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Balancing Family and Career

I continue to have many discussions with women who are either current members of GroYourBiz or Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) who want to be members, but so often the discussion is around time issues and feeling conflicted over balancing family responsibilities with business ones.  How many of us have struggled with this one? How do I fit it all is the question we ask ourselves?  Everything is important to us and raising a family while building a business is even more challenging for those single parents that are trying to do it all and make everyone happy, including ourselves.Do I have the answer?  Does anyone?  I don’t think so, but let me share a rather personal reflection, that happened for me a couple of weeks ago when I received the 2010 Governor General’s Award for the Persons Case.  What did that mean to me personally?

On this day I was given a book on “The Persons Case: The Origins and Legacy of the fight for Legal Personhood”.  While the book is a great read and truly educated me on what the 2010 Governor General Award for the Persons Case truly signified, what was more important to me were the comments that were written in the book by all my family and friends.

As a mother who worked throughout my life, always trying to balance the raising of children and career, and constantly feeling guilty about not being present for all those moments in time when you wished you could be.  I know that working parents still struggle with this.  I see it with my own daughters and son-in-laws where all of them are running their own businesses and two of them are juggling family and work life. They have followed in the entrepreneurial footsteps which shows me that I have been a valued role model to them, as well to my four grandchildren.

And so you think—was it worth it?  Do I have regrets? Did I have a choice?  I’m not sure I have those answers yet, but what I can say is that when I read those comments written in the book the most powerful ones that stood out for me was from my children.  I had tears in my eyes as I read their comments. And here they are, without any words changed:

“Mom, all that hard work and persistence came out in this award. I am very proud of you.”

“Mom, what can I say? We are so proud of you! You are a true trail blazer for all girls & boys. We love you dearly.”

“Mom, words can’t express how proud I am of you!  This award represents a lifetime of hard work and determination. I am proud that my daughter and son have such a role model as a grandmother! I love you.”

“Barb, as far as inspiring ladies go, you take the cake for me. Thank-you for all the advice and direction that you have given me.”

Was it worth trying to do it all?  I’m sure like many of us driven women, we will never really know the answer but for right now, I’m relishing in thoughts that perhaps I did do something right.

How do you balance family and business?  How do you overcome those moments of guilt when you can’t be at all the events and activities that your children are involved with or have to miss a family function because you’re closing a major deal?  How do you make those hard decisions on choosing whether to grow your business even more or spend more time with the family when this is a crucial time in your business?

I would love to hear your ideas and thoughts on this topic that never goes away.

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