Women have always “worked” from home, but it didn’t always pay the bills.
And in recent years, working from home–once a luxury or a perk–has taken on a new meaning, as more and more people skip out on the commute and fire up their laptop while still in their pajamas.
But what does it really mean to work from home? Can you really have flexibility, balancing home, family and self while reaching your entrepreneurial and professional goals?
Yes! You absolutely can. It’s all about work + life integration.
Work+Life Integration is about intentionally living every moment and integrating your responsibilities and choices into your life — with synergy. It’s a way to design your day – your LIFE – to allow you to be present and fulfilled; NOT overwhelmed and lacking focus both professionally and personally.
Why we need flexibility
We women have eleven billion things to stay on top of each day.
- You’re a caretaker of others: Whether it’s your parents, children, siblings, in-laws, spouse, or other loved ones, you do what you can to meet the needs of others and maintain relationships
- You have entrepreneurial goals, and you’re managing duties involved with maintaining a career (or wanting the professional fulfillment and income that comes from employment).
- You’re trying to take care of and meet your own personal needs — whether that means keeping up your appearance, being mindful of your health, maintaining your home, enjoying hobbies, or just plain relaxing
That’s a lot to be responsible for. We know; we’re doing all those things, too.
But just when you think you’ve hit your stride, life hands you a curve ball: Kids get sick, school gets cancelled, or something happens that shakes up your routine.
How do you work when that happens? With a career that offers flexibility.
Women have taken to incorporating a side hustle, but work+life integration is about more than just the money. What it will bring you is not only flexibility and income. It also empowers you to reach your entrepreneurial goals. It’s about your overall happiness and personal and professional fulfillment.
Why it’s hard to have work flexibility
In general, it’s been difficult for moms to have work flexibility. In years’ past, anything other than a 40-hour a week (or more!) grind has come with a cost. These professional penalties – dubbed “the motherhood penalty” to be exact – happen when women jump out of the 9-5 game for a bit, because it causes gaps on a resume. Or, if you stay in the game and request a bit of flexibility from your work, you can be perceived to have a “lack of focus” on your job. (Crazy, right?!) There are also wage penalties that directly impact your ability to earn for your family.
You may also encounter societal penalties: When someone asks what you do, you say you’re “just a mom.” JUST A MOM?! No. Raising the next generation of contributing members of society is the hardest and most time-consuming job out there!
There’s no such thing as balance
There. We said it. A mindset of having to _balance_ it all implies that each force must have exactly the same weight at the same time or else something is bound to drop. Like a tightrope walker balancing stacks of plates on each hand. Uncomfortable, right? Work+life integration puts the ownership on the woman to manage and achieve on her own. Balance sets women up to fail. Feeling overloaded? Then you must not be balancing correctly. Stretched too thin? Then you’ve made the wrong choices.
Our team believes in blending work + life into one. For us, it’s about rhythm — not balance.
What is Work + Life Integration?
So how is work+life integration different than balance? Is it just lip service?
Just to be clear, here’s what we mean exactly:
WORK: Something you choose to do for professional fulfillment. This can be done for income, or for no pay — whether you have a side hustle, full-time career, or volunteering. (“Work” is not defined by payment)
LIFE: You. Your family. Your household. Your friendships. Your hobbies. Your relaxation. School.
INTEGRATION: Blending together & becoming one. Not doing two different things fully but separately — combining them to where they become whole.
While you CAN multi-task, you CAN’T multi-focus. When you are a work+life integrator, you feel purposeful and in a rhythm or flow. Yes, there are still hard days but with work + life integration, you’re intentional with your choices and guard your time, meaning you can do what really matters to you while offering flexibility to manage life’s curve balls. And if something is out of whack, you have the freedom to re-calibrate.
Meet Marie. We are Marie. Marie lives in what we have dubbed, “Work+Life Integration Nation™”:
To live in the Work + Life Integration Nation™, there are three considerations:
- The type of work you take on: Does it fulfill you?
- How you get it done: Using time management and being resourceful
- Who you choose to surround yourself with: The company you work for, the clients you take on, the people you spend time with personally and professionally
When you live in Work + Life Integration Nation™, your perspective changes from having a “to-do” list to a “GET to do” list. You have greater potential to work in your Zone of Genius, which is where you do what only YOU are uniquely qualified to do; what you LOVE doing; when time passes without you realizing it because what you’re doing energizes your soul.
How to become a Work + Life Integrator
You crave professional fulfillment, but you don’t have 8-10 straight hours a day to devote to your career — and, most importantly, your work needs to fit around your busy life (not the other way around).
WE HEAR YOU. We’re the same way.
The good news is, there is proof of a professional shift taking place to enable women to work on their own terms. Hay There Social Media has been on the cutting edge of this, working with women to identify opportunities for real, meaningful work with businesses that value flexibility and allow women to achieve work + life integration.
At Hay There Social Media, we empower women. And we’re changing the world through our INsiders social media manager training and preparing women to run their OWN social media businesses through our supportive community. On their own terms. Where they can find fulfilling and flexible work and live intentionally in the Work+Life Integration Nation™ with us.
We see you and all your hard work. We welcome you and your skills. We ARE you.
If you want to schedule a call, we’d love to talk!
- Collaboration with Mother Untitled
- Meet Hay There INstructors
- Best ways for women to get back into the workforce
- A Conversation about Flexible Work for Moms with Chicago North Shore Moms
- Local Moms Network Meet a Founder: Emily A. Hay
- Quit Your Day Job Podcast: Emily A. Hay and Ali Spitzer chat with Alisha Fernandez Miranda
- Collaboration with Fair Play Facilitator Laura Danger of That Darn Chat
- A conversation with We Are Rosie: What is the Layer Cake Workforce?
- A conversation with We Are Rosie: Is a Freelance Career a Fit for Me?
- Our Freelance Expertise Published in Fast Company
- Pandemic era parenting: You’ve gained new skills. Here’s how to capitalize on them today.
- Susie Wheldon on the Work + Life Integration Nation™ Video Series with Emily A. Hay