Can women have it all? We like to think so! But being able to stay on top of all aspects of our lives, all the time, can be tricky. We chatted to Christelle Fourie, Managing Director of MUA Insurance Acceptances about whether we can really survive the boardroom-home balance.
‘I don’t think that women can have it all. We pretend we can have it all,’ says PepsiCO Chief Executive Officer, Indra Nooyi. Her honesty highlights the real challenges that women face when it comes to balancing a successful career and personal life.
Christelle Fourie, Managing Director of MUA Insurance Acceptances, says that most women can relate to this sentiment. ‘When a woman starts to excel in the work environment, her duties at home as a wife or a mother will be severely tested.’
‘While many women like to think they’re okay with running both their home life and their careers, many women who pursue their careers at an executive level will have to make several personal sacrifices in order to be successful in their job,’ says Christelle. ‘Top managers regularly have to work late, or even bring their work home with them, in order to get their work done, which means that time at home will be neglected.’
Christelle says that in order to pursue a top-level career, women must be highly organised in both their business and personal lives. ‘In addition, it is vital to have a good support structure in place that can assist with taking care of family needs, so you can focus 100% on your work while at the office and enjoy your time when you are at home.’
When it comes to scheduling family time and work time, try not to work long hours but rather put in extra hours in the early morning when everyone is still peacefully at sleep, says Christelle. ‘Never underestimate the impact a successful career may have on the family life balance – know you will have to make many personal sacrifices to enjoy the thrill of a successful career.’
It’s also important for women to schedule their own ‘me-time’. ‘Whether this means an extra early trip to gym in the morning before work and school starts, or hiring a baby-sitter to attend a class you’ve always wanted to attend, it is important that women to also have their own relaxation time so that they do not feel they are only being pulled between the home and workplace.’
‘The challenge of balancing a personal life with a very successful work life is not an easy one. Both roles require extreme amounts of time and effort from an individual, especially when this individual is a wife and a mother. The reality is that the advantages of a successful career comes with various personal sacrifices, but through effective planning and support it is possible,’ says Christelle.