Article by Wendy McCance
I have been struggling with this question for as long as I can remember. Can you really have it all? I’m really not sure it’s possible.
My dilemma stems from the juggle of career, relationship with my husband and time with the kids. I have always put the kids first, husband second and career third. My feeling was when the kids were small they needed me the most. My relationship with my husband could survive the kids getting the most attention, and honestly I wouldn’t have it any other way, but what about survival when it came to my career?
Truly this is the source of my dilemma. For years, I worked at the same place as my husband. We both worked in a factory on the same shift in the same department. For many couples this amount of time together would kill the relationship. For me and my husband, we thrived. We truly enjoy each others company. We are best friends who had a good group of friends at work and we all would hang out at breaks together. It was a very comfortable situation. We had a lot of fun back then too.
When the company closed, we had to go through the process of untangling ourselves from each other. We had to focus on ourselves, figure out what each of us wanted to do and begin to forge our own individual paths.
I have to admit, there were some rough patches where I really missed my husband. We were both going to school and working full-time. Our schedules weren’t always so similar. So a lot of time went by, we went through some growing pains and we came out in fairly good shape.
Here we are a few years later. The kids are much older and really finding their own way with school, activities and their friends. It has made focusing on my career much easier and less guilt ridden. While my career has begun to take off, so has my husbands career, in a big way.
My husband has found a lot of success at a fairly quick clip. What started out as a steady 40 hours a week with a trip out-of-town a few times a year has blossomed into a job with a tremendous amount more responsibility, a little more time at work, but a future full of travel.
I have been excited to see my husbands progress, yet I have become a bit anxious. I am a real estate agent. My schedule has already put a crimp in our life. My busiest times at work are in the evenings and on the weekends. Not ideal when your husband works an opposite schedule.
Now my husband has a schedule that will pull him out-of-town a good majority of weekends. I don’t know when we will find time to find time for us. On top of it, although the kids are older, I feel as though I need to put my job on the back burner on weekends when he is gone so that there is a parent around.
Much of my anxiety comes from my past. When I was growing up, my dad travelled for work (a sort of travelling salesman) and we would see him maybe 10 days a month. I wasn’t very close with him and in many ways, I had a rough time as a kid. As I wrapped up my high school years, my parents divorced. The distance had put too much of a strain on the marriage. When I was married to my first husband, we worked on opposite shifts throughout the majority of the marriage. Granted there were other factors that contributed to the divorce, but being on opposite shifts did not do anything good for our marriage.
I always swore to myself that I wouldn’t get into a relationship with someone who I would never see because of a conflict in our jobs. When I married my husband, we really had the perfect situation. Working together was so much fun. We always had things to talk about. We had even formed a good group of friends who we enjoyed hanging out with.
After years working in the factory, our lives have been jolted many times. Juggling careers and kids and now different schedules. It’s the ultimate moment I have dreaded.
My opinion is that no matter how hard you try to balance your life, something will invariably get the most attention, and something else will get the least. These days, our careers have to be at the top of our priorities. After going through a plant closure that knocked us both off our feet, we have struggled to regain our financial position.
Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly grateful for our jobs. We went through some scary years struggling to make it once we were out of our jobs. We have financial responsibilities and still have a bit of a climb to get out of the hole that we had fallen into. Thankfully, we are well on our way. All of our hard work has begun to pay off and I am extremely relieved.
I am glad that the kids are older and doing their own thing. It makes putting more of a focus on my career much easier to deal with. I am just hoping that my husband and I can navigate our new positions and find our way through it with are relationship still strongly intact.
What is your opinion on having it all? Do you believe that your family life will suffer if you work hard to get success at work? Have you been able to balance all that matters so that you feel comfortable with the decisions you have made? Do you have any regrets about the way you have handled your career, family, friends etc…I’d really love to hear your take on this issue. 🙂
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