As most women do, I’ve worn many hats throughout my life. After leaving a demanding career as an attorney following my son’s Autism diagnosis, I did not just feel unbalanced in work and life—I actually was. I recently adopted some policies that eased that crushing sense that I was perpetually failing in one arena, and then the other. I view the work/life dichotomy not as a balance so much as shifting scales, whereby each territory gets its turn in seizing your attention, but then must yield until the next interlude.
Here’s my philosophy for keeping steady and true to yourself:
1. Do not try to be all things to all people.
The temptation for women to please and fulfill others’ expectations is itself depleting. Figure out what you truly want to do with your down time from work and do it without apology. There is no value in allowing yourself to be drafted into volunteer or other activities you dislike, and you will end up resenting them each and every time. Your time is precious—you have only this life, this family—do not waste time satisfying others’ expectations; instead, define your own and stick to them.