Our Chicago: Balancing Life & Careers

ByKay Cesinger WLS logo
Sunday, March 24, 2024
Our Chicago Part 1: Balancing Life & Careers
A lot of working parents struggle with trying to balance a career and keeping the happy meter up when it comes to family life.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A lot of parents struggle with trying to balance a career and keeping the happy meter up when it comes to family life.

As we continue to celebrate Women's History Month in March, we're diving in to the topic of "having it all," especially for women and moms.

Dr. Jaclyn Jensen, a professor of management and associate dean at the Driehaus College of Business at DePaul University, and Dr. Alyssa Westring, a Vincent de Paul professor and chair of the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, also at the Driehaus College of Business at DePaul, joined ABC7 to discuss.

Both are parents and have researched the matter. So, can women have it all?

"A lot of people when they think about the idea of balance, they assume that what we're talking about is spending exactly equal amounts of time at work and with family and on your self-care and all of that. That probably isn't realistic," said Westring. "So, what we think about instead is maybe trying to find a life that's in balance with what you care about most. So, are you spending your time and energy doing what you really value? And that's something that we can work towards and it's never going to be perfect but it's definitely something that most people can have more of in their life. So, maybe not having it all, but probably having a little bit more than we have right now."

"I also think it's about thinking not only how you're living your life aligned with your values but how you measure success," said Jensen, "So we all encounter days and weeks where things don't go according to plan. Sick kids, partners who travel, sometimes schedules are not predictable and those things will cause your otherwise thoughtful plan to fall out of sync. And that can be really stressful. And so I think it's also important to give yourself some grace in those situations. And also think long-term. So, if longer term what you're seeing is regular times where there is that friction or tension between how you want to spend that time and how you actually are then I think that provides an opportunity for reflection, to think back 'okay, what is really important to me, and what can I do differently to try to get closer to that ideal'."

Our Chicago: Part 2

As we continue to celebrate Women's History Month in March, we're diving in to the topic of having it all, especially for women and moms.

Obviously, workplace stresses can spill into our personal lives, our marriage and the way we parent. So, how much of that is really in our control? Many people don't have a choice of trying to lessen that work stress or finding a better boss or better work hours. What can they do?

"I think part of thinking about that space is, okay, so you might not be able to change jobs, you might not be able to navigate tricky situations with your boss. But what can you control within that space? And what strategies might you be able to adopt that give you a little bit more leverage in terms of having those important conversations?" Jensen said.

Westring is the co-author of the book "Parents Who Lead: The Leadership Approach You Need To Parent With Purpose, Fuel Your Career, and Create A Richer Life."

"The idea of the book is that leadership isn't just a thing we do at work," said Westring, "And it isn't just something for people who have formal leadership roles. So, we know there's decades and decades of research about what the best leaders do. And what we do in the book is say, okay, how can we take what we know about good leadership and help parents bring those skills to their work and their partnerships and their parenting and their communities and also how they treat themselves, their physical and mental health?"

Westring and Jensen will be part of a Women in Entrepreneurial Leadership Workshop Series next month. For more information, click here.