Oct. 10, 2011 — Achieving "the best of both worlds" is a recurring theme in pop culture throughout songs, television, books, etc. From Voltaire to Miley Cyrus (aka Hannah Montana) and even Van Halen, the idea of being able to gain benefits from totally separate situations that typically result in sacrificing one over the other, has been the stuff that dreams are made of. So in honor and recognition of National Work & Family Month, I thought I’d share with you a little about my world.
For all intents and purposes, I’m a stay at home single mom, but not exactly in the traditional sense. You see, even though my days start bright and early by waking my two children, making lunches, walking the dog, feeding them a healthy breakfast and getting them off to school, as soon as they are out the door, I immediately shift gears to my other responsibility — my career. For the past 7 years I’ve worked for employers who recognize the value in allowing workplace flexibilities such as telework and alternative work schedules. Although it comes with some degree of sacrifice (forgoing certain career opportunities, lack of frequent face time and valuable chats by the water cooler), I’m home in the mornings to see my children off and there to greet them when they return — all while maintaining a successful, rewarding, and enjoyable career.
I measure my own success by finding the right balance between the changing and competing needs of my life. With that stated, my situation is the result of carefully calculated choices that I've made over the years. I resigned my commission when I was an Army Captain and chose to become a civil servant, accepting the least paying position out of all my offers. However, that decision allowed me to choose the type of work I wanted to do and offered the most flexibility.
So here's to the employers who offer a workplace culture that supports and appreciates the value of employees who work hard to balance their commitments to the two most important aspects of life: work and family. For me, I celebrate National Work and Family Month each and every day that I’m able to pick my kids up from school when they're sick or be there to watch them participate in their extracurricular activities, all while making it sanely through a day of work full of high priority, fast paced demands and short deadlines.
Who says you can’t have the best of both worlds?