Returning to work after I had my oldest son was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I thought I was prepared, but within just a couple of months, I was struggling. Hard.
Every single day felt like a sprint. My commute flat-out sucked. I raced out the door after work to jump on an hour long train ride. Then I sat in traffic for 30 minutes on the way to daycare. Then I’d gather up my baby and all of his empty bottles and dirty clothes, and get back in the car for another 30-minute drive home.
Once we finally got home, I’d race through my son’s dinner, bath and bedtime so I could jump back online to finish up work as I grunted a hello to my husband. I ended my night by tidying up the house, and preparing all of our things for the next day. Then I’d collapse into bed just in time for my son to wake up for his first of many middle of the night feedings.
It only took me a couple of months to feel like a crazy-person. But at the time, I didn’t feel like I had much choice in the matter. My job was important to me. More than that, doing well at my job had always been incredibly high on my list of values. Being well-respected and a sought-after resource in my career were things I had spent my entire adult life developing, and I wasn’t about to let my reputation go down the drain just because I had a baby.
But I was dying inside.
My whole life was a grind. I never got to see my family, and when I did I was distracted and drained. My health was failing fast. And honestly, I wasn’t all that effective at work because I was exhausted and foggy most of the day.
Something had to give.
It’s Not About Time Management
There’s a lot of hype around time management and productivity to streamline the life of a working parent. But I’ve discovered that clarifying my values, and then orienting all of my choices and actions around those values, are fundamental to a balanced life when you’re juggling so much.
But what does “clarifying your values” even mean? The concept of values can be fairly vague and abstract. Also, people often conflate values with priorities, and they’re really very different. So let’s break it down.
There are a lot of different definitions for the terms values and priorities, but here’s how I keep it straight for myself:
My values are my core life principles, what’s most important to me.
My priorities are the actions I take in my daily life that reflect my deepest values.
As Dr. John DeMartini describes in his book The Values Factor: The Secret to Creating an Inspired and Fulfilling Life, “people who live extraordinary lives have aligned their goals with their highest values.”
I’ve been supporting the mental and emotional well-being of working parents for many years now, and there are two observations I’ve made among the people who struggle the most:
1 | They have outdated values that no longer fit for their current lifestyle or circumstances;
2 | Their priorities are not in alignment with their values.
In those early years of parenthood, I realized I needed to tap back into my own values before I was ever going to find peace. I went through the process of clarifying my values, and then updating my life circumstances to reflect those values, after my oldest son was born nearly six years ago. And then I found I needed to go through this process again after my youngest son was born two years ago. As we grow and change as individuals and as a family, my husband and I have found it’s important to keep a pulse on our current values, and update our lives to reflect those values periodically.
Here are my top five current values. This is why these five in particular are so important to me at this stage in my life, and how they’re playing out in my daily life as a working mom of two little boys today.
FAMILY | My sons are growing up so fast, and it’s become critically important for me to soak up as much time with them as I can. Valuing my family today means being present and engaged with both of my kids as much as possible. I want to listen to them and make them feel like they’re worth my time and attention. I want to show up as my best self so I can give them the support and guidance they need as they grow into the human beings they’re supposed to be. This also means building a solid marriage as the foundation of our family unit.
AUTHENTICITY | There’s a lot of pressure to wear masks in our daily lives. Especially as a working mom, I’ve felt like I couldn’t acknowledge different sides of myself. As a professional in the legal field, admitting that anything other than my job is a priority (such as my children, my marriage, or my health) was highly discouraged. And as a mom, it’s hard to share that I’m still an ambitious woman who likes to work. So for many years, I concealed my true values, beliefs, and emotions to please the people around me. But denying fundamental parts of who I am makes me feel fractured and exhausted. I’m done sacrificing precious energy in my life to please everyone around me. The deepest connections I have with others and the best life experiences have come from showing up as my whole self, in all situations. I want to model self-acceptance and humility for my boys, and I can’t do that if I’m putting on a facade. So these days, I value being honest about who I am… and engaging with others who do the same.
FLOW | We live in a society that values hard work. Our current “hustle and grind” culture touts the benefits of grit, perseverance, and stamina to succeed. We’ve been told things that come too easy aren’t valuable pursuits. But I challenge the common myth of “no pain, no gain.” I believe life is meant to be an adventure. Life isn’t meant to be endured. So I’ve given up the martyr mentality in favor of a life I actually enjoy. Accomplishment can come from ease and joy, and being in the flow embodies both of those things to me. I want to feel light yet stimulated in the activities I engage in. I’m not always able to stay in this flow state, but striving toward it certainly creates that experience more often than not. Everything I choose to do takes into account this desire to be in a “flow state.”
GROWTH | Raising two smart and precocious kids, running a business, and attempting to stay connected to my loved ones in our fast-paced world highlights on a daily basis just how much I have to learn. I’m never done growing, and I love that. For most of my life, I had a severe phobia of failure. But today I try to see my life as an experiment. I open myself to the feedback that come with trying, and at times failing, at something new. Instead of relying on my perfectionist tendencies, I try to extract the lessons from everything that happens… good or bad. My purpose in life is to become the best version of myself, and I want to open myself to that process of evolution as much as possible.
FREEDOM | Freedom is really what it’s all about for me. After two decades in the demanding legal field where personal autonomy was restricted, “success” has come to mean having the freedom to do what I want, when I want, with whomever I want. Today I value expanding my freedom to make choices that are right for my family and me. I value having an impact on my own circumstances, and that can’t come if I feel chained or manipulated or coerced by others. I have this one life to live, and arranging my life to support a high level of freedom is how I can make the most of it.
There are dozens of Fundamental Human Values you could choose from to guide your daily life. I’ve narrowed it down to these five values for myself because when I break it down, I can’t live without these five values. If any one of them are forgotten or dishonored, I feel the negative effects immediately. And the more I focus my time, energy and attention to support these values, the more fulfilled I feel.
Making conscious choices about how I invest my time and energy is one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced as a working parent. Identifying my current values though has simplified the process and provided a North Star I can always refer to.
What are your core values?
If you would like to identify your own personal values and learn how to orient your priorities around your values, check out the Values and Priorities exercise in our free Deliberate Life Challenge. You can access it immediately in our Library.
In my last post, I shared the unique approach we’ve developed at The Argenal Institute to help working parents defeat burnout so they can finally start enjoying these precious years of their lives called the Whole SELF Lifestyle™.
The Whole SELF Lifestyle™ is an approach to life as a working parent. It’s not a solution in and of itself. It’s sort of a higher-level guide to help you understand not only the surface-level symptoms you’re feeling, but also the true source of your struggles within the context of a larger system. Once you have that deeper understanding, you can make more effective choices based on what you need in each moment.
The Whole SELF Lifestyle™ is broken down into three parts that specifically address the unique experience of busy working parents in the 21st century. We go into a lot more detail about this on The Argenal Institute website, but here’s the essence of each part and how they work together.
WHOLE | Integrating all of the different areas of your life into one functioning whole.
SELF | Honoring the different parts of who you are so you can approach every situation you encounter with a solid sense of SELF, and the peace of mind that the choices you make are what’s right for you.
LIFESTYLE | Replacing the constant searching for answers outside of yourself with a reliable and repeatable framework that will support you in discovering the right answers, for you, in this season of your life.
(You can learn more about the Whole SELF Lifestyle™ over at The Argenal Institute website, if you want more details).
I wholeheartedly believe each person needs to chart their own, individual path toward a fulfilling life. This approach is about creating a lifestyle that works for you, and gives you the freedom to acknowledge, accept, and work with your unique strengths, needs, desires, circumstances and goals.
This is about understanding yourself on deeper and deeper levels over time, and then living from that solid center of self-knowingness. It’s not about any particular answer or quick fix. It’s about going deeper and learning to experience your life on a range of different levels – not just on the surface level.
And since you’re a busy working parent, it’s important to do this in a way that isn’t overwhelming or intimidating. You need a flexible framework that can work within the various constraints of your life.
So let’s talk about how you can actually integrate this philosophy into your busy life in a way that’s sustainable.
We use the acronym S.E.L.F. to break down this philosophy into practice, what I call the Whole SELF Lifestyle™ Method. This framework outlines four specific stages of self-discovery.
STEP 1 | SYSTEM INVENTORY
One thing that has really become a huge component of the Whole SELF Lifestyle™ is this concept of SYSTEMS THEORY, so let me explain that a little bit. A “system” is a cohesive group of interrelated and interdependent parts. A system can be more than the sum of its parts, and changing one part of the system usually affects the other parts as well as the whole system. It’s dynamic and complex, and each part of the system influences the others.
As a working parent, you’re constantly juggling two distinct systems simultaneously: an External System and an Internal System. Doing a System Inventory helps you get a sense of all of the different parts of these systems that are operating for you, right now, in this phase of your life.
Here are just a few examples:
EXTERNAL SYSTEM | Those things that put pressure on your time and energy from external sources.
- Work responsibilities
- Household management, such as chores, errands, and paying bills
- Invisible Labor (those things that take time, but we rarely account for, like making doctor’s appointments, researching vacations or coordinating play-dates)
- Romantic relationships
- Parent-child relationships
INTERNAL SYSTEM | The internal thoughts, feelings, and experiences that also consume your time and energy.
- Core values
- Fears and triggers
All of these different systems exist in our lives simultaneously. But for most working parents, many, if not all, of these systems are running on auto-pilot. We’re managing very few of these parts of our lives deliberately. We often are so busy that we just react to the most urgent emergency, without understanding how our reaction is impacting the larger system as a whole.
Here’s the obvious truth we all know: blending all of these systems in any sort of fulfilling way is not something that’s going to happen on accident. We need to become intentional about each of these different areas of our life, and we also need to have a larger perspective about how it’s all working together as a whole. But that can’t happen at all until we understand what’s actually happening in each of these areas.
We do this whole inventory process without judgment and without trying to fix anything yet. In this first step, we’re just getting the lay of the land. This step is all about detached observation. Often doing this step alone is helpful for people, because you get clarity about what’s really going on under the surface. You can shift your perspective from one where it’s all about what’s right in your face in each moment, and allows you to get a broader perspective on your life. You get a better and more accurate view of what’s causing the most stress in your life. Even just having that awareness can help you make better choices.
STEP 2 | EVALUATE
Once you have identified the internal and external systems that are currently active in your life, then you can evaluate all of the individual parts to see what’s working for you, and what isn’t. I go through a wide range of different questions with my clients when I work with them, but even asking yourself some simple and straightforward questions can help you gain a better understanding of your actions, beliefs, and motives. You can start by asking yourself questions like:
- What is not working in this area of my life? What do I want to stop doing?
- What is working well in this area of my life? What do I want to continue doing?
- What would I like to change or improve about this area of my life? What do I want to start doing?
- How will changes in this area impact the other areas of my life?
- What do I still need to learn or understand about this area of my life?
You don’t need to know how you’ll actually improve any of these areas of your life yet – that comes in the next step. In this step, you’re just identifying the things that you would like to change. You’ve moved out of detached observation mode, and now you’re actively analyzing your life. You’re just creating your own personal roadmap so you can make some informed choices about what to do next.
Once you have all of the different areas of your life laid out in front of you, on paper, which is what we do in the first step, it’s a lot easier to make some educated decisions about where to drill down to focus your efforts.
STEP 3 | LIST OF SOLUTIONS
The first two steps of the Whole SELF Lifestyle™ framework provide clarity and a roadmap for change. Now we get to dig a little deeper and brainstorm the action steps that will carry out our ideas for improvement. This is when it’s helpful to do research, listen to podcasts, read books, get advice, seek therapy if needed, etc. to get new ideas or to fill in any gap in knowledge you might have in a particular area.
In this step, you create a list of concrete, tangible things you could actually implement in your life in order to make the wish list you created in the last step happen. Note that we’re still not actually taking action. We’re just coming up with ideas of things we could do. This third step is all about curiosity and exploration. This step allows you to move out of theory and ideas and concepts, and starts getting you into the mindset of taking action.
Let’s take an example I know most working parents struggle with: not having enough time.
If you haven’t gone through the first two steps of the Whole SELF Lifestyle™ Method, you may just be working harder and faster to fit more things into your day. This is the default solution most working parents lean on to try to get more time. And as we all know, it’s not all that effective. It really just increases that frantic pace of our lives and drains us in the process.
When you dig a little deeper, you’ll probably find a whole list of different action steps you can take that will actually help you reclaim your time (and more importantly, your energy).
Here are some other things you could do to carve out some extra time for yourself, while also eliminating the actual problem from the systems of your life.
- You can identify all of the areas where you feel energized and depleted throughout your day, and use that as a guide when you’re making choices about what you engage in every day.
- You can go through your to-do list or calendar and remove any commitments that aren’t totally essential.
- You can set some new boundaries around your time with clients, co-workers, or friends.
- You can replace Netflix and social media with activities that fill you up, rather than just numb you out.
- You can have a frank conversation with your partner about how household responsibilities are divided between you.
- You can identify the things that trigger you to take on too much (guilt, ego, fear of disappointing others, etc.).
There are probably a whole lot of different combinations of issues that need to be addressed if you don’t have enough time. And since you don’t have enough time, you never step back long enough to really look at all of the different things that are happening, so those problems persist (and often get worse).
When you go through the Whole SELF Lifestyle™ Method, you get to go deeper. You get to take into account the BIG PICTURE of your life. Instead of blindly throwing quick-fixes at surface-level SYMPTOMS, this step allows you to identify the deeper PROBLEM and try to improve the SYSTEM as a whole. You can compound the impact you have on your own life because you’re making more intentional choices within the larger context of your whole life.
STEP 4 | FAMILIARIZE
By now you’ve gone through and identified all of these different systems in your life. You have a clear understanding of the larger picture of your life. You’ve analyzed where you want to make some changes or improvements, and how those changes might impact the other parts of your life. And you’ve come up with a list of different action steps you can take to follow through on those changes.
The Familiarize step is all about taking action and self-discovery.
In the Familiarize step, you get to experiment. You try out the different ideas you brainstormed in the last step.
Not every option you’ve brainstormed is going to be feasible or even preferable. So you go through and pick and choose the options that seem like the best options for you, and your family, and your career, and your life, right now.
You stop researching and consuming ideas. Instead, you start implementing actions into your own life.
As you take action, you’ll realize that some options work better for you than others. You discard what doesn’t work, and you repeat what does work so it becomes a new habit in your life. You try another solution to see how that goes. You refine and evolve based on what you learn about yourself.
Over time, you’ll familiarize yourself with new ways of being in the world. You’ll familiarize yourself with new habits and new routines. You’ll learn how you, as a unique individual, personally reacts to certain behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. You’ll discover your limits and preferences. You’ll figure out what gives you energy and what depletes your energy. You’ll familiarize yourself with what works for you, in this moment, under these circumstances.
Through this process, you’ll start to see different aspects of your life shift and improve. And as you reinforce your self-knowledge, you’ll know how to respond to those changes. You’ll start to engage in and experience your life, rather than just power through your life.
Eventually… you’ll realize that you’re truly living a Whole SELF Lifestyle™.
Remember, this is a lifestyle, not an outcome to achieve.
Once you’ve gone through the Whole SELF Lifestyle™ Method once, you can use this framework as a tool over and over again in your life. You can repeat these steps whenever you’re feeling burned out, or when a big life shift happens, or if you’re just feeling unhappy and craving an upgrade of the quality of your life. This methodology can be applied to any situation you’re dealing with. It can be applied to whatever you’re going through either internally or externally. And it can be applied either on a super-broad basis, checking out every area of your life. Or you can zoom in on trouble areas to get more immediate and specific relief.
The Whole SELF Lifestyle™ is the key to getting the life you want.
All of the deeper traits people are searching for in their lives, such as confidence, that feeling of lightness and ease, solid sense of self, healthy relationships… all of that happens, and can only happen, if you integrate a practice that includes all four of these steps.
Most people in our information age spend all of their time in Step 3. They get caught up in endless research, asking for advice from friends and family, and relying on outside experts while dismissing their own instincts. Most working parents who struggle with burnout and guilt and information overload ignore Steps 1, 2, and 4, and are stuck in Step 3.
Focusing on what everyone else thinks really means nothing until you put it into action in your own life. When you’re focusing exclusively on research, all of that consuming really is just entertainment. And taking in all of that information and advice without seeing what actually works for you just contributes to those feelings of overwhelm, failure, and guilt, since you’re just bombarding yourself with ideals and expectations without ever trying it out for yourself.
The fact is that most advice out there won’t fit for you, in this moment in your life. And the sooner you can try it out, and either discard it or integrate it into your life, the less time you’ll waste worrying about what everyone else thinks.
Want to learn more?
So that’s a general overview of the Whole SELF Lifestyle™ Method, the process people can go through to actually live a Whole SELF Lifestyle™. If this sounds like something you’d like to do with me privately, or if you would like me to walk your team or group through this process, let’s get on a free 30-minute consultation to chat about how I can adapt this program for your needs. Just click this link to schedule your free consultation.
Or if you’d like to try a little taste of the Whole SELF Lifestyle™ Method right now, you can grab the System Inventory now. That’ll take you through an abbreviated version of the process, so you can get an idea of what it’s like.
ACCESS THE SYSTEM INVENTORY
You can also just check out our website over at The Argenal Institute to browse our podcast, blog, and library of training materials.
A few days ago, I let you know that we’re changing the name of the Working Parent Resource to The Argenal Institute. If you missed that post, you can learn more here. A lot has changed since we started the Working Parent Resource four years ago, and it’s time our name reflected our expanded purpose.
The mission of The Argenal Institute is to eradicate the burnout epidemic that’s crushing working parents, so they can finally start enjoying these precious years of their life.
This is a big goal, and something that we’re currently failing at around the world (the World Health Organization just classified burnout as a medical condition… this problem is getting worse, not better). There are a lot of resources out there aimed at relieving the pressure and stress working parents feel day in and day out. Meditation, mindfulness, self-care strategies, sleep health, productivity hacks, time saving tips…. we’re inundated with great ideas. And nothing has worked so far.
The question is, why?
After twenty years in the field of personal development and project management, and after six years specializing in this specific stage of life (juggling a thriving career with a young family), I’ve learned a lot. My goal now is not just to share what I’ve learned. But also to distill what I’ve learned down into a new approach to working parenthood that will create long-term change for struggling parents.
Today I’m excited to announce our new approach to working parenthood: The Whole SELF Lifestyle™.
The Whole SELF Lifestyle™ is a philosophy that addresses the big life questions working parents face, such as…
- Who am I now that I’m a parent?
- How can I recover the parts of myself I feel like I’ve lost?
- How can I enjoy this journey called parenthood, and look back with fond memories rather than regrets?
We spend a lot of time talking about procedure as working parents, and not a lot of time focusing on the experience of working parenthood. We’re in survival mode, and desperate for some immediate relief. So we buy into the false promises of the quick fix.
The truth is, there’s no quick fix to building a fulfilling life as a working parent. It’s a lifestyle that requires a shift in how you approach the everyday moments. It requires stepping back for long enough to get a clear sense of the bigger picture of your life, before diving in to make changes on the micro level. But when you’re in survival mode, it can be hard to escape the burnout cycle long enough to figure out which changes to make. So you grasp at the latest life hack, which simply doesn’t solve the problem.
That’s where The Whole SELF Lifestyle™ comes in.
The Whole SELF Lifestyle™ – our philosophy – is broken down into three parts:
Your External World
As working parents, we’re juggling constant demands and pressure from the outside world. Being in reaction mode against all of these different areas of our lives (I call them “systems”) can make us feel scattered, stretched thin, depleted, and resentful. I often hear working parents using these phrases to describe their experience trying to stay on top of everything: I don’t have enough time. Balance isn’t possible. I never have enough energy. I’m drowning. I can’t keep up. I’m failing at everything. My to-do list is a mile long. I’m crazy-busy. I’ll take care of myself when things slow down. Many of the obligations we’re dealing with really are important. We can’t just ignore them. But others could potentially be put on the back burner for a while. Until you take the time to evaluate everything that’s coming at you from the outside world, it’ll be hard to make informed decisions about which areas to focus on in each moment. I help working parents integrate all of the different areas of their lives into one functioning whole so they are the ones in control of their lives, and life isn’t pushing them around anymore.
Your Internal World
Becoming a parent has a way of shattering everything we thought we knew about ourselves. Our identity goes through a transformation, a deepening. We let go of old parts of ourselves (also called “systems”). We take on new roles in our relationships and our lives. We start to understand ourselves in different ways. We’re faced with all sorts of new circumstances, which require new skills and perspectives to work through. We try to integrate who we used to be with who we are becoming. But so many working parents are too busy to really explore this shifting identity in any useful way. Our sense of self is constantly changing depending on what we do, and isn’t understood deeply enough to guide our choices, behavior or beliefs. When we’re not clear about our inside world, we becoming increasingly persuaded by outside influences. We rely on experts and “gurus” and opinions of friends and family. This leads to losing trust to do what’s best for ourselves, our families, and our future. We’re living from the outside in, which is backwards. I often hear working parents use the phrases: I don’t know who I am anymore. I’ve lost myself. I miss who I used to be. I don’t know what to do. I feel so guilty. I’m unhappy. There’s got to be more to life than this. When this happens, it’s easy to find ourselves living out other people’s agendas and values, rather than our own. This is what makes life as a working parent feel like a grind, like an endless loop of non-stop responsibilities. I help working parents go through a process of self-discovery that honors the different parts of who they are so they can approach every situation they encounter with a solid sense of SELF, and the peace of mind that the choices they make are what’s right for them.
Blending Your External and Internal World
Creating a fulfilling life is not a destination. It’s not an outcome. It’s not something to achieve. It’s a practice. It’s an ongoing discipline. It’s a way of being in the world. It will fluctuate. Some days we’ll be better at it than others. But as long as we get clear about who we really are, and keep our intentions in the front of our mind, all of the demands of our daily lives won’t pull us off track as easily. And when we do get pulled off track, we can course-correct quickly. The Whole SELF Lifestyle™ is a way of exploring our old, unconscious patterns of behavior, understanding them on a deeper level, and making healthier choices going forward. It’s a way to up-level the baseline of our thoughts, beliefs, perspectives, choices, actions, behaviors, and experiences. Over time, we gradually improve both our life both internally and externally. I help working parents replace the constant searching for answers outside of themselves, with a reliable and repeatable framework that will support them in discovering the right answers, for them, in this season of their lives from within so they can finally enjoy these precious years.
This is the philosophy that drives our ambitious goal to defeat burnout for working parents so they can finally start enjoying these precious years of their lives. But there’s a lot more to it than just a philosophy.
We use the acronym S.E.L.F. to break down this philosophy into practice (the Whole SELF Lifestyle™ Method). In my next post, I’ll dive into how overwhelmed, busy working parents can actually integrate this philosophy into the experience of their daily lives in a way that’s sustainable.
For now, check out The Argenal Institute website to learn more about the Whole SELF Lifestyle™.
If you’re an overwhelmed working mom or dad and you’re tired of struggling through these precious years of your life, let’s talk. Click here to schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation.
When I started the Working Parent Resource in September 2015, it started out as a single page on a website that listed my favorite books, articles, and podcasts related to juggling work and motherhood. As a new mom with a demanding full-time job in the legal field, my only goal at the time was to have a central hub of reliable information I could share with other working parents who were struggling the way I was.
It was – very literally – a resource for working parents.
Four years later, the purpose of this company has expanded in a whole lot of different ways. Offering resources to working parents has been, and always will be, a fundamental part of what we do here. But a lot has changed too.
- Now, in addition to my favorite recommended resources, we also offer a whole Library full of free trainings, exercises, and challenges specifically designed to help working parents apply what they learn to create happier and healthier lives.
- We produce a popular podcast, the Working Parent Resource Podcast, so we can really explore the nuances of life as a working parent. It’s a great place to dive into personal stories and hear valuable insights from a range of experts.
- Our unique perspective on working parenthood is regularly featured on podcasts, in magazines, and in the media (you can check all of that out on our Press page, if you’ve missed it).
My first book is in development, and should be published in late 2019 or early 2020.
- We also have a substantive consulting practice dedicated to helping working parents and their partners blend their work, family, and life in a way that works for them.
- And in 2018, we started spreading our message even further by offering workshops and other trainings to companies, associations, and parenting groups.
The scope of our purpose is much broader than just offering resources for working parents now. It’s time our name reflects where we’re going, rather than where we’ve been.
So, today I am excited to announce that going forward, the Working Parent Resource will be known as… The Argenal Institute!
The sole purpose of The Argenal Institute is to eradicate the burnout epidemic that’s crushing working parents, so they can finally start enjoying these precious years of their life.
It’s clear we need to shift our thinking around the way we approach working parenthood in the 21st century, because we’re just not getting it. We have all of the research and all of the resources we need to live fulfilling and healthy lives, and we’re still not doing it. My mission is to understand the problem from your perspective, to understand all of the different layers of complexity of this phase of life, and facilitate solutions for individuals, companies, and society as a whole based on that unique set of circumstances.
In my next post, I’ll tell you how we’re actually going to accomplish this ambitious goal. If you want a sneak-peek, feel free to check out the new headquarters for The Argenal Institute, at https://argenalinstitute.com.
By the way, we’ll be keeping the name Working Parent Resource for the podcast and the blog, so you can still find those resources in the same place you always have.
Thank you, as always, for your support and for joining me on this mission to eradicate burnout for working parents. It all starts with you!
Learn more at The Argenal Institute!
There’s a lot of talk about what’s “possible” for working moms in modern society.
For some reason I’ve been hearing a number of comments recently about a commencement speech that Shonda Rhimes gave in 2014 at Dartmouth University. She has a lot of wonderful advice in her speech, but there was one part I took issue with, which is what I want to discuss here.
Here’s an excerpt about balancing working parenthood from Ms. Rhimes’ speech:
Whenever you see me somewhere succeeding in one area of my life, that almost certainly means I am failing in another area of my life…. That is the tradeoff. That is the Faustian bargain one makes with the devil that comes with being a powerful working woman who is also a powerful mother. You never feel a hundred percent OK; you never get your sea legs; you are always a little nauseous. Something is always lost. Something is always missing.
I appreciate that this is Rhimes’ experience, and I also appreciate her vulnerability and honesty about her experience. I even appreciate the message she goes on to deliver, which is that being a powerful working woman is a wonderful gift to pass on to your children.
Most of her message I can resonate with. But this portion of her message deeply concerns me.