Episode 6 –
Finding Your Work-Life Balance
with Sarah Argenal
“The real key is being aware and being very in tune and conscious about what you’re doing and what works for you and letting go of letting the experts tell you what to do as a parent.”
Finding balance in the many roles we have as parents, employees, spouses, and etc is an ongoing challenge and one that is unique for each of us. Sharon interviews Sarah Argenal on what to do when life feels out of balance and how we can each find our sweet spot. Find Sarah online at WorkingParentResource.com and SarahArgenal.com! If you enjoyed this episode, share it with a friend or let us know by writing a review! Thank you for listening!
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Mentioned in this episode:
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children by Dr. Shefali Tsabary
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
This list contains affiliate links. I only recommend products that I or a guest uses and loves.
Click Here to Ready the Full Transcript
Sharon: Welcome back to the Raiseology podcast. Today we’re speaking with Sarah Argenal. Sarah is the founder of the working parent resource and host of the working parent resource podcast. Sarah consults was busy working parents to stay connected at home while continuing to thrive in their career. Sarah also offers corporate wellness packages to help professionals seamlessly integrate three main aspects of their lives: marriage, parenting, and personal development. She is a frequent guest on business and parenting podcasts, loves leading interactive psychoeducational workshops with busy working parents. Hi Sarah! Nice to have you here. Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
Sarah: Hi. Yeah. Thank you so much for having me today. I am a working mom myself. Um, I, I typically work with other professionals who are juggling both parenthood and a marriage and a busy thriving career. So I started out in the litigation fields about 20 years ago and also simultaneously got my master’s degree in marriage and family therapy in adult development and then a couple of years after that I got a certification as a professional coach. And then beyond that I got a mediation certification and have just done a lot of work kind of in around life balance around managing major life transitions around marriage and relationships, parenting, all of those areas I’ve focused on both as a coach as well as a psychotherapist and then also as a teacher, as a mentor for adolescents. Just I’ve done so many different things. And then I became a mom about five years ago now. And I was again working in the litigation field and kind of trying to juggle like super demanding role there. And then when I became a mom it was really hard for me to figure out how to juggle all of those different things. And I probably took about six months where I thought I could do it all and I could just, you know, no problem. I’ll just kind of fit this kid into my already existing life and it took a few months for me to kind of have a meltdown and realized that that was not how it was going to work and from there I just started going to relying back on my training and my education to find some solutions so that I didn’t have to give up my career, but I could also still be an engaged and involved mom at home and also engaged in loving wife too and also have time for myself and all of these things. And back then the message that I found when I was doing research online or when I was looking for help on Google or things like that was basically that you can’t have it all, you know, working parents, you’ve got to choose, you know, you, you’re either going to be successful at home or you’re going to be successful at work, but you can’t have both. And the main message that I got from that was it, it’s not possible and I didn’t like that message. I am one of those people were. And I know, I think there is a solution and even, you know, just kind of based on my background, I knew that there was a solution, it just kind of was a matter of finding the little tips and tricks that we’re going to work for my life at that point. So that was, that kind of started this whole process of figuring out what’s going to help working parents. There’s a lot of noise out there, there’s a lot of information, there’s a lot of judgment and a lot of it was kind of random messages that may or may not apply to people. So I kind of help people tap back into who they are and what they want out of life. And then I actually helped them practice it. I help them implement that in their life and not just, you know, read a book about it and then go back to their crazy lifestyle, but actually create a life that they love and that fulfills them in all those areas of their life.
Sharon: Yeah. And I find that that support piece is so important for a lot of people. And you know, sure, there are people who can easily pick up a book and read it and implement, but I don’t think that’s most people. I know that in a lot of areas I’ve needed that extra support. It’s important.
Sarah: Yeah. Yeah. And there’s so much going on in people’s lives these days too, just like, you know, just life in general has changed a lot in the last 10 to 15 years where I just feel like everything’s on turbo speed and we’re all connected all the time. And especially a lot of the people that I work with, they’re connected to their phones and their laptops pretty much around the clock, you know, there’s not really a time where they clock out and they’re done, you know, they’re kind of expected to be available all the time and that can just get really exhausting and stressful and it’s hard to figure out where to set boundaries and what’s appropriate now, what’s acceptable, you know, without making someone mad or disappointing other people and kind of dealing with all of that stuff. It’s just kind of just everybody’s kind of just taken on all of these responsibilities in all the areas of their life and it’s really hard to figure out how to balance all of those things.
Sharon: Yeah. I think for some of our listeners do we have certainly working parents that are trying to manage a full time career and having a family with multiple children and then like you said, working on your relationship and even for parents who are, you know, where one parent is a stay at home parent and you might have a feeling that your responsibility is to take care of all these things at home and I find that sometimes those parents don’t give enough time or energy for themselves. What are the main tips that you would offer in order to help alleviate some of that feeling of overwhelm and really create this feeling that I can have it all and I can do it all and I don’t have choose between one thing and another.
Sarah: The thing that worked for me, I kinda like to go back to my own experience because when I became a mom at my modus operandi was to just say yes and then figure out later how to make it all work. And I was always really good at that. That was something that I was pretty skilled at being efficient and just packing a lot into the time that I had available, making it happen, getting things done. And I had a lot of pride in that. It was a lot of my identity. There was a lot kind of wrapped up in that way of operating and one of the really big shifts happen for me. Um, I was kind of doing this research, trying to figure out like what, what needs to change if there’s got to be other working parents out there who are figuring this out. And one of the books I read was Essentialism by, Oh, I can’t even remember his name right now, but essentialism was the name of the book in it. One of the things that he mentioned was we need to figure out a way to cut out the things that are not important to us, you know, that don’t, that aren’t part of our value system and that aren’t really even our agenda. We take on a lot of responsibilities and we spend a lot of time on things that might be other people’s priorities and other people’s agendas and they’re not really ours and that kind of woke me up a little bit too. Yeah. Actually, like I’m doing a lot of things without even thinking about why I’m doing them or if this is something that’s really that important to me. And so the first thing I did was I just started questioning am I taking this on because I’m afraid of the outcome or I’m afraid of disappointing other people or because I really love it and I really want to do it. It really fills me up or I really feel like this is a good use of my time and energy and when I started even just thinking through those things before I committed to doing something that helped release a lot of guilt around, you know, taking on a project and then kind of wanting to flake out on it or being resentful that I didn’t have the time or energy to focus on it that I might not follow through and do a good job on it. You know, there were, there was just a lot of mental and emotional energy wrapped up in me taking on commitments that were really not my business to be taking on and even if they were things that I had done in the past or that I had been really good at in the past, I had to acknowledge that my situation changed when I became a mom and I no longer had the same type of, you know, bandwidth that I did in the past. So that was one of the very first things that really helped me a lot, was looking at my calendar, looking at not only, you know, kind of what was coming up, but even just kind of looking at the past week, two weeks, month, six months, whatever and looking and being like, hey it, does this fill me up. Is this how you know, is this something that I really want to focus my time and energy on? Or am I doing this for other reasons for other people? And so once I started kind of deciphering, yes, this is for me, this is important, this is, you know, furthering a goal that’s important to me or it’s good for my family or, or whatever I could let go of the things that weren’t that important to me and, and just kind of set some boundaries around my time and protect that energy. That was really, at that point, very important to me.
Sharon: Yeah, I think that is really important. You mentioned that you use a calendar and I know that there are some professionals that are also parents that live and die by their calendar and I’ve also met a lot of moms that really don’t have specific routines and don’t, don’t have a specific system for managing everything. I guess how important would you say a routine is and how important are I guess, what is the best way to manage the actual time that you have?
Sarah: I mean, I think that’s everybody kind of has to find the system that works for them, so if they’re not calendar, but I mean I’m, I tend to be kind of a structured type a type personality. I worked in the legal field for 20 years. I kind of and I’ve always kind of had something going on this side, so I’m just one of those people that’s like, I like to schedule my time, know what’s coming up, plan ahead, you know, all of that stuff. And for me, having a calendar really helped me kind of set some really physical boundaries. Like I could see all my calendar. Like, Whoa, you’ve got seven things coming up that day and you know that, you know, four is where you kind of max out on your energy and just kind of being really attuned to that helped me not feel so overwhelmed and burned out. So that’s what worked for me. I don’t think that that’s necessarily going to be true for everybody, you know, I think everyone has their own system. There are a lot of people who may not want to use a calendar and in those cases when I’m working with people, I like to just ask them, Okay, just keep in touch with your energy levels throughout the day. When are you most energetic? What activities are you doing when you’re feeling that energy? And you know, for me, like now as a mom, like it used to be that I was a night owl. I really liked to do a lot of things kind of in the evenings. I go to work out, I’d stay up late at work. I, you know, we all know my laptop until 10, 11:00 at night and all of that changed once my child started waking up at five in the morning. So then, you know, it’s like my, my energy levels after about 3:00 we’re pretty much done, you know, so I stopped scheduling things later in the evening. So I mean even without a calendar, even without having something up in front of you where you’re looking at it, even just kind of getting intentional about what you’re doing with your time. And for me it’s kind of focusing more on the energy, then the time is what became more. I just became more helpful for me. Because when I’m looking at my time objectively I can look at and be like, well I’ve got an hour there so why not fill it? Why not put something in there? But that doesn’t always work for me. You know, sometimes I know that I need to be resting during that hour or I need to just kind of have a, you know, like I’m going to go grab a coffee time for myself or things like that. So for people who don’t necessarily like looking at a calendar, trying to focus on your energy and try and just get, you know, more attuned to what’s going on for you energetically throughout the day. And that can be your guide. And I’m sure that there are a lot of other, you know, ways to do it too. Um, so just kind of finding a system works for you I think is what’s important. Not necessarily like, oh, this is the kind of one of my pet peeves about a lot of the parenting advice out there or time management advice or relationship advice or anything that’s out there is we have a lot of these books or articles or gurus who are saying, this is the way. If you do it this way, you’re going to be good. And I really want to start walking that back a bit and say these are options and what’s really important is getting clear about who you are and what works for you and your family in this moment. You know, it might change over time. So what is most important to you right now? What works for you right now and follow that. Don’t, don’t worry so much about the advice, you know, quote unquote out there because that may or may not fit for you at this point.
Sharon: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. I, I’ve been reading a lot of books lately and it really does frustrate me when I read certain things because they are very black and white and a lot of the advice is like you can never do this and don’t ever do that or you must always do x, y, and Z. and I’m a firm believer that we need to have balance and we need to know what works for us at certain times and really also what works for our children. I have four children. I cannot parent all my four children the same way. I need to know what are all of the tools that are available to me, how can I use those tools effectively, and then really sometimes it’s trial and error, figuring out which tools work best for which child at which moment. And I couldn’t agree more with what you’re saying. It’s challenging sometimes to figure it all out, but it is important.
Sarah: Yeah, and one of the things that frustrated me, it was I’d read the books and I’m again kind of a perfectionist, kind of an academic. Like I, I’m like, oh, I’m a good student. I will read this book and I will implement it exactly as it’s telling me to implement it. And I wasn’t getting the results that it was telling me. If you read this book and do these things, then you will get these results. And I kind of took. I didn’t. I took for granted that I had a unique child. He was his own person and I’m a different kind of mom, you know, like there are all these variables that those books don’t account for and I wasn’t taking that into account when I started trying to implement all of that stuff and I think also we’ve gotten so far away from just listening to ourselves and listening to our kids, listening to our families and it changes all the time. You know, that was another thing. It was like it might work for a week or two and then my kid went through a growth spurt or he was teething or something happened and it didn’t work all of a sudden. And I couldn’t crack the code as to why and I would obsess about it. And it was, it was frustrating. And so when I finally just stopped, and took these books as options and I looked at them as tools in a toolbox that I could kind of pick up and put down as needed. And now I have two boys and it’s, it’s even more important because the more kids you have and just kind of intensifies that complexity and you can pick things up and put things down as you need to. But the real key is being aware and being, being very in tune and conscious about what you’re doing and what works for you and, and kind of letting go of letting the experts tell you what to do as a parent.
Sharon: For sure and I think that being aware and being self aware and knowing what works best for you is so important. So, but I also think that it’s something that a lot of parents have a hard time figuring out. So what are some tips that you might have to help someone figure out what really is important to them or what works best for them in a specific situation?
Sarah: Again, the thing that’s always worked for me is kind of staying in touch with my emotions. So am I feeling resentful? Am I feeling frustrated? Am I feeling angry? Am I feeling exhausted? Am I exasperated? Am I impatient? If I’m those kinds of feelings, that’s a real big red flag that I’m trying to do something for someone else or I’m trying to do something that other people think I should be doing. Or you know, you’re basically, it’s not coming from within me. It’s coming from an external source, so when I start to sense that in myself, I stopped these days. I kind of like put a check in, in place in my life where I stop, slow down and just think about like, where is this coming from? What’s going on? What am I trying to force here that may not need to be, this might not be the right fit right now. What do I need to do instead? And conversely, when I’m feeling happy, when I’m feeling calm, when I’m feeling peaceful, when I’m satisfied, when I’m, you know, joyous and having fun, you know, when I’m in that place, that’s usually I’m on the right track. And so I’ve started using that as a barometer versus like, oh, where’s the checklist in the book on what I should be doing? That kind of thing. Or even getting advice from friends or you know, like the closest people in my life where in the past I would ask them, hey, you know, you’re a parent and you tell me what to do here. They can give advice based on their experience and it may or may not fit for you, so those even you know, people that you trust. Having an understanding of, okay, this is an option and I just need to kind of really stay in tune with how am I feeling, what am I thinking, what’s my experience around all of this and when things are calm, when I’m feeling confident, when I’m feeling like an adult versus a kid who’s kind of thrashing around and having a tantrum about things like that’s where I, that’s one of the very obvious things that I can focus on to determine whether I need to make a change or whether things are going well.
Sharon: Yeah, that’s true and I think that that’s something that a lot of people have a hard time with, right? Who were not really invited to express their emotions growing up and so they have a hard time with that as adults and I think that that contributes to this feeling of overwhelm because you don’t always even know how to express your emotions to yourself.
Sarah: Absolutely. One of my favorite resources or books on this is The Conscious Parent by Dr. Shefali Tsabary and I can send you a link to that or, or whatever if you want for your show notes, but I love her take on it where, you know, we’re not here to um, to mold our children. We’re not here to fix them. We’re not here to even, you know, create, you know, like they, they’re their own people. They’re going to have their own experience. They’re gonna have their own emotions and their own lives. And so our job is really as parents is to become really in touch with ourselves so that we can tell what things were kind of putting on our kids versus just stepping back and giving them the space and the support and the security for them to grow into whoever they’re going to be. And that’s one of the kind of the best foundations that I’ve read or heard about in terms of being a parent where, you know, there’s another thing that I like to talk to people about work with people on is just kind of allowing things to be messy because in the beginning you do not know what you’re doing and it’s gonna feel messy. It’s not gonna feel like you’re good at this. And I wrote A. I wrote a, an article of year or two ago now about perfect parenting and how I feel like there’s all. We have so much information now at our fingertips and it’s so easy to feel like, Hey, the answers are there. I just need to apply them. And then everything will go well, we’ll never have any problems. You know? I’ll always feel confident. I’ll always know what I’m doing. All of that stuff in it. It’s just not true. No matter what. You’re going to go through periods where you just don’t know what is what you’re supposed to be doing. And again, for somebody like me who is really successful in my job and I was good at school and you know, those kinds of things, that was a really tough transition for me where I just kind of, I now I always feel like a beginner because my kids are always changing and they’re always learning and growing and I’m always learning and growing. So just becoming comfortable with just that uncertainty and that messiness of parenting was another thing that just kind of liberated me, you know, I was able to relax and just kind of be in the moment and stay in tune with myself and with my kids and just do my best. And then some things worked and you take note of that and then other things don’t work and that’s totally okay. That’s part of the process. That’s normal, you know, that’s that you’re not doing it wrong, you’re doing it exactly right that way.
Sharon: And it’s important to note that sometimes the things that work today may not work tomorrow.
Sarah: They’ve likely, well that works for your kids, haven’t somehow they have this tendency to just be like, oh, you got that. Okay, now we’re just going to change it all up
Sharon: And it’s interesting that for me as someone who helps parents through a lot of these behavior challenges that they have with their children, I also find that really what I’m working on most is parent mindset and parent behavior really, right? Because our children’s behavior is a direct response to the way that we behave and so it is important to really be in touch with ourselves and our mindset and, and be, uh, aware of what’s going on and why things are happening. And sometimes when you figure out why things are happening, you can find the solution.
Sarah: Yeah. Our kids are there. So in tune us that when we’re not in tune with ourselves or we’re not in tune with them, they can tell and that I found that’s when a lot of the behavior issues come out. That’s when a lot of the stress and anxiety and craziness happens in families is because the parents are quite, they’re, you know, they’re not quite stable with what’s going on. And, and not for him, not because they’re bad, you know, in a lot of cases, you know, we’re all human so we’re all learning and figuring these things out. So if you can kind of, you know, the more you can just sort of roll with that and it just sort of realized like they’re going to be days when I’m frustrated, they’re going to be days when I don’t feel like I’m doing anything right. They’re going to be days when I’m just, I’m not having it. And that’s, that’s part of the journey. That’s part of, you know, you’re again, you’re not doing anything wrong. That’s just part of it.
Sharon: Yeah, for sure. Now for me, you know, I find that I do best when I can disconnect at a certain time of the day from all of my work obligations. And you know, I was fortunate even really in practice to be in the type of job where, you know, when I wasn’t in the office, I really wasn’t working unless I was on call, which was not a very frequent occurrence. I was able to really disconnect and we mentioned briefly before, but a lot of parents don’t have that luxury, right? So you know, I worked with a lot of moms who were in the legal field for example, and they might work part time, but there’s really no such thing as a part time lawyer because you’re expected to be available all the time and so they found themselves working part time for part time pay, but full time hours. So what advice would you have for parents who have those kinds of careers where it’s really hard to disconnect because it’s part of your job, whether you like that part of your job or not, unless you’re going to change your job. This is sort of how it is.
Sarah: This is a huge, I guess a big topic for me. Um, I was in the litigation field for 20 years and until I had kids, I did not mind being on call all the time. I was like, yeah, sure. No, you can be my priority. My husband understands he’s in the field too, like, that’s fine. And then when I had kids I was willing to work around that. I’m like, okay, well you still need me all the time. But what became clear was that my son was who was, you know, it was coming at the expense of not only my son and my relationship with him, but my own health and sanity and then my relationship with my husband and in a lot of things started to just sort of devolve after I became a mom and it was still kind of working just nonstop hours at a law firm. And I don’t think that this is necessarily the key for everybody. But for me, I had to start setting some boundaries. I had to start saying, you know, from five to eight, five to nine, like that’s dinnertime, that’s bedtime. That’s my only time with my son and I have to honor that. And you know, I have to spend that time with him. If I’m on the laptop, if I’m on the phone, if I’m working on things, I’m not present with him, I’m not engaged. He notices it, it just the works. It doesn’t work anymore. So I had to start setting those boundaries and I had to reinforce them over and over and over for years and it just became a part of me training the people that I worked with that, you know, there are just certain times when I’m not available and then, you know, after I was able to do it for a few hours in the evenings, people just started getting used to hey Sarah is not available from that time to that time and for me kind of helping to make sure that there were systems in place to support the people I worked with when I wasn’t available. So I worked with a team of people where I could negotiate where I am, I’m in the office at 8:00 AM and I’m there and I’m working and I’m focused and there are other people who wanted to come in at 10. So we kinda just like shifted it a little bit where they were covering everything till six or seven at night. And they were, there was always somebody that could be contacted if it needed to be that way. And then same thing on the weekends. If it was an emergency, I was okay, you know, we typically had more of a flexible schedule. It was okay for me to jump online for a couple of hours, but when we had things that were going on, I just really tried to communicate with the people I was working with so that they knew I’m not available this time to this time or this day to this day and that it just, I just had to really start focusing a lot more on being more proactive about my calendar and about my schedule. And you know, we were talking about this before. Maybe that’s where my kind of structured life came from where if I want that time for myself, I have to plan ahead for it and I have to tell people about it and then tell them again and again and again. And that’s what worked for me for several years. When I was working full time, I had my family and then I actually had a business on the side as well. So it’s totally possible. But I will also say that I think it depends on the culture that you’re in. I think it depends on the company that you work with and the people that you work with and that might work for some people and then other people might get a lot of pushback for trying to set those kinds of boundaries. And when it came down to it, for me, I was setting the boundaries but it wasn’t part of the culture. You know, a lot of people that I worked with were not used to that. And at some point I just realized that it’s okay for me to leave this, you know, I left my company after I had my second child because I just realized I don’t want to keep fighting this fight. You know, I want to be in a place where I don’t have to have this fight every day or I don’t have to continue setting these boundaries where I’m working with people who understand this or get that. And that just became a part of my life, my life shifted when I became a mom and that, you know, it took me years to become comfortable with that and okay with that and to sort of kind of find a situation that would support that, but you know, that was the decision I made and I think everybody kind of has to look at it and make the decision that’s going to be right for them. But also there’s no judgment around any of it. If you’re somebody who wants to work kind of a split shift where you leave at four and then you get back online at nine. There’s that option, maybe you can talk to your supervisor or your boss or whoever and negotiate to work from home a couple of days a week. Like there are a lot of options out there these days. Um, one of my favorite resources on that is a book called Mompowerment Suzanne Brown and she talked to over a hundred professional women who were parents and who were able to work part time and kind of negotiate sort of a flexible work arrangement and there. So there are a lot of, there were a lot of options out there and I don’t think that they’re widely discussed. That’s another thing that I, I like kind of reminding people and sharing with people is there are ways to create a lifestyle for yourself that works for you. It’s just a matter of, you know, kind of the different configuration for your lifestyle.
Sharon: Yeah. I think that the tip to try to set boundaries with your team and with your employer, really important and you know, everybody that you work with maybe at a different stage of life and what is important for you to do may not conflict with something that they want to do. And so you can really help each other out if you just communicate. And I think part of the problem is that not just moms, even dads, they feel almost awkward communicating that the reason that they want to, you know, make a change in their schedule or not attend a specific meeting or whatever it is, is because of they want to be present for their kids. And in a lot of corporate environments it’s still a little bit taboo and in our country at least, right. I mean I have a sister that lives overseas and it’s completely acceptable for parents, not just moms, parents in general to leave the office at 3:00, go get their kids and then, you know, hop online later in the day. And certainly my sister is available to her job a lot at crazy hours for me. But she enjoys it and she loves it, but she is able, maybe not everyday, but most days to pick her kids up at school and do the things that she wants to do because it’s just culturally acceptable where she is. And I think that that’s something that maybe we should be talking about more because dads want to be present at baseball games and they want to be able to go to soccer practice or you know, watched her child in a recital and you’re not always is it possible to do those things after the time of 7:00 PM and you know, sometimes practice is at 4:00 and not always do they feel comfortable to say that that’s the reason they need to leave earlier or want to leave early.
Sharon: Yeah. This is a big conversation these days because technology has given us the opportunity to continue to work but not sitting in a chair in a certain location at from time to time, you know, from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. And I think a lot of workers these days, especially in kind of the corporate environment, they’re noticing that like I could be doing this job in a way that makes it possible for me to be available to you. The people that I love. And, and also, I mean not just people, parents, you know, people with aging parents who they’re trying to take care of them or those who have a volunteer position that they want to spend time on or you know there’s a lot of people pretty much no matter who you are. But I feel like, especially parents and especially parents to young kids, we have things going on outside of our work that we want to spend time on or we need to spend time on and there is a potential for that flexibility. And I’m finding that more and more companies are becoming more open to that and they’re realizing that if they don’t, they’re going to lose that talent. So I think that it’s become, you know, the trend is kind of going in that direction. I agree, I think it’s going much more slowly than we would like. And that’s one of the reasons I’ve started doing more corporate wellness workshops is because I think this message needs to start getting into companies, you know, this isn’t something where I can just write a book and you know, the right people will read it. I want to go with, you know, I want to go to the source. And I actually started working parent resource years ago now after reading the book, Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg and Arianna Huffington also had a book called thrive at the time that we’re, both of those books were kind of coming out and they were talking about how we need it, this shift in our companies. We need to shift into a healthier lifestyle, healthier way of living. And especially for families, you know, families are breaking up because of the stress we’re putting on them. And what I liked about that is that they were talking about like, we need more women to get to positions of power in these companies so that we can make these changes. And what I realized is that we do need that, but I think even more so, we need people who are not in positions of power just everyday regular moms and dads to come in and stand up and say, you know what, this is not acceptable for me anymore. I need to have a life where I can be a parent. You know, I became a parent for a reason. I have a family and that’s just part of the reality and the more people who stand up and say that the more companies are going to realize that’s the reality and that they can’t really get around that anymore. So I think it’s a slow shift, but I think it is, it’s becoming something that companies are becoming aware of and from what I can tell, the companies who pay attention to that will have a lot more resources in terms of talent management than they would if they don’t figure that out.
Sharon: Yeah, I think you’re right. And I think it’s interesting because I’ve spoken to some high level corporate people in huge companies and one of the things that they say is a challenge for them is that, you know, even if they want to provide certain luxuries or certain benefits. Yeah. For parents or for moms when they come back from maternity leave or whatever it is, you know, lactation support or parenting resources, they do have a limited amount of funds and they feel that their employees that are not parents need to have something to balance that. Right? So if I’m offering breastfeeding services for the moms who are coming back from maternity leave, what am I offering them to the college graduate who just started at our firm and doesn’t really care about breastfeeding services, right? And do I then help the 55 year old man working for us who really couldn’t care about that service either, what am I offering to them? And then I really can’t do it all because I have limited funds. And so it’s really, I’m, I’m not pinpointing corporate America and saying it’s all bad. I understand that there are reasons why we have a slower shift, but I completely agree that there needs to be some sort of change because people are going to leave and if you’re not going to have those people working for you, then 10 years from now they’re still not going to be working for you. Right?
Sarah: Well, even more so, the shift these days, statistically, millennials are way more interested in flexibility and autonomy than they are title and money. So as the workforce becomes younger, you know, as these younger generations leave college and become employees themselves and then start families on their own and those kinds of things, as those things change, just naturally companies are, you know, they’re just not going to have the employees that they need if they aren’t, you know, attuned to this and if they’re not finding a way to support their employees. And I agree, I think, you know, all companies, all companies have a bottom line and they have certain constraints and restrictions that they have to take into account. And so it is a balance on then into for sure, same thing. It’s going to be unique for each company. Every company has kind of a different configuration of needs and desires and goals and they have to take all of that into account when they make these kinds of choices. But what we’re seeing is that there are companies, plenty of companies and some of the most successful companies who are doing it and doing it well. So there is a model for it and the more I think we’re kind of at the beginning of the shift and I think at some point it’s just gonna become the norm for, for many different reasons, but until then it is, that’s again why I’m kind of going into companies themselves to try and not only spread the word that we can do this, but that we can do it without waiting for other people to hand it to us, you know, these are conversations we could be having with our bosses now, you know, in a lot of people aren’t even aware that they could. So I think just kind of putting that out there and starting to give people, to empower people to have those conversations and just to realize that these solutions exist and to get creative and try and present it in a way that will benefit the company because in most cases it does both financially and by, you know, retention and things like that. So there’s a real need for it and I think there’s a real benefit to it as well.
Sharon: Yeah, it’s so true. So I just want to sum up, I guess a few of the main tips that we talked about and I mean I think we, we mentioned that it’s really important to know what we need and be in touch with our own needs and our own emotions and then figure out a way to channel that when we’re presented with an opportunity to do something and just decide if it’s something that is beneficial to us or if it moves us forward in any way. And then communication is really important. We want to be able to communicate with the people that we care about and also the people that we work with or work for and communicating what are our needs are and figuring out how to come to some sort of a compromise whenever that’s possible and really just creating and setting boundaries. And I think that that’s a really important thing really in every area of life and figuring out where those boundaries need to be and really enforcing them and sticking to them whenever possible.
Sarah: Yeah, and one last thing I’d like to just kind of throw in there too is just as parents were modeling these things for our kids, so the, you know, like when I feel guilty about taking time for myself or when I feel guilty about protecting my family time from my career or, or just anything else that’s going on and you know, I’m not, I know not everyone listening is a working parent, so just no matter what you’ve got going on, life is just busy for everybody these days and to show our kids that you don’t have to live this frantic, frazzled, crazy lifestyle that you can kind of set some boundaries and have things in place. Pay attention to your energy and your focus and your attention and just decide you’re going to manage your time and be okay. Saying no to people. It’s, you know, it’s hard to do, but as parents I feel like we have a responsibility not only to ourselves but to our kids and to our families to do that. And, and it’s okay. It’s a good thing to do that.
Sharon: Yeah. And it’s great for them to see that we’re putting our needs at the as a priority and hopefully they will do the same for themselves one day. Right?
Sarah: Yeah, absolutely. That’s, that’s how they learn. It’s the only way.
Sharon: So Sarah, if people want to hear more of what you have to say and maybe read some more stuff from you or connect with you, what’s the best way to reach you?
Sarah: WorkingParentResource.com is kind of the hub for all of my, you know, integrating your career in your family life. Um, we have a podcast or a blog. We have free resources, we have free challenges, guides, all sorts of fun things over there. Um, and then also SarahArgenal.com is where I talk a lot more about kind of how to integrate marriage and parenting in with your personal development. And I do a lot of my corporate wellness work over there too. So depending on where you’re at and what you need, I’m there to different places for you to go check out.
Sharon: Great. Thank you so much for being here. And I really enjoyed chatting about this and I’m hopeful that the listeners will find it useful and helpful
Sarah: I really appreciate it. Thank you so much for having me. It was so much fun.
Outro: Thanks for listening to the Raiseology podcast. Head over to www.Raiseology.com, where you’ll find plenty of You’ve got this resources for parents and any links or tools mentioned in today’s show. Be sure to hit subscribe on your podcatcher so that you can listen to the next episode, the minute it’s out. Until next time, have an empowered week.
Meet Your Mentor
Sharon is a general pediatrician, loving wife and mother to 4 daughters.
After a decade of practicing general pediatrics and working with families, she realized there often wasn’t enough time while tending to children’s medical needs to help parents in the way that would be most helpful in shaping their children’s futures.
The Raiseology Program was developed to teach parents how to raise their children with the love and authority necessary to promote resilience and responsibility.
Sharon’s experience with hundreds of families as well as her own help her meet you where you are on your parenting journey to help you make it what you want it to be.
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