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Finding balance: Working women’s stories of family and career

Gone are the days when women primarily stayed at home, focusing on childcare and household duties.

As civilization progresses, modern women are breaking glass ceilings, steering business empires, and dedicating long hours to their professions.

Some men appreciate this category of women, as they contribute financially to the home. This raises the question: “How do working women find a balance between their careers and family responsibilities?”

Last weekend, Iya Magazine strolled through the bustling streets of Lagos, asking women the above question, and today, we proudly share their insightful responses.

Meet Mrs. Olajumoke Omole, a teacher and gospel minister. Like most other respondents, she said she is still struggling to find a perfect balance between her work and family responsibilities.

“Each day, I strategically organize my activities to prevent burnout. A significant sacrifice I willingly make is rising early, even when my body feels fatigued. I can’t go to work late because my job is the backbone of my financial stability.

“I also make time for church activities. If, by the end of the day, I’m unable to complete certain tasks, I refrain from letting it burden my thoughts. I hate being stressed, so I tackle my responsibilities gradually.”

don’t use the quest for balance as an excuse for career stagnation

The next interviewee is Mrs. Ojile Aladi, a dedicated instructor and mother-of-two young children. Residing in Jakande Estate, Ipaja, and working in Idimu, Lagos, she skillfully navigates the challenges of being a working mom.

“On weekdays, I wake up very early to make breakfast and get the kids ready for school.

“Before leaving for work, I lay out the clothes they’ll wear when they return. When I was working in Obalende, it was very stressful, and I used to return home late. So, I requested a transfer to a school in Idimu, close to our residence in Alimosho.

“Now, my daily routines are a bit smoother. Apart from my teaching job, I own a grocery store close to my place. So, my kids and I go there after school, and close by 8 p.m.

“When we get back home, I start doing domestic chores. It was very challenging when my kids were very young, but now they assist me both at home and in the shop.”

Women in the banking industry
Many bankers find themselves working over 12 hours a day. For married women pursuing career in this sector, balancing professional ambitions with the responsibilities of nurturing a family can be exceptionally demanding.

Meet Mrs. Divine Atafo, a banker and mother-of-two. When asked about her secret recipe, she said,

“I had to learn proper time management and scheduling of tasks. I always set my alarm for 4 a.m., and as soon as it rings, I jump off the bed. I perform all the necessary morning chores before waking my kids up.

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“After preparing them for school, I rush off to work. My husband takes them to school and brings them back.
He is self-employed and sometimes, he helps out with domestic chores.

“Honestly, I couldn’t have gone far in my career without his support and I appreciate him for that.”

Every individual has a unique story. Another respondent, Mrs. Monica Njoku, narrates how challenging it has been for her.

“I am a medical doctor and a mother of three. I work in Lekki and live in Ikotun. Any day I don’t leave the house before 5:30 am, I will surely be late to work. And you know, I could be fired for lateness.

“My husband works with an insurance company, and he picks up the kids from school after work. Whenever he is out of town, my kids wait for me at the house of one of their teachers. I have to leave Lekki at 5 p.m. to pick them up. If there’s a traffic jam, I will reach home late.

“The most annoying part is performing domestic chores after a hectic day at work, and most times, I sleep at midnight.”

An anonymous respondent, a lawyer, said that initially, she felt she could juggle both responsibilities, but when that didn’t work, she took a five-year break from work.

“I’m back to work, but before I returned, I had to delegate different tasks to people. I have a chef, a cleaner, and a nanny. Only the nanny is a live-in assistant.

“Although finding a trusted employee was not easy, I am happy with the ones I have currently. So, whenever I return from work, I spend some time with my kids before going to bed.”

What about cooking?
Cooking is an essential aspect of daily life, and this routine can contribute to heightened stress levels for working-class women.

When Iya Magazine asked Mrs. Monica Njoku if she still cooks at home, she said,
“I am always careful about what we eat, and that’s why I ensure to cook during the weekends.

“I also clean the house on Saturdays. However, there are some weekends when I am on duty, and the workload gets piled up. To be frank, this whole routine has not been easy for me. I barely have time to hang out or even attend religious activities.

“The job pays me very well, but my health is at risk because of the stress I go through every day. Even my kids, too are suffering.”

Another group of women said they often purchase liters of deliciously cooked soups and stews from local food vendors.

While their lives are filled with constant responsibilities, they still treasure the rare experience of preparing a home-made meal.

Some women say they often purchase liters of cooked soups and stews from local food vendors

General tip on juggling work and family
If you are a very busy wife or mother, getting help with chores can make a big difference. When routine chores are handled by someone reliable, you can concentrate on what matters most—whether it’s your job, personal growth, or quality time with family.

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True balance doesn’t mean perfection; it’s about finding what works best for you and your family. While on this journey, avoid comparing your situation to others. Be kind to yourself, and learn from your mistakes.

Moreover, don’t use the quest for balance as an excuse for career stagnation, when you can actively plan how to blend your professional and personal lives.

Lastly, make self-care and your overall well-being a top priority. After all, you must be in good health and vitality to successfully pursue and achieve your goals.

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