Work-Life Integration: Part 1
I believe that women can have both satisfying careers and rich family lives, if that's what they choose. I also believe women can have rich family lives and nourish their individuality regardless of whether they're pursuing paid work or not. I hope this new series will help you take greater control of your work-life integration so you can meet all the demands of a full life.
Today we’re looking at ideas about work-life integration to lay a foundation for the practical strategies I’ll share in upcoming posts.
What is Work-Life Integration?
There are several ways you can think about how you combine work and life.
Most common is the idea of work-life balance, where work and life are treated as two separate spheres that can interfere with one another. Picture a scale that tips out of balance when your work or life demands too much from you. For many moms, striking the right work-life balance can seem like an unattainable ideal. It's something you feel like you're always striving for but never really reaching.
Luckily there is another approach. Growing in popularity is the idea of work-life integration. Rather than focusing on the unattainable perfect work-life balance, work-life integration focuses on how you organize areas of your life such as work, home, leisure, community, and personal well-being. This approach calls for a strong awareness of your priorities and being flexible about when and how you accomplish your goals.
Why focus on Work-Life Integration for Moms?
If you’re reading this I probably don’t need to convince you that moms have a lot on their plates. But here are a few facts to paint a picture of the Canadian landscape of working motherhood.
Today's working mom is both well-educated and active in her home, workplace, and community. Women currently make up the majority of graduates from Canadian universities and colleges as well as half of the workforce, and as of 2011 there were nearly 10 million mothers in the Canadian population. Statistics also show Canadian women are spending more time on childcare responsibilities, household chores, and volunteer activities compared to men.
What’s the bottom line? Mothers have a lot on the go and that comes with it's own set of challenges. But in challenge lies opportunity. Mothers can master the art of work-life integration and families and workplaces can shift toward a new direction that sets mothers up for success. There's evidence that these shifts are taking place, such as more companies offering progressive work-life policies as well as the rise in men who are taking on parenting and household responsibilities.
Take a Moment to Reflect on Your Situation
What’s influencing your work-life integration? Are you managing your everyday shifts or are other factors causing havoc in your life? What is your main work-life integration concern right now?
Although life as a working mom can demand a lot from you, with clarity of purpose and some strategies to back you up you'll find your strengths to rise to the challenge. When you gain skills to manage your work-life integration, you gain the ability to navigate the areas of life important to you and lay claim to what you need in order to succeed.
Coming up next Tuesday I’ll share Part Two of the Work-Life Integration Series when we’ll take a look at what workplaces can do to set you up for success.