This Is How Women Who Win at Work-Life Balance Do It

This article was originally published at the Washington Examiner.

In my last post, I responded to the research on the “happiness penalty” faced by mothers who are the primary breadwinners in their families. The toll it takes to try and raise children while at the same time be the family’s main source of income is off the charts. I would expect the data to look exactly as it does.

The fallout of such a lifestyle is no doubt the reason 67% of all mothers say their ideal situation is to work part time or not at all. Even many full-time working mothers agree with that sentiment.

“Among mothers who currently work full time, many would rather not. About 44% say working part time would be their ideal situation,” writes Wendy Wang.

Given such overwhelming agreement about what women want with respect to work and family, why aren’t we helping women create lives that allow them to have what they want? The only role models young women have are mothers who run around like a chicken with their heads cut off, shortchanging both their jobs and their kids, and mothers who devote their entire lives to their families. (The latter is perfectly admirable, but it appears not to be what most women want.)

In fact, there’s a third option: work part-time.

This is such an obvious solution to the work-family dilemma but one we rarely, if ever, hear about. Why? Because if women are encouraged to work part-time (or Heaven forbid, not at all) when they have kids, how can America achieve gender equality?

It can’t. And so, women don’t get the advice they need from their teachers or their mentors or their parents or the media. Mum’s the word on the real secret of work-life balance.

It’s time to tell that secret.

There’s even a name for it: “sequencing,” a term coined by Arlene Cardozo in her 1986 book of the same name. Sequencing refers to structuring one’s professional goals around the needs of one’s children and family, as opposed to the other way around.

As an example, for the past twenty years I’ve been home with my kids I have worked intermittently: some days I do, some days I don’t, and never until recently for an entire workday. I wrote when my children were asleep or in school or busy with their dad; and for a 5-year stretch when they were babies and toddlers, I pretty much dropped out of sight—save for some occasional blogging. Now that my daughter is in college and my son drives, I work full time. The last time I worked full time I was 31. I’m now 51.

Some other examples: I have a sister-in-law who’s a licensed clinical social worker/psychotherapist and the mother of four grown boys. Over a 40-year span, she has either not worked at all or she has worked part time. Today she works full time.

My friend Gia is a speech pathologist who stayed home with her kids when they were babies and toddlers and taught dancing on the side. Today, Gia’s children are in school and she has launched a program called Learn with Moxie, designed to combat the negative effects of technology on our youth.

Finally, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, whom I consider a friend, had just one child (a bit later in life) who’s now in his thirties. But she stayed home with him when he was young, going so far as to jumpstart her career in radio by working from 10pm-1am when her son was asleep, and then switched to daytime hours once he was in school.

In other words, there is more than one way to sequence one’s life; but it can be done. And if “working part time or not at all” is what 67% of mothers say they want, they deserve to hear from those who’ve done just that. Here’s my advice for having genuine work-life balance:

  1. Plan ahead. I started mapping out my future when most people do: in college. Only instead of focusing exclusively on my professional life, I took marriage and motherhood into account. I tried to find a career I could move in and out of, thus allowing my family to come first. Needless to say, this is not what college women are encouraged to do. But I did it anyway.
  2. Choose a flexible profession. I ended up becoming a middle/high school English teacher, which I did for about five years. However, once I quit to stay home with my kids I ended up getting the writing bug and have been doing that instead ever since. Either which way, these are both professions that easily can be done on a part-time basis or alongside motherhood. Are there some careers that won’t be an option? Yes, but with the technological revolution it has never been easier to work remotely or even part time in more demanding or lucrative fields.
  3. Marry smart. I didn’t marry smart the first time around, but I’ve been married to my second husband for 21 years. My first husband and I had different priorities regarding work and family. Fortunately, since I had married at a relatively young age—23—I was able to extricate myself from that marriage (we did not have children) and eventually find someone whose core beliefs were synonymous with mine. It was the best decision I ever made. I would not have the balanced life I do had I not married a man who was (a) on the same page about work and family and (b) willing to be the steady breadwinner so I could be home with our kids.
  4. Don’t make financial decisions prior to having kids that demand two incomes. This is a problem more common to millennials and possibly to Generation Z. Since women are encouraged to put a career, rather than marriage and family, at the center of their lives, many assume they’ll always have two incomes and thus make choices that “force” mothers into the workforce full-time and year-round, despite the fact that so many of them don’t want to be there.

So there you have it: the secret to a genuinely balanced life.

But don’t tell feminists your plans.

Suzanne Venker

Suzanne Venker is an author, columnist and radio host known as The Feminist Fixer. She helps free women from feminism so they can find lasting love with men. Suzanne's newest book, WOMEN WHO WIN at Love: How to Build a Relationship That Lasts, will be published October 2019.

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  1. There is another side to this. Women work more and more, and are still net negative tax generators for the state and federal government. Men, on the other hand, pay much more in taxes, than they get in benefits. Over the usual lifespan, the government spends MUCH MUCH MORE on benefits and resources for women than it can ever get back in taxes from them. For me it is the precise opposite. There were expectations that this tax gap- I wonder why the feminists haven’t noticed this- would equalize out as women entered the work force. Equality is a good thing, right? Except, the exact opposite happened. As women entered the workforce en masse the price of wages flatlined. More workers for teh same jobs meant wages didn’t have to go up. Supply and demand. Add in fewer marriages, and women became more dependent on the government than ever. This is PRECISELY why more women live in poverty today than at any time in American history. But wait, there’s more: these women married the government, so men could pay child support for kids that weren’t theirs and not any genetic product of theirs- and now demand for government benefits for women exploded. And that wasn’t enough, now the feminists want more and more programs to aid and advance the cause of women, so the tax gap has grown larger than ever before. Families find the cheap way. Government has to pay at least full retail, if not more. Government subsidies are far less efficient than subsidies for women, because there is no reason to keep costs low. This left more men than usual unemployed, and also who cannot provide, or don’t want to provide for wives and children. Since men are the “cash cows” funding all this, and feminists are slaughtering the cash cows with #metoo, and false accusations, and quotas, and defamation, we can see an end game, where the government will no longer be able to support women. Government does not produce value; it takes it away from the productive. It’s already happening now. There seems to be less and less tax revenue now. Social security, welfare, medicaid, consume TWO THIRDS of the federal budget now. Infrastructure is crumbling, and there’s no money to repair it. This situation is very comparable to a crack cocaine addiction, with feminists as the drug dealers. We will see the collapse of the federal government, within our lifetimes, if these trends continue. Cory Booker wants a tax credit so people in effect only pay 30% of their income for rent. Great idea, Cory: how the heck are you going to pay for it? Democrats and even Republicans have no problem giving away tax dollars. At some point, though, the well will run dry. Maybe that’s why the Democrats are funding false flag shootings, with assassins, to justify taking the constitutional right to bear arms away. The first thing the Nazis, Communists, and any other totalitarian government did, was to deny people arms. Do you really think all those shootings are lone assassins? People in foreign countries know differently, because they aren’t as stupid as Americans. Remember Krystalnacht? The night the Nazis vandalized all Jewish stores in Germany? People forget that the SA also disarmed all Jews, of their firearms. Get a Russian immigrant talking, on what it’s like to live in a totalitarian system, where citizens have no firearms. It’s truly horrible. The terrorist arm of the Democratic party was the KKK. Democrats fought emancipation tooth and nail, and started a Civil War that the country still hasn’t recovered from. They are fostering a new Civil War now. Hillary was friendly with Senator Byrd, of W VA. He was a Klan kleagle. The Democrats are totalitarian, they do not listen to other voices. They know what’s right. There is no difference between them and Mussolini’s blackshirts, except that their ideology is far worse. Sinclair Lewis said that if America ever went fascist, it would be by calling it anti-fascism. That’s what antifa stands for, and they act just like Nazi Sturmabteilung. Look very carefully at how badly the Democrats treat black people. LBJ created the ghettoes, with welfare, and single parent families. Some black people believe the government even created the drug trade, to make money. And who did they do it to first? Black people. Democrats make all kinds of promises, and the inner cities get worse and worse. In the 1910’s, black people were very entrepreneurial. They had to be, to survive. As recently as the 1940’s, black families stayed together more than white families did. Larry Elder points out the government-guided degradation of black people. Clinton’s omnibus crime law put many more black men in jail. VAWA put both parents in jail, and led to violence against black women, to the point that women quit calling for help in DV situations. Detroit is a great example of what decades of Democratic policy can do for a city. So is Philadelphia. I lived in Michigan, in the 1970’s, and I wouldn’t have gone to Detroit for any reason. Democrats are hollowing out the middle class, in California, with the same tactics. Rev. Farrakhan pointed out, before the 2016 election, that the Clintons were no friends to black people- and that Clinton’s 3 strikes and you’re out law put many, many more black men in jail. Spending money blindly solves no problems. It’s like running water through a pipe with a thousand holes- it just leaks out. And since Democrats steal all they can, this is a precise analogy. I moved from the People’s Republic of Taxachusetts to Corrupticut. A friend of mine had a grandfather, who provided the steel for Interstate highways, when they were constructed. A cost of business was envelopes full of money, to each legislator. My friend asked about sealed bids, and so on. His grandfather laughed, and said, “Were you there to ensure this was followed? No? So how do you know?” All politicians steal. But Democrats steal more. LBJ stole staggering amounts, and got all kinds of fees from defense consultants, during the Vietnam War. Oh, wait, the Vietnam War. Who started it? DEMOCRATS. They had no intention of winning, their goal was getting fees.

  2. The first gun control in the USA was applied to black people in the South. Isn’t that interesting. And the best way to destroy a country is to let citizens do it themselves, with bullsh.. ideologies. And that is exactly what is happening.

  3. As Dee Wallace says, decide what you seek, get very clear about it, ask the Universe for help, and make it happen.

  4. You could also mention the importance of learning to set intent, internally, the way say Florence Scovell Shinn, and Joseph Murphy, suggest, in their books. Women seeking to do what you suggest need to be at agency, that is, believing they influence their lives, rather than being at the mercy of circumstances. Feminists teach resentment and rage, rather than agency.

  5. But what about women make $0.73 of the male counterpart’s dollar Suzanne.

    Okay I’m being facetious…

    Fourth-wave feminism is going to be a tough nut to crack. But I have faith. Especially when I read people like yourself. Are you married? Do you like older Irish guys with big romantic hearts.

    A lot of this nonsense is actually the Socialist Marxist (SM) idealism regionalized down even to a single sex. Actually I will correct that, its genders. With the SM take over of the humanities. of which I have a great affection. The humanities that is…

    Suzanne it is a “active measures” approach to us, by the Russians falling far behind in their world birth rate. Russian births are dropping like a rock. Of North America is not far behind. I hate to say its Russians under the bed Suzanne. They fund a lot of this nonsense, it is the nature of the New Cold War — not to take anything away from helicopter baby boomer parents turning them into cripple for life.

    The rising numbers of Russian fourth wave feminists. The pussy riot activism and a truly, toxic masculine Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin are not helping matters at all. Yes he is the worst of the worst. He reminds me of a Ken doll — Putin in a tank; Putin in truck crossing an illegal bridge in Crimea; Putin in a photo op with all the Russian girls over fifty; Putin swimming in the Aegean finding lost Greek treasures.

    I am in the middle of reading your free books and I thought, hey this is a great woman. Gives away books, has a sound head and a great smile. And reminds of a Irish girl I knew once.

    This post is as sound as a rock and full of common sense. You should take this show on the road, say the local Universities and try and breath some life back into those poor brain washed young women.

    If you were to listen to modern feminism, having children is a slavery. Personally I love seeing good women with their children, it is a beauty beyond compare. And the mother/child bond is a dying idealism, it is becoming a shame almost, as the government seeks to replace it all, and the socialists aim for state raised androids.

    kidding aside, always a pleasure to read your work…I look forward to more.

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