I really like these two. They are a very sweet couple, and it had been so long since I had seen the show that I had forgotten why I liked them. I was a huge fan of the Apprentice (which Bill was on, and won), and which initially peaked my interest, but was later touched by their story of infertility, a subject I am very familiar with.
What struck me funny last night was that Giuliana, a very busy career woman, who was waiting for the arrival of their first child, was still running around a billion hours a week, totally fulfilled and engulfed by her work. Finally their focus shifted and they began to talk about what life will look like when their child arrives.
As I watched her share the news to her girlfriends and make a joke that she promised not to be “THAT girl” who constantly showed pictures of her kid, or “THAT girl” who threw away her career to go ga-ga over her baby, or “THAT girl” who couldn’t balance all that she loved about her career with her new baby….. I couldn’t help but think, “ohhhhhh…she doesn’t get it…….yet”.
She told her girlfriends that life will be exactly the same as it is, but with a baby in tow. She had planned on continuing on with the same fever pace and with determination that her work life will not be compromised by her new mom life.
And for some. Maybe that IS possible.
But what exactly IS a proper work/life balance anyway?
Does it mean that you CAN do anything and everything you set your mind to? That your children’s needs and attention will be totally fulfilled and your career will flourish at the same time? That you are able to meet every single deadline and wow every single client, every single time? STRESS FREE? That your husband will be totally satisfied and loved with every need met, every laundry basket empty, every belly full and every vacation paid for, in cash?
If that is the definition of a successful work/life balance I think we would all fail, miserably. Thank goodness, for me, it is not.
You may not know that before you have a family, but once you do the choice is clearer than the Caribbean waters. It’s actually no longer a choice, but an instinct – one that is futile to fight.
This is not a comparison of women who have children vs. those who don’t. This is to address the constant struggle that so many of us face when trying to run a successful business while also being a mother to young children.
See – I was Giuliana. I was the career minded married woman who desperately wanted children, but couldn’t have them. I poured into my work, devoted myself to my husband and tried to fill a void in my heart that I wasn’t sure would ever go away. Holding onto the promise that God gives us the desires of our hearts, I prayed that God’s will would be that we would also be blessed with a family of our own someday. I LOVED to work – still do. And it fulfilled me when I needed it to. I was not a workaholic, but I enjoyed the feeling of contributing to society with the talents that God has given me.
Fast forward several years and I type this as I look over at my two little blessings sitting on the couch across from me. I will ALWAYS choose them. ALWAYS. On days that’s it’s hard and I want to jump out of my window for 5 minutes of peace and quiet, and on days where it’s so precious and sweet like when they crawl into my bed during a thunderstorm. I will ALWAYS choose them. God has entrusted these children to be raised by me because He knows there is something that He has enabled me to give them. I take that responsibility very seriously and it’s the most precious career I’ve ever been given. Being a mother has changed me in ways I would never have foreseen, and I am so grateful.
Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the gazillion day-to-day tasks that require your attention. Managing your time effectively should qualify you for an honorary PhD or the CEO title of a fortune 500 company.
But in those times that you feel like you are drowning in work, you probably are. If you feel like you are spending too much time working and not enough time with your family, you probably are.
Guilianna’s goals are not uncommon for every working woman on the planet. It IS possible to have a successful career and happy children with happy parents, but many people put so much weight on the career part and end up feeling guilty about not being as dedicated to their children.
The good news is: It’s never too late to reprioritize. Every single day is a new opportunity.
Don’t fight the instinct that you miss your children. Be with them. Be present. Put down the phone. Go draw a picture with them. Go for a bike ride. Play dress up. Even if it’s for 20 minutes it will mean the world to them. And to you.
Work will always be there. Your children will be adults faster than the microwave popcorn dings.
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