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Do You Have to Choose a Household or a Career?

When planning out your life goals, it can feel like you have to choose between a career and maintaining a household and family. Today both women and men want to be successful in their careers, but there are only so many hours in the day and sometimes choosing to prioritize your job means sacrificing aspects of parenthood. 


Obviously, you probably cannot always have the ideal balance of both; very few people are lucky enough to build a career while also being a stay-at-home parent. However, with the right understanding of your options and how to balance both, you won’t have to choose. 


Determining and Sharing Roles with Your Partner

Historically, women have been expected to pass up a successful career and take on all childcare and household responsibilities while men were expected to be solely responsible for earning a living. As times have changed, so has our perception of the family structure.


The first step you need to take is determining which aspects of each role are most important to you. Then you can have a conversation with your partner about what the best balance would be for both of you. When starting a family, it is important to understand each other’s desired work and home-life balance and to be honest about what you want from the beginning to avoid any resentment or regret later on. 

Plan One around the Other

Depending on your career path and your goals for a family, you may have to choose one to plan the other around. The “5-year sacrifice” refers to the time the children are not yet in school, so during the first 5 years of their lives you may have to sacrifice career time. When children go off to school, this usually frees up most of your day and allows you to spend more time working. 


When considering starting a family, sit down with your partner and determine what times in your careers would be the best to take a step back. You may have to adjust your family timeline to reach a better point in your career first. 

Making Up for Time by Being Present

In an ideal world, you could devote equal time to your family and your career, but for most people, this is not the case. If you find that your career is taking more time away from your family than you would like, make up for it by remaining fully present when you are with your family. Try to prioritize quality time with your spouse and children. It is okay to let a few responsibilities wait if it means being mindful and present in the moment with your family. 


This same rule applies to focusing on your work when you are there. It can be hard to leave your family at home and return to work; you may feel guilty for not being there and find yourself focusing less on your job. Remember that your job also benefits your family’s well-being and that by making the sacrifice of leaving them, you are still helping. You can be a present and wonderful parent while also loving your career and working towards success. 


Roni Davis is a writer, blogger, and legal assistant operating out of the greater Philadelphia area. She works for a workers’ compensation lawyer in Mount Holly

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