"Prioritization, organization, and delegation are key to achieving the balance that allows a woman to enjoy a rich family life while also gaining fulfillment from her career," says Laura Betterly, CEO of In Touch Media Group, Inc. (www.intouchmediagroup.com), a full-service marketing company that specializes in using the Internet as a public relations and advertising tool. "For women, balancing a career and family doesn't have to be a high wire act - it just requires a bit of juggling."
Betterly knows whereof she speaks. With a husband and two teenage boys, Betterly is among the 72 percent of mothers with children one year or older who are in the workforce. While acknowledging that her high-powered career allows her to take advantage of services that aren't accessible to lower income mothers, Betterly maintains that every woman can develop the skills necessary to balance work and family.
"Prioritizing is the process of realizing that you can't do it all, deciding what's important, and not sweating the small stuff," Betterly says. Although she likes to provide her family with home-cooked meals, Betterly would rather spend time with her sons than in front of the stove every night. "I go to a place called Get Cooking Now, where I can make twelve dishes in their kitchen all at once," she says. "I bring them home, freeze them, and am able to give my family good, nutritious meals without a lot of preparation time or mess."
Betterly also carves out more family time by being organized and streamlining other household tasks. "I do all of our personal banking and bill paying online, and use Quicken to track all of our expenditures and due dates," she says. And, if you're on Betterly's gift list, you can count on the fact that what's inside the box came from an online source. "I utilize the Internet for gift shopping, especially at holiday time," she says. "I can find everything I'm looking for online, and I'd rather spend time with my husband and sons than traipse through shopping malls."
Finally, Betterly is a firm believer in delegation. "Each member of the family has a list of jobs to do around the house, like taking out the garbage, washing the clothes, and doing the dishes," she says. "By delegating chores, the boys have learned that their contributions are important to our family, and that we have more time for fun."
And what does Betterly, her husband Steve Blom, and sons Craig and Chris do with their extra time? "We go to movies, concerts, visit friends, and barbecue," she says. "Plus, I'm getting pretty good at play the Digital Dance Revolution video game with the boys."
Betterly concludes, "As women, we don't have to make a choice between work and family. With a few skills and some practice, we can juggle the two beautifully."
© 2006 Kris Nickerson. All Rights Reserved.