Are You Struggling with Work Life Balance? New Study Suggests Gender is a Factor

As I was reading a paper last week, I came across some very interesting information.

Apparently, gender has a direct affect on the success of your business!

If we take away all situational factors, male and female entrepreneurs are equal. But add in real life…and women struggle.

It was suggested [insert sarcastic sneer] that women would find more success if they had more support at home. Specifically, the “redistribution of work in the house and within the family” (Dıaz-Garcıa & Brush, 2010).

Wow.

I guess we have not thought about this yet. Of course, our lives would be easier if we had more help at home. Our lives would also be easier if we had a clone.

note: I'm holding out for a clone, because I don't think I'm getting more help at home.

To find some answers, I've been looking for helpful words of wisdom. So far, I'm disappointed. Suggestions across the internet include:

  • Ditch chasing work life balance. It doesn't work.
  • Set work hours
  • Have fun
  • Work at a desk
  • Get dressed (am not kidding)

WTF?

These are not truly helpful suggestions! They are somewhat obvious, but do not solve our problems. So, to begin our quest to find REAL work life balance, I'm starting with a few truths.

Truth #1: Work Life Balance Matters

This study shows that work/life balance truly matters to women entrepreneurs. According to the study, men and women do not find themselves in similar situations. This means that the daily responsibilities of a male entrepreneur and female entrepreneur, who both have families, are not equal.

This is a bit stereotypical, but this can include…carting kids to ball games, cooking dinner, PTO meetings, doctor appointments, hair cuts, grocery shopping, etc……

So if I, as a women, am responsible for the majority of household/family responsibilities, I will not have the same amount of time to devote to my business. This makes perfect sense to me.

My male counterparts, have more time to devote to building their business. And we struggle to keep up.

Bottom Line: This can directly impact the success of your business. It's a big, big issue. It can sink our business.

Truth #2: We All Have the Same 24 Hours

I can't change the fact that some families do not have an equal distribution of responsibilities. Some dads do more, and some moms do more. We can't expect equality across the board.

But…

We all have the same 24 hours a day. No more, no less. The only way to find more time for your business is to take time away from other duties. Therefore, for you to find more time to devote to your business, you need to find ways to organize your day more efficiently.

Maybe we should stop trying to get equal distribution, and start trying to build better management skills. We do not need to be superwomen, but we do have to find a way to be successful at managing two organizations: our family and our business.

Bottom Line: If you are not good at organizing your life, you will struggle at building your business.

Truth #3: Male Bashing is NOT the Answer

Perhaps this rant seems like I'm male bashing. I am not. What I am doing is looking at the facts and trying to understand an incredibly complex situation. It involves very personal issues like marriage/family dynamics, divorce, economic factors, health, children, education, and business management style. Big, huge issues.

But male bashing is not the answer to this question. Complaining, whining, yelling, and crying about men is never a real answer. Venting may make you feel better, but it does not SOLVE your work/life balance issue.

Is it unfair that women (in general) have more responsibility in the household? Sure, but I can't change that.

Plus, I respect our male counterparts. I do not believe they are doing anything intentionally to undermine our success. It is simply the cultural and traditional structure of our society. Dıaz-Garcıa & Brush state the “business realm is still a masculine environment”. Maybe this seems stereotypical, but that does not mean it's not true.

The answers lie somewhere in creating a system that allows you time to devote to both your business and your family. Wallowing in negative emotions will never uncover any answers.

Bottom Line: We have to take responsibility for our own lives and business. No one can save your business but you. Stop complaining, and let's find some solutions.

REAL Work Life Balance

This is one of the most passionate posts I have ever written. I struggle with this issue daily, and I've got many friends who struggle with the same things. It's ongoing, and it's stressful.

I wish I could level the playing field for everyone. But that's just not realistic.

My goal for this post, and subsequent posts in this topic, is to try to find REAL solutions to work/life balance issues. Something tangible that you can use.

Because this can be a direct threat to your business. And that makes it an educational issue.

Your Turn!

What tools do you use to help you organize your family and business? What are your helpful hints? Have you used anything that did not help?

Liesha Petrovich is passionate about micro business education. Doesn't sound sexy does it? But teaching micro business owners how to create success and freedom is. Learn more at Micro Business Essentials and follow her on Twitter

Share small business news, blogs and social media tips with Project Eve's community of small business owners and entrepreneurs today. Our contributors come from a wide range of backgrounds; so whether you are a small business owner, social media strategist, financial adviser, serial entrepreneur, or write an amateur blog we urge you to contribute a blog to our 350,000+ community today. For more information, please refer to our Content Submissions Guidelines.

Add a Blog

5 COMMENTS

  1. Women should be asking for more “help” at home. (I put it in quotes because I can’t get over how when it comes to husbands and kids, it’s “help” but they live in the same house and share in the same life. It shouldn’t be called help.) As women, we set the tone in the household. More times than not, what Mom wants is what goes. Why are women, in this day and age, still not using those God-given powers? How we run our household and the equality we demand will have an impact on whether we’ll succeed in our businesses. It is our nature to be nurturers and to care for others more than we care for ourselves, and it’s also in our nature to feel guilty about anything we do for ourselves. We must love ourselves enough and believe in ourselves enough to demand support from our husbands and children when it comes to following our aspirations and dreams. We deserve it. We’ve earned it. Why can’t we demand the same support we give to them? We MUST teach our children, with actions, that marriage is about supporting one another and treating each other equally, even helping make each other’s dreams come true. Whatever that thing is that makes us feel alive, be it a hobby, an extreme sport, or a business. As a family, all members should work together and if necessary, sacrifice so that all members of the family feel equally important and fulfilled. It’s our job to teach our children to love themselves, and what better way to do it than by showing them that we love ourselves enough to go after what we want and do what we love? They will in turn be raised to be the same type of support to themselves and their spouses. Something practical? I agree with Liesha’s bottom line #2: “If you are not good at organizing your life, you will struggle at building your business.” Organize your household, discipline your children to do their part in the household. Be it having an older child teach a younger child (help them with homework and such). Create a chore schedule where everyone does their part and pitches in so you’re not screaming for help when it all piles up on you. Don’t let it pile up! I tell my children, you eat and shower every day right? Then you must clean up after yourself every day. Yes, there are times you must let go for the sake of family time or to have “bummin it” time (as we say in our house) but everyone must do their part. Unless you’re rich enough to have servants, household chores must be split equally between family members. Responsibilities with the children must be shared between the parents. After all, you didn’t have the kids by yourself! Someone joined you in this decision. One parent should not get to enjoy all the joys of being a parent while the other does all the work to create the joy. It has to be equal (not a 100% of the time, of course, there is a season for everything). And that’s where the equality issue starts: at home. If more families worked this way, and taught their children about equality along the way, those children would grow up viewing women as equals in the workplace and in business world. People only follow patterns set before them. It’s time we start teaching (really teaching) our children respect, responsibilities, and boundaries early on. This all comes down to being considerate of each other. If you teach your children to be considerate of you, they’re more likely to do it with others. It’s a virtue that seems to have been completely lost. We need to ask ourselves, have we lost it at home?