mutual admiration for each other and every woman. Women wear many hats, from work to family and social obligations, impacting a well-balanced life.
Dana, a mother of two young boys, talked about the effects of not truly understanding the many hats women have to wear. When asked what she has had to learn on her own, she responded that she wished she had been better prepared for the many hats she would have to wear as a professional woman navigating life and work.
Women are mothers, wives, grandmothers, daughters, girlfriends, sisters, counselors, career women, students, coaches, homemakers, teachers, cooks, mentors, nurses, chauffeurs, prayer warriors, miracle workers, and the list goes on and on. How do we navigate the new parenting lifestyle without a handbook? How do we balance our lives to ensure that the home is at peace and we are at peace? And how do we prepare the next generation of women leaders to recognize and understand the balancing act?
Mentoring the Next Generation
As a leader and a mother to two active kids, I come home tired but quickly change into my wife hat, then mommy hat, then to chef hat and chauffeur hat. This juggling act dramatically influences how I show up in the world.
People may not understand why I am the type of leader or mother that I am, but I cannot be great at one without the other; the key to success in both of these areas and every area of my life is to achieve work-life balance.
Exploring work-life balance constructs, role integration, social support sources, and work-family conflict is necessary to achieve a balanced life.
Conversations with a Young Girl
Dana, on the podcast, said, “we need to engage young women in conversations about the many hats they will wear.” Communication is key to success, women should develop relationships with younger women that encourage open communication about struggles and successes. Providing support to young women and engaging them in conversations about work-life balance is essential in preparation for the future.
Conversations about Work-Life Balance
Choosing to embark on a “mentorship” for young women may be challenging. Begin the mentorship process by Identifying potential work-life balance conflicts and their consequences. Define your intention, what would be purposeful in your conversations, and what tasks will have the most significant impact. Identify ways to build social support for the young woman. Please help her develop methods for making authentic and practical choices. Encourage her to create a self-care routine that supports her well-being. Explore how digital technology blurs the line between work and home.
Balancing all of the hats on our heads may cause women to be filled with guilt. Give yourself grace and find other women to mentor and support. Share your experiences and lessons learned to help encourage and motivate the next generation of women leaders.