Drum roll please – another crack in the glass ceiling for women in business is made as Yahoo names Marissa Mayer their new CEO. For a few minutes Ms. Mayer’s appointment and impressive bio was the talk of the town. This announcement was quite inspiring given the very pessimistic article recently written in the July/August issue of The Atlantic magazine – which all but denounced a woman’s ability to “have it all”. But wait, the conversation took a sudden shift and was practically eclipsed with the announcement that Ms. Mayer is 6 months pregnant with her first child – and the debate rages on for women regarding work-life balance.
Yes, men and women are different in many ways; however, could you ever imagine a headline which reads: “Most Powerful Male CEO’s Wife is Pregnant with First Child!” As a matter of fact, does the discussion ever take place when a male CEO is announced as to whether or not he has children? My point is – the personal lives of powerful men rarely enter into the discussion. Yet, as I state in my book: “Not Tonight Dear, I’ve Got a Business to Run!” women cannot keep their professional and personal lives separate. They are intricately intertwined and contrary to conventional wisdom – this is a good thing. The fact that women have a “life” outside the office is not something that should be shrouded in secrecy. Remember the “good” old days? (lol) When a woman would not tell anyone at work she was pregnant until she had to – translation – until she was “showing”. Yahoo appointing a pregnant CEO shows that we have, indeed come a long way baby. However, I am disheartened by the way in which the media has taken this discussion of work-life balance and questioned Ms. Mayer when she discussed her maternity leave plans! And the criticism just keeps coming.
Besides being a wonderful role model for our children, both our sons and daughters, being a “working outside the home” mother also brings unquantifiable benefits to any business or corporation. Why? Being a mother develops so many relationship skills that cannot be nurtured in any other role we might undertake. Mothering requires the development of patience, a rapidly fading quality in our fast paced world, the ability to multi-task, the ability to listen to not only what is being said but also to what is not being said and finally, mothering is at its best when we teach and then lead by example. All these personal characteristics are the same ones that make a great employee and leader! Therefore, becoming a mom enhances a woman’s worth in the work force, it doesn’t diminish it. How a woman reconciles what appears to be the opposing responsibilities of work and family life does not just happen. It requires work, but that does not mean it is impossible. It is hard, yes, but that does not mean it is impossible. As I describe in detail in my book: “Not Tonight Dear, I’ve Got a Business to Run!” creating success in your business and personal life is predicated upon creating a well thought out family plan – one made by taking into consideration your career goals and plans. This family plan is one that must be re-visited throughout the year to make sure it is consistent with your personal and professional goals – as they evolve throughout the course of your life.
The bottom line is women can’t have it all, but with some hard work they can “create” it all. This is a huge difference! What defines work-life balance for one woman is probably not the same operational definition for another woman. Work-life balance is not attainable the way the present conversation unfolds – but once we redefine the conversation and address the reconciling of work and family responsibilities – predicated upon your unique family and career goals – all women can, indeed create it all.
For a proven system for creating a life you love – see my best selling book: “Not Tonight Dear, I’ve Got a Business to Run!” because it provides real answers to the evergreen question and debate regarding the ability for women to create a successful business/career without sacrificing happiness in their marriage and family life.
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