Many people believe that they can’t be happy and successful in all areas of their life. In short - that they can’t have it all. But we beg to differ.
Sure, it’s true that in our contemporary, fast-paced world it might be hard to combine a career and a family. But sacrifice of one or the other is not the only option.
Indeed, there are thousands of families who have proven that a happy balance can be struck – but it starts with figuring out what ‘having is all’ really looks like for you, and being brave enough to make those key life decisions that will shape your future.
Defining what you want
Some of us make the mistake of emulating other people’s examples of desired lifestyles, or visions of success - when what we fail to realise, is that having it all means different things to different people. One person might be eager to travel the world and have a celebrated career; whereas another might dream of having a partner and family waiting for them at home, to return to each evening.
So before you launch feet-first into what you believe your goals should be, do invest some time into establishing what they truly are – without feeling as if you should conform to the expectations of your family, friends or peers.
Do you have to choose between?
It’s easy to see why the priorities appear to be incompatible: if you don’t spend enough time on your job, your career may not move forwards, and your family might be affected financially. On the other hand, it is vital to be present, and nurture your relationship. If you don’t dedicate enough time to your partner, then this can place a strain on your whole family unit.
As women have defined their position in the workforce, and even continue to outnumber men in education, the Career vs. Family question now faces every gender, at all stages of life. Traditionally, a father's place in the family was understated in terms of time spent with the children. Now that successful families come in a variety of forms, perceptions and expectations have changed - and the truth is that you don’t have to look at any existing situation as binary. You can still have a successful career and raise a happy family - but choose to do so on your own terms.
Raising a family in any situation is not easy, and the delicate balance between work and home can be tricky - especially with so many of us working form home, where the lines can become more blurred. But sadly, as our biological clocks continue to tick, many people wait until the time is right – and hesitate for so long that it eventually becomes too late. This then becomes the ultimate, irreversible sacrifice.
Fulfilment through family
Upon reflection, it's often the case for many individuals that balanced home-work life may have been within reach all along; there is even evidence to prove that having a family enhances performance in the workplace. Recent data from YouGov shows that a higher number of men think having children gave their career a real sense of purpose, with over a third of fathers saying their families have had a positive impact. And children have been proven to deepen the bond between their parents, as they learn, grow and nurture together.
Family and work can co-exist as two important parts of your life - they don’t have to be mutually exclusive or exist only within their own separate bubbles. Not only can you take lessons from work back home to your family, but it's a known fact that playing an active role in raising a family will teach you more than you can learn in any boardroom.