(image by Aaron Molina, edited by me)
This week’s Feminist Fridays post is another installment of the How Do You Deal series. Because there are certain issues in life and in feminism that are tough to talk about on our own, the HDYD series allows many voices the opportunity to share in these discussions, making it easier for us to talk about our beliefs, opinions, and feelings. Each month I ask contributors how they deal with an issue and we each share our thoughts on the matter. This month we are talking about work/family balance. Here are my feelings on this topic:
While I am not yet married and I don’t have children, I think of my partner as my family, especially while I live with him. Running my blog, my own business, my business’s blog, and working a near full-time job means that, if I want any time with family, I need to make it happen. Ideally, in order to make sure I have time to enjoy my family time, I try to work during the hours I am most productive (in the mornings and during my break) which helps to free up my evenings. I also keep a close eye on my priorities, making sure to keep family time high on the list.
Now let’s hear what my contributors had to say about work/family balance and feel free to share your thoughts on the matter in the comments.
I’m currently single and in medical school, and while I’d like to eventually find someone amazing to share my life with, I’ve never had the desire to have or raise children (which has sparked a lot of unsolicited opinions and unnecessary rudeness). I don’t believe that there’s any one “perfect” way to live–what works for one person may not work for another. Personally, I’d much rather spend my life taking care of my future patients, hanging out with my hypothetical significant other/spouse, pursuing my/our interests + adopting a whole mess of pets. I think what’s most important is to look at your own values, priorities, goals, and dreams, and to focus the things you do on what gives your life the most meaning.
Family/work balance was easy for me because I work with my husband! However, we now have a four month old and it’s important for me to keep things in perspective. I do work full time for myself and I love every minute. I want to keep raising my daughter in this environment for as long as possible. It just takes a lot of patience and organization!
I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs, so it’s only natural that I would decide I’d like to be the maker of my destiny as well. I’ve often thought to myself, should I get married and have children, it would be ideal to be able to have a job that allows me to stay at home, so I can still look after/care for my children. I realize it would be hard either way, but I’m currently working towards being self-employed, regardless.
Currently, I’m a stay-at-home girlfriend working on getting into freelance work. We usually try to take care of house stuff together, but naturally I do a bit more during the week, especially if my boyfriend’s working late, and he picks up the slack on weekends. If we ever do have children, I definitely won’t expect to have to handle the work/family balance alone – which is basically the way that culture tells me it should be handled. Ideally, we’d have one parent working outside the home and one in a stay-at-home capacity – and we wouldn’t neglect taking time for ourselves occasionally. But we’ll see how reality goes.
Work/family balance is definitely interesting for me because I work freelance out of a home office. My biggest struggle right now is my transition away from freelance virtual assistant work to primarily freelance writing/copywriting. This requires a fair amount of “screen time” outside of my normal 9-4, which can cut into time spent with my husband. But I do make sure I prioritize him every week, if not every day, by planning out the time we spend together. For example, every night we eat dinner together and then watch Star Trek, and we spend our weekends doing activities as a couple.
Being in my first year of university, and being single, this is not something I’ll have to deal with for quite a while, but of course I have given the future thought. Finding a job that I love and having sort of career is important to me, but so is having a family. I know there might be difficulties in juggling these two, but I’m certain it’s possible to make it work. For me it would be important that my future partner and I share the responsibilities equally, as two individuals, respecting each other’s dreams and supporting one another.
Up until recently, I was balancing work, graduate school and home life. (I just finished school, so I now have one less major thing on my plate!) It was a tough balance, for sure—I’m a homebody who craves quality alone time with my boyfriend, who I live with, but many nights would be spent on the computer instead. Even when I was at my busiest, though, it was important to set aside time on the weekends to exercise, watch a movie or cook together. Quality screen-free time kept us happy (and me sane)!
There is so much more I want to accomplish for myself, but I think the moment I feel prepared to be completely selfless is the moment I will raise a child. A parent is not only a caregiver, they are also the living example of how their child will grow and who they will look up to when their confidence falters. My child and my partner will be my equals, and I would encourage them to work just as hard toward their goals and hold immense pride in their accomplishments. It is my goal that the two sectors, work and family, will be an aggregation and create one beautiful dynamic. Your career is not more or less important than your family and I truly believe that both can compliment one another.
So now you tell us: How do you deal with work/family balance? Do you relate to anyone above?
Plus, see more Feminist Fridays on the blog.