Recently a woman executive client was discussing how busy she is between work and family responsibilities. Children need many more rides and have many more activities than she did growing up. Plus her job has developed expanded and global responsibilities. She really needs two of herself. This has become particularly true as both she and her husband climb corporate ladders.
This is a common complaint for working women. When a woman is a single mother or has a husband who travels a great deal, the pressure to do more in each area of her life becomes overwhelming and highly guilt producing. As the primary family caregiver and task accomplisher, she thinks she needs to find a way to do it all.
In fact, overwhelm is a frequently heard word. As work grows in responsibility or travel and more time consuming then home becomes more and more stressful. When I suggest getting help at home or hiring some of the responsibilities done and we talk about finding support, women either say they never thought of it or that they may already have one helper, a nanny or a weekly housekeeper. They often think that hiring help is more money than they should spend on themselves. Yes, women think that spending money hiring help is a sign of their incompetence. The cultural message is that women should be able to handle everything and find perfect balance between work and home.
A woman leader will think of hiring staff to do many support activities of a job. If one looks at the business of running a home and family, there all sorts of tasks from driving children to events or dentist and doctor appointments to paying the family bills or supervising repairmen and service providers, purchasing food and even vacuuming. I’m sure women readers could list many other tasks that are simply the business of family living. Yet, women fail to see those as part of the business of a family needing managing and leadership.
If you find yourself climbing the organization ladder into higher levels of leadership and therefore being required to give more time and energy to the job, here are some hiring tips aside from nannies and housekeepers.
- If you need more stamina and energy but resist going to the gym, hire a personal trainer.
- If you need help chauffeuring children, paying bills or taking care of repairmen, hire a personal assistant.
- If you need help with work issues or developing as a leader, hire an executive coach.
- If your wardrobe is not creating the image you want or you don’t have time to shop, hire a stylist or personal shopper.
- For other household tasks, for example, dry cleaners and laundry, find a home delivery dry cleaners and other come to your home services.
Women – hire what you need! Lighten your load and find the time for family and relationships and stop worrying about finding the ever illusive balance or perfection.