Work–Life Balance Does Not Mean an Equal Balance

Abstract

As I reflect on the different phases of my life as a physician, wife, mother, and physician leader, I realize that my expectations or definition of work–life balance have varied. I might even dare to say that my expectations vary on a daily basis. The concepts that remain at the crux of what I consider most important are a feeling of daily achievement and joy in each of my four life quadrants. These consist of Career, Family, Friends, and Self. At each stage of my life, I have challenged myself with changes that could potentially have caused an imbalance but instead increased my sense of self achievement and enjoyment. Literature has shown that female leadership in medicine is still disproportionately small which might be due to the barriers of combining work and family (1, 2). Compared with the early 1950s, today the number of women and men who successfully finish medical school is approximately equal. Despite this, a publication by Non-nemaker in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2000 showed that women who enter academic medicine have been less likely than men to be promoted or to serve in leadership positions (3). Some of the individual barriers to career development include the sporadic focus on career advancement, time-consuming child care, family responsibilities, and a woman's tendency toward understatement. Despite these barriers, work–family enrichment has been shown to have a positive spillover effect that spreads positive energy and helps to balance the work–life relationship (4). My communication, teamwork, and leadership skills influence my work and home environments in a positive way. Within my marriage, there is a mutual support that we both rely on as well as recognition of the important role each member plays. If asked, what would we say our strategies for success are in a two career family? First, having a set time for synchronizing schedules; second, frequent verbal support; and third, shared decision making (5). Other strategies that have been reported to play an important role in the medical marriage include defining and recognizing the important roles of each family member (6). For example, determining who does certain chores pays the bills or carpools, it is important to have clarity of our own and our partner's responsibilities. Having shared values with a spouse/partner really defines the foundation of a marriage/relationship and serves as a frame of reference when competing commitments arise or when faced with challenges …

DOI: 10.3389/fped.2016.00018

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@article{Figueroa2016WorkLifeBD, title={Work–Life Balance Does Not Mean an Equal Balance}, author={Mayte Figueroa}, journal={Frontiers in pediatrics}, year={2016}, volume={4}, pages={18} }