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Work and Family
To work or not to work: that seems to be the question. Drawn to the idea of pursuing our passions and dreams, we strive to be "do it all" women, and often juggle multiple full-time roles as students, professionals, partners, and moms. But can we always have our cake and eat it too? What happens when the work and family balancing act proves to be too much? Which one gets priority?

Oh the guilt!
Meet U.S. based Namisha Sarin in "To Stay Or Not To Stay," after making the difficult choice to go back to work when her baby turns three months old. See how she later manages to put her dearly loved career on hold in order to spend more time with her daughter.

The adjustment!
Meet South African radio host and author Sam Cowen, in an excerpt from her book Waiting for Christopher, as she offers a humorous account of the "I'll breastfeed myself out of a job" fears associated with maternity leave-- and wanting to "take [being pregnant] like a man".

The joy!
Meet Sadaf Shamshad from New York in "There Is No Place Like Home," as she explains why choosing to give up her hard-earned, "swanky job" for the less-glamorous position of full-time stay-at-home mom was the best decision she ever made. Even without her own mother’s approval!

Come, join the conversation!
Lori Zumwinkle
MODERATOR
United States
How do women make the difficult choices in balancing both work and family? Can women really be “Super Moms” and juggle diapers, deadlines and dinner? Some women choose to stay at home and be around their children, but what about those women who don’t have that luxury of choice?

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36 - 17 of 36 Next | First
Parveen Muhammed
Posted on Tuesday, January 29, 2008 6:42 PM
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Lori Zumwinkle
MODERATOR
United States
Posted on Wednesday, June 27, 2007 2:09 PM
Sorry for being silent for a couple of days-- but well, like the rest of us, I'm strugging with work-family balance and have had all my spare time eaten up by various unexpected family commitments that came up. I really enjoyed Joan's comment-- learning to let go and have a few dirty dishes in the sink is a very important skill. At the end of the day we all have tradeoffs to make when trying to juggle work and family. What tradeoffs do you all make? How do you learn to live with the tradeoffs?
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Sadaf Shamshad
United States
Posted on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 9:29 PM
I completely agree with Linda Berg's comment. There is so much that I continue to learn about my kids by staying at home with them, I don't know if I would know them so well had I chosen to go back to work. Work will always be there, but these precious years when they are babies won't ever happen again. I don't want to miss anything and regret not being there for their big moments. Of course, I am lucky I have the choice to stay at home, had I been a single mom or if my husband couldn't support us on his salary, I would probably have to go back to work and have a different view on the situation.
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Kristol Clyde
United States
Posted on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 5:00 PM
I have been working with Best Buy since September 2003 and have been in retail since 1997. I am a single mother working in the high past life of retail. I make sure that I am working 120% at all times not just to maintain my career, but to support myself and my son. I am currently the Operations Manger at Best Buy in Princeton NJ. My ultimate goal with Best Buy is to be a District Human Resource Manager.

A "normal" day in my life starts of with me waking up my seven year old son.
This can be hard some days, because if I am the closing manager the night before, I usually have to wake my son up around 11:30 PM or 12 AM. Once he is up I get out his school uniform (he goes to a Trenton Catholic Academy), while he brushes his teeth and washes his face. Once he has finished with his morning hygiene and is dressed, we go into the kitchen for a quick breakfast. I say quick because usually the both of us are so tired that we wake up with just enough time for a quick bite (oatmeal, cereal, frozen waffles).

After breakfast I prepare his snack/lunch and take a quick look in his school folder and his homework book to review his assignments or send any necessary monies that are needed to send to school. Then we leave for the "drop off" at school. Once at school we exchange our hugs, kisses, and I "love you's." Also, I let him know (depending on if I'm opening or closing) if he will go to after school care or in the car line.

If he is in the car line he is excited because that means I will be picking him up, but after school care he knows he will be at school at least until 5:30 pm and grandma will pick him up. Once he is at school I take care of all errands, including going to the gym and then off to work. This cycle never changes, but we manage. My son loves that I work at Best Buy.
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prithvi singh
Posted on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 6:53 AM
hi every body
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Michelle Gustafson
United States
Posted on Monday, June 25, 2007 11:59 AM
Hello Everyone,

I am a 38 yr old female Best Buy Field Service Technician. I work in the north Florida region. I am a single mother of 2 beautiful children. A girl 6 and a boy 16. I have a very demanding job which requires me to be on the road servicing Best Buy's consumer appliances they purchase.

My career consists of customer service, repairs of all major appliances, parts inventory, assuring my van is maintained and supplied at all times. I do have the ability of taking my van home in the evenings and starting work from home.

I start my day by setting up my route for the day prior to waking the kids for school each morning. I then go to making lunches and preparing breakfast for them for the start of they're day. It's a routine that doesn't change. I carry on with getting the kids up (which can be a big challenge sometimes) I get them off to school and come home to get in my van and go off to work myself.

I enjoy life with my wonderful kids. They are what really keeps me going every day. I come home to them in the evening and prepare dinner,clean, do homework routine. We do make a point every night to talk about our day and make sure everyone is doing well. I make it a point in our lives that we show and speak our feelings of our cherished moments together. Show and express our love for one another open and honestly.

As a woman in the Service Industry, I feel I am very lucky to have such a career. I have been in the service industry for nearly 20 yrs and love it. I have battled breast cancer 2xs in my life and have experienced a lot of challenges throughout my short lived life. Everyday I give thanks for just being able to have such a wonderful family and the love that I receive from them. My family and I are very close and have a loving environment within our lives. Although difficult at times, I just look at their beautiful faces and realize how great I have it in life. God give me the strength to accept the things I cannot change and change the things I can.

Best Buy In Home Services 628…

Michelle Gustafson
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funmilola adeyemi
Nigeria
Posted on Saturday, June 23, 2007 8:14 AM
Being a working mother has been tasking. a mother of 3,i get them dressed for school before 6.30am drop them in the school.in a country like ours,you need to work harder to get to that social status and to give them the best of everything including education,shelter and food.i try not to be too emotional with the kids though they are the reason why i work. there is no love in a house where poverty resides.
i stayed with the kids to see them grow and to give them a good foundation before i took up my present job, then the elderest was 6 and the last a year .
i have 2 lesson teacher or tutors to take them after school who also help with their homeworks,a nanny at home to look after them while at work , who also clean the house and also attend to my poultry.
I do my cookings after work on saturdays and dished in to the refrigerator to last for a week.
As a mother,a career woman and a wife that wishes to be successful ,give my kids the best and leave a legacy for them it hasn't been easy.i don't believe in failure and i detest poverty so i put in my best.
i have no social life and any little opportunity i get to be at home i try to make up for those times i have to work and i lazy around the house on sunday with them to answer their questions and prepare their wears for school on monday.TO BE HONEST I FEEL SELFISH ATTIMES AND GUILTY.But i dont have much choice if i dont to lay the whole burden on my husband. our society demand that we take care of our extended family and also our immediate family and in a situation that the man can not do that the wife is either the one discouraging their son or too lazy.
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Kyla Novinger
United States
Posted on Friday, June 22, 2007 2:05 PM
As a working mother, there is always a constant struggle to keep life in a balance. I am a retail manager, who has an extreme ambition to focus on my career but also a very strong devotion to my family.

Having an energetic 3 1/2 year little boy and legal guardianship of my 17 year old sister and being only 27 myself, I do feel all the emotions of guilt for not always being able to be there for the kids as much as I or "society" feels that I should. At the same time I want to be as successful as I can now and have made a conscious decision not to wait until my son is older.

Working retail certainly has its good points but the crazy schedule, itself, can be extremely draining. The most important thing I have learned in the past few years is no matter how draining my days can be, sometimes it’s ok to be selfish and make time for yourself. Whether it be to take a weekend away with friends or just a quiet night at the movies, once a month I have my "night-out".

I am extremely fortunate to have a very supportive husband, that understands my need for independence and does his best to encourage it.

Trying to balance work and family certainly can be hard on its own, but for all women, we certainly need a good support system. We have to realize it really is ok to be selfish sometimes. For all we do everyday, we deserve it!
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Lucila Guerrero
Canada
Posted on Friday, June 22, 2007 12:35 PM
Es posible de encontrar el equilibrio entre el nuestro rol de madres, la pareja, la mujer que somos y el trabajo ?

Personalmente creo que es muy difícil casi imposible.

Con un horario a tiempo completo más los desplazamientos más el tiempo que toma prepararse para salir y las tareas de la casa... cuánto tiempo queda para nosotras ? cuánto para nuestros hijos ? cuánto para nuestra pareja ? cuánto para que en la casa todo esté en regla ?

Esos tiempos son suficientes? Es suficiente para implicarnos en la vida diaria de nuestros hijos ? para escucharlos ? para hacer actividades juntos ?

Yo no lo creo...

Porqué está mal visto ser mamá a tiempo completo ? Porqué se dice que es un puesto subordinado o de menos glamour ? Lo que tenemos que hacer es cambiar esta visión de las cosas y revalorizar la labor que desempeñan las mujeres en casa.

Esto se presta para sufrir injusticias ? Si, miles de hombres se sienten con más derechos que la mujer porque son ellos que traen el dinero a la casa. Pero la porción de trabajo de la casa que le corresponde al marido y que lo hace la mujer también tiene un valor.

En mi caso desde que me ocupo de mi hijo y de la casa me siento con derecho a la mitad del salario de mi marido puesto que ahora él hace mucho menos cosas en la casa que antes cuando dividiamos las tareas por igual.

Pienso que las leyes deberian cambiar, la sociedad deberia cambiar y somos nosotras que debemos luchar porque así sea.
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Linda Berg
United States
Posted on Friday, June 22, 2007 7:33 AM
I wrote my story because my children are my heart, they are my lifeline, they are the air I breathe. If we are understanding mother's our children will come to us. They will feel comfortable coming to us for anything. We need to support our children in everything they do, even though sometimes we may not like to. Remember that they have a life just as we do. They need to learn as we have, as we still do. Everyday is a new learning experience for me. I can honestly say that everyday I learn something new. Whether it is in the work place or life in general. Just last night, I saw the moon in a different way that I never seen before and at that moment I learned of new beauty. Life is very fast paced. Take every second and make it your everything, for you and your children. Life is wonderful and even though there are countless struggles, they help us learn, grow and become stronger. For me my biggest learning experience is my children and watching them grow into wonderful individuals. I can talk about them until the end of time because for me, they are my world. Appreciate what you do have and the wonderful people in your life. Smile because life really is amazing :)
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Joan Kinsley
United States
Posted on Thursday, June 21, 2007 10:53 AM
I wake up at 5:30, and spend 45 minutes getting ready for work. I wake up the kids at 6:15 (the same time my husband leaves for work), get them dressed, make their breakfast, make their lunches, brush their teeth, get them on the potty and put on their shoes (while trying to avoid having them hang onto my hair for balance). I get them out the door by 7:15 - drop one off to school, drop one off to daycare. I get to work by 8:00, and already I'm exhausted, my hair is a mess, my clothes are wrinkled. I see a female VP walk through the hall in a perfectly pressed, all white suit, high heels, make-up and perfect hair, and all I can think is, "she doesn't have kids!" As a working mom, this is how I start my day - every day.

But then I get comments from friends, how they admire how I balance it all - two kids, working full time, primary breadwinner for the family (my husband is a teacher). But I cook less, get more take out, and feel guilty about it. We can't do baths, homework AND play every night, and frankly, some nights we don't get around to any of those things. I've missed school music programs, tooth fairy visits, first steps, because I'm traveling for work.

But I'm learning to let go a little. Sometimes it's okay if the dishes are in the sink, if the laundry rots in the washer, if I can't find time to get a haircut. I'm learning that my boys are growing up quickly, and if the homework doesn't get done because I'd rather play tickle monster than argue over math, it's okay. And it's okay to refuse to go on a business trip, or take time off of work just to stay home once in a while. I'm learning that I CAN'T do it all, and even though other women appear that they CAN, I know that they must, somewhere deep inside, have the same inner dialogue as me.
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Sanja
Posted on Thursday, June 21, 2007 10:49 AM
While we’re balancing our work (building our careers and statuses, making a change in the world, making money) with our family (raising our children, maintaining healthy and satisfying relationships with our partners and friends and finding leisure time to read a book, see a good film and go on a vacation) we often forget that the most important thing that we should be taking care of is our health.

I think we don’t realize how draining and exhausting it is to be what we have called here in our conversation “Super Moms.” Years of stress, sleepless nights, frustrations, fears and unhappiness unfortunately wear on our bodies and our minds.

I think that while we are achieving all our dreams (as we all should!) we should constantly remind ourselves of our bodies and their fragility and mortality. We should take care of ourselves ALL the time and place our health in the first place ALL the time.

I invite you all to please take care of yourself as you trudge towards your dreams.

Importantly, please visit the Web site below and sign a petition that urges Congress to pass the bipartisan Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2005 (S 910/HR1849). Help women get the care they deserve and need. Right now, women who have undergone breast surgery must leave the hospital hours after the surgery. The bill would allow a woman and her doctor to decide whether she should recuperate for at least 48 hours in the hospital or whether she has enough support to get quality care at home following this emotionally and physically difficult surgery.

http://www.lifetimetv.com/breastcancer/petition/signpetition.php
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Gabriela Fuentes-Aymes
Mexico
Posted on Wednesday, June 20, 2007 12:10 PM
It has been a work of patience with myself. When you are used to being active in your profession for the love of it or because it is your economic contribution to the family it is hard to suddently "stop". Our baby is 8 months now (so fast), I love being with her and also enjoy the time i dedicate to work, the rhythm has changed, everything is intensified from the smallest detail of the day, but it is always good!
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Kris Post
United States
Posted on Wednesday, June 20, 2007 9:44 AM
I think that "Super Mom" is something that is defined by each individual. I do consider myself to be a "Super Mom". I am a mother of two, a wife and a career driven individual. I can honestly say that as of today, I am able to juggle it all. It has been a long journey but a great one. I have experienced hard times that have created many emotions, some great and some not so great. I came close to divorce, came close to quitting my job and became distant from my children. The day of awaking was upon me. After a long day in the office I pulled into my garage about 2:00 am. I entered the house to find a note from my husband expressing his disappointment in my choice to spend the greater part of my day and night at the office. This was a moment where I realized that I had become someone that I didn't plan on. I thought I was doing what I needed to provide a lifestyle for my family. What I didn't realize is the lifestyle my family needed involved an engage wife and mother. The very next day I made a decision and made some changes. I wrote the first sentence of a new chapter. I altered my work schedule, I implemented a work out schedule and I took the time to introduce myself to my family. I learned how to juggle a day at the office and an evening at home. Although not easy, I am now able to pick up the kids, cook dinner, throw in a load of laundry and throw myself to the floor and pump out 27 push-ups. Sounds a little odd but it allows me to fit it all in. And the icing on the cake is that during this time I also realized what it means to give back to the community and the importance of celebrating my very own blessings. I am now about to walk 60 miles in 3 days in the support of breast cancer for the third year in a row. What an experience, what a journey it has been. Being a "Super Mom" is uniquely defined by each individual. I have defined what being a "Super Mom" means to me and my family and went after it. My kids love that I play tag on the playground, I have been able to accomplish great things at the office, I am able to give back to the community and am able to enrich my life with new friendships. A strong support system and a positive outlook can help you to be the "Super Mom" that you determine is right for you.
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Holly Moe
United States
Posted on Tuesday, June 19, 2007 9:18 AM
Many people I talk to use words such as “amazing” and “extraordinary” and almost all ask me the question “how do you do it” when they find out I have 4 young boys and a full time job. My answer is always “it definitely keeps me busy” and that it does! As I take a deeper look, I think the true answer would be “it is just who I am”. I enjoy my family and receive so much back from them I can’t imagine what life would be like without them. In turn, I get energized by my job and I feel I wouldn’t be as content if I didn’t have it.

Trying to keep a healthy balance between my work and my family is something I work at constantly. Some of the things I try to do to manage this balance is to keep a schedule, a “to do” list and to be realistic about my expectations of myself and others. I think keeping this balance is truly an art form which requires flexibility and creativity. I am most successful at this balance during “normal” times. Our normal school time schedule is:

5:30 I get up and use this time to check e-mails, pay bills or do other chores
7:00 Chad leaves for work and drops William at daycare on the way
7:30 I wake Jake, Ben and Andrew up to get dressed
7:45 Breakfast
8:15 Take the boys to school
9:00 Arrive at work
16:30 Chad picks up all the boys and arrives home
17:00 Homework and relax time for all the boys (including Chad)
18:00 I arrive home and begin cooking dinner
18:30 Dinner
19:00 One parent cleans the dinner dishes, one parent cleans the kids
20:30 Bedtime for the kids
22:00 I go to bed

We are on our “normal” schedule about 50% of the time. The rest of the time the schedule has to be flexible to accommodate kid’s activities such as sports or church, parents traveling for work (both Chad and I are required to do some traveling), one parent having to work late or appointments (haircuts, dentist, doctor etc.). In those hectic times (which for us is 50% of the time!) when we have exceptions and need to be flexible we are truly blessed to have my parents close by and willing to help. I think the key to being successful with a work/family balance is to ask for help when things start to get unbalanced.

In the end I don’t think I am “amazing” or “extraordinary”. I think I am truly blessed to have an amazing family, a job that I enjoy and to work for a company which has implemented programs to help its employees keep a work/family balance.
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Thasneem Hoey
United States
Posted on Tuesday, June 19, 2007 8:50 AM
Swetha you are doing the right thing! Children are tender, its just a few years in your life that you are going to feel left out, but this feeling is because we tend to compare ourlives to the ones around us, Once the children are in school you can always do what you wanted to do, OUr children have to learn to live condidently after we are gone, and that is real love! Enjoy the growth and development of your children now! Its nice to watch them, lucky you!
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Thasneem Hoey
United States
Posted on Tuesday, June 19, 2007 8:40 AM
Mother is the architect of her child, Comming from a developing country where there are no diapers, no water in taps, economic problems, an oppressive culture and a bad marriage, i raised my only child, (mine was a bad child birth, it was a uterus rupture). I had to have a job for food and shelter. I went through extreme conditions, with hope for me and my daughter. I lived through guilt for not being there for my child when she needed me most, i went home without anyone's permission to breast feed my child and sneeked back to work.

Every child understands the language of its mother, and that language is love, if you can balance care and work just to sustain, then you can be a super mom, mothers have to understand that your priority is the child's needs, money to sustain is what is needed, not more than that. I picked up my career when my child went to school and went back to school when she needed me less and less, There are big questions that we need to answer the small minds especially during harsh financial times but answering them based on the child's mental makeup is important, the child constantly needs to hear that he/she is loved more hence you choose the child more to other things of life.

Reality is harsh, but believe me it teaches only the right things, Helping your child walk through reality is the best lesson a mother can teach the child. Child grow to be confident and are in touch with their own self. They turn out better human beings.
Holding a job gives home stability, lessons of balance, lessons on economy, and a sense of self, A confident mother can build a confident child no matter what the conditions are.
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Shweta M
India
Posted on Tuesday, June 19, 2007 8:24 AM
Career is always enchanting and after staying at home for 10 months with my daughter, I re-started my career for my own advancement, always making sure that I do not waste my time commuting, and my work place is near her place of care. However, after the birth of the second one, I thought, may be I would be able to stay and work from home. I did not have the heart to put him in the day care so early. And now, he is 5 months, and I realize I cannot manage both. I need to spend time with him in his waking hours - talk, teach and play with him. And my daughter needs me too. Having a husband who keeps busy and can support our family, I realized, I should not aim at being selfish and think of advancing my own career to leave our family life in jeopardy. We have to work as a team. One person earning the bread and other giving un-conditional attention to run the whole family.

The journey to this decusion has been a roller-coaster ride, but finally, I am confident that I would be satisfied. The centuries old - maternal nurturing instinct, the instinct to provide, care and be available would prevail over the fast-paced career. The support from my husband is tremendous. As he always puts it, its not his career advancement, its our advancement, not only his promotions, but mine too. And I am happier, my professional licenses would be in use once again after a few years. Will I have the heart then? Well, only time will tell.
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Thasneem Hoey
United States
Posted on Tuesday, June 19, 2007 8:11 AM
Good to read the hard work of your wife in being the man of the house, and at the same time being the women to nurture and love, i believe that if a woman can be both even man can be both, perhaps she has taught you to like her, now that you know what it is to recieve its time to give in life, and care for others, it must be very hard to live without her, living like her is the only way to keep her alive within you!
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Fakhriya Al-Yahyai
Oman - Sultanate of Oman
Posted on Tuesday, June 19, 2007 1:07 AM
it is very hard, but I did it when I was a full time PhD student, mum,weife,it beacome harder when I Planned to get my second baby. all freinds and family called me a super mum. the key in my life was my husband without hime i would not do it.
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