Home  › Marketing › Strategies
career-and-family

Being Present at Home and at Work

  |  May 2, 2013   |  Comments

The only thing that matters is what works for your family at the time you're making the decision.

There's been a flurry of news headlines in the past few months that have created quite the stir in women's circles, particularly working mother ones. Marissa Mayer's work-from-home ban seemed like a big setback for working mothers, and mentions of her nursery at work and two-week maternity leave didn't score her many points in the relatable scale. And then, Sheryl Sandberg's book, "Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead," encouraged women to pursue their career ambitions and "lean in" instead of stepping out or scaling back because of family plans.

As a working mother, I think we're all way too hard on each other. There's really no right answer to the career/family debate. The only thing that matters is what works for your family at the time you're making the decision. For my family, we're able to juggle the demands of work and children on a day-to-day basis, but add any excessive travel to that mix and we're forced into a tailspin. For that reason, we've looked for work that has had limited travel expectations. In five to 10 years, this may not be the case; at that point, the day-to-day will probably be the insanity, and we'll be begging our employers to send us on business travel to get away from it all.

I know that being a parent has changed my relationship with time. I definitely think of how I spend my time in relationship to the pros and cons of what I'm giving up or gaining. For example, I prioritize my weekends around spending quality - fun - time with my kids. That means spending the least amount of time shopping - particularly grocery shopping. As a result, I do almost all my shopping online: Amazon Prime, FreshDirect, Zappos, Soap.com, to name a few. I've been known to place an order for Windex to arrive the next day. I'm sure I'd save some money if I scoured the aisles for sales, but I'd also probably spend more in last-minute purchases that were not on my list, particularly if my children had something to say about it.

When budgets allow for it, I'll also hire the occasional house cleaner and send my laundry in. The point is that I'm not pretending that I can do it all alone or the way my mother did it or my stay-at-home friends. I'm doing it the way it works best for my family. The time I give my children, I want it to be the best of me, and the time I give my work, I want it to be the best of me. It's not necessarily about "balance" (I'm not fond of that word), but more about being present and engaged in the moment. I don't believe our kids will keep inventory of the time we're not with them, but they will remember the time we were.

There are times I do lose it, particularly in the mornings when I'm trying to get everyone ready and out of the house. One of the best lessons I learned from my parents was about forgiveness. In our small house, there weren't many areas for them to hide if they were having a quarrel. They didn't argue much, but when they did, we were all well aware of it. However, they also apologized to each other in front of us and by doing so we learned that it's OK to disagree, but it's more important to resolve it and move on. In the same respect, I'm not advocating that we hide life's stresses from our children, but that when we behave less than favorably, we also resolve it in a way that models behavior we would like them to exhibit.

I'm sure the headlines will keep coming out detailing the path to the perfect life. And with each headline a slew of discussions around what we can be doing better. But, remember, you're the only one living your life, and since there's really no such thing as the perfect life…child…mother, I would refrain from the judgments - particularly the ones aimed at yourself.

Career and Family image on home page via Shutterstock.

Tags:

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, Oct 3 to take advantage of Early Bird Rates!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anna Papadopoulos

Based in New York, Anna Papadopoulos has held several digital media positions and has worked across many sectors including automotive, financial, pharmaceutical, and CPG.

An advocate for creative media thinking and an early digital pioneer, Anna has been a part of several industry firsts, including the first fully integrated campaign and podcast for Volvo and has been a ClickZ contributor since 2005. She began her career as a media negotiator for TBS Media Management, where she bought for media clients such as CVS and RadioShack. Anna earned her bachelor's degree in journalism from St. John's University in New York.

Follow her on Twitter @annapapadopoulo and on LinkedIn.

Anna's ideas and columns represent only her own opinion and not her company's.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Marketing newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

IBM: Social Analytics - The Science Behind Social Media Marketing

IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.

An Introduction to Marketing Attribution: Selecting the Right Model for Search, Display & Social Advertising

An Introduction to Marketing Attribution: Selecting the Right Model for Search, Display & Social Advertising
If you're considering implementing a marketing attribution model to measure and optimize your programs, this paper is a great introduction. It also includes real-life tips from marketers who have successfully implemented attribution in their organizations.

Jobs

    • Recent Grads: Customer Service Representative
      Recent Grads: Customer Service Representative (Agora Financial) - BaltimoreAgora Financial, one of the nation's largest independent publishers...
    • Managing Editor
      Managing Editor (Common Sense Publishing) - BaltimoreWE’RE HIRING: WE NEED AN AMAZING EDITOR TO POLISH WORLD-CLASS CONTENT   The Palm...
    • Senior Paid Search & Advertising Manager
      Senior Paid Search & Advertising Manager (Smarty Had A Party) - St. LouisCompany Description: A warm, loving, [slightly wacky] startup, we view...