by Gay Gaddis | Published by Thrive Global

working parent

[ARTICLE] Cowgirls grow up with a realistic view of life. They see beloved old dogs die. They see the miracle of baby goats. They experience both wonder and tragedy and meet both head on. Cowgirls understand that there are some things they can control and other things they cannot. They put all their energy on the things they can control.

You can control your work-life balance.

I have always been a driven person and I instinctively forge ahead on multiple fronts. I am often unsure of exactly where I am going, but I feel I am following a path, moving in a good direction, and am excited about what might reveal itself around the next curve. Embrace the world. You can have a new style of living and working that is fluid. You can work anywhere. Shop online. Work at home. Stay connected to work, kids, husband and family. Focus on what matters right now. Is it finishing your white paper? Or looking over your son’s book report?

The work-life question implies that one is bad and one is good. That is not true. If you think of it that way, you are going to mess it up. It is all the same thing. It is all important. That is, if you love what you do. If you don’t love what you do, you will never find any balance. Walk away. Your glass will always be half-empty. But, as a Facebook friend once posted, “If you think your glass is half-empty, quit bitching and pour it in a smaller glass.”

When I told my co-workers in 1983 that I was pregnant with my daughter, Rebecca, they were happy for me, but the inevitable question quickly came up: Would I come back to work after she was born? Looking back at this point in my life, I never let myself think about not coming back to work. I knew that I had to have my own independent source of income to help support my mother financially. I put my head down and decided to build the very best team, who could cover for me during my maternity leave. As the months progressed, my client portfolio grew substantially. I had one of the biggest, most profitable group of accounts at the company.

I scheduled a meeting with our president and presented him with my baby plan. I showed him how my accounts had grown over the past year. I explained what I had done to build up my team both at the office and at home. I told him that I planned to take two months off and then come back to work, but just working a half day for nine months. Before he could react, I said, “But even if I am in the delivery room having the baby, I will take care of things and we won’t miss a beat.” It was a powerful performance! He said OK. He knew I had him over a barrel.

Don’t separate work from family. Find ways to bring work into your family life and your family into your work. Celebrate work successes with your kids, even if they do not fully understand. If you had a hard day at work, tell your kids when you get home. They will find a way to cheer you up. Separating work from family is not good for anyone because it creates unnatural vacuums of information in both directions. Bring them to work and let them run around and scream every now and then.

Do not allow work and family to be two different things. Both are important and valuable, giving greater meaning and purpose to your life and integral to your wholeness as a person.