Balancing Career and Home

When it comes to work/life balance, find the right fit for you rather than an equal balance. What I Want My Daughter to Learn Series featuring Kathryn Sollmann

Finding the right balance between work and life — your career and your home — is a challenge that many women find unsettling at times. That's because they often have a limited view of possible work structures and opportunities, says Kathryn Sollmann, founder of 9 Lives for Women.Kathryn Smollman

When they think about a career, women often imagine the 40-hour-plus office job that requires huge blocks of time away from their children, and they can feel overwhelmed. "Women tend to say, 'I can't work because I can't balance work and family,'" says Sollmann. "What they're really saying is that they can't balance the very traditional, more-than-full-time outside job with all of the responsibilities of their home life."

The truth is, it's not really possible to perfectly balance career and family, Sollmann says. That's why she's always encouraged her daughters, now age 24 and 15, to find the right fit for them rather than the "perfect" balance.

She has guided her daughters to find work that fits their personal goals and expectations. That way they can find some way to work from the time they graduate from college to the time they retire, to ensure greater long-term financial security.

Work/Life Balance: Leading by Example

Sollmann has been involved in entrepreneurial ventures from the time her oldest daughter was born, and both grew up watching her work. "They see me as a role model. They see that you can be a mother and wife, and still have a meaningful, successful career," she says.

Having a career doesn't have to require a 40-hour office job. It could be an Etsy store that you maintain several hours a day while the baby is sleeping, says Sollmann. "It can be a part-time job, freelancing, or any type of entrepreneurial venture."

One daughter shoots photography as a hobby. Sollmann wants her to think about using that skill as a part-time job when she has children. "I'm always pointing out to them that the different things they're doing today can become freelance or entrepreneurial adventures down the road," she says.

She also encourages her daughters to always have a backup plan and never rely on someone else for their financial security. "My message to my girls is that you have to be an independent woman who is always capable of taking care of yourself and your family financially, because you just don't know what's around the corner," she says. "I think that's the simple thing. You sit your daughter down and say, 'You're going to school, we're sending you to college, you're learning skills. That is to make you a well-educated woman, but more importantly, that is to provide the foundation so that you can always support yourself financially.'"


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