Working Mums - A Family Issue
For an example of people who have highly challenging work/life balance pressures, and who also, in many cases, have developed successful coping strategies you need look no further than the average working mum.
Amongst parents where both partners work it is still, in the majority of cases, the woman who carries most of the family load. Juggling the demands of career and family is par for the course for many women today.
When I asked people in a recent workshop to list their priorities in terms of importance in their life, most people highlighted family first and work second. When I asked them to list these same priorities in order of where they put in most effort and time, most listed work first and family second. Only the working mothers still listed family first and work second.
For these women, like many others, they had a 24 hour job and sense of responsibility – their family, and they also managed an average 10 hours a day in a career oriented job. Albeit with the help of friends, relatives, child minders, toddler groups, nurseries and so on, these women successfully manage a career and a family.
Now it’s often said that woman are naturally better at multi-tasking. Maybe this isn’t an innate skill or facet of the female brain as some have supposed – maybe they’ve simply been forced through circumstance to be good at it. Handling early morning work related calls on their mobile, whilst preparing breakfasts, loading the washing machine and ferrying the children to school or pre-school is a daily necessity.
It’s also sometimes said that woman are better organisers. Once again maybe circumstance has led them to this. Scheduling babysitters, juggling time to fit in doctor visits, re-organising their day at the drop of a hat when a child becomes ill – it’s all part of a regular routine.
To manage the balance between their work and family life, many working mothers have become experts at communication, assertiveness and diplomacy, deftly managing their time and avoiding conflicts.
So if you're a family man and think you’ve got work-life balance problems, think about your partners and what they have to cope with!
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