I once worked for an extremely successful female executive who also managed to balance a wonderful family life with two kids, great marriage – you know the drill. Whenever she got the question: “How do you do it – how do you balance it all?” her answer was always the same: The secret to my success is a supportive partner.
She would go on to say that if she didn’t have her husband’s constant support – picking up the slack at home when she had late meetings, helping her maintain sanity when work seemed to be spiraling, following her to “club” vacations, and pretty much being that equal partner- there would be no way she’d make it this far.
Back in those naïve days I would think – awww, how sweet- she really loves her husband. But now that I’m a working mom of 3 I totally get it. Having the equal partner at home makes all the difference. In our household, everything is based on a 50/50 partnership (even though I claim to be CEO of our family) – the childcare, chores, even cooking dinners. Since we both have demanding careers, it just seems more “fair” this way. I’m not saying this approach works, or is even possible, for everyone – but for it does for us.
I was really thrilled when I heard Sheryl Sandberg address this on the TED video that has been floating around the internet on “Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders.” According to Sheryl: “Make your partner a real partner. I’m convinced that we’ve made more progress in the workforce than we have in the home. If a woman and a man both work full-time, and have a child, the women does twice the amount of house-work and three times the amount of child-care than the man.”
We put enough pressure on ourselves to “do it all.” We want to be the office rock star, the supermom, and June Cleaver all at the same time. Let’s face it – we need support to succeed at these things…whether it be from a husband, wife, family, or friends.
Take a moment to think about who your partner is in balancing this thing called life. If you don’t have the equal partner you need now, try to identify the person or persons who can play this role – you deserve it. For those of us lucky enough to have an equal partner, say thank you and celebrate it – just like my former manager did whenever she had the chance.
Photo credit: istockphoto.com