There is the professional you and the parental you. It makes sense that we try to keep these things pretty distinct and separate. We call this “boundaries” or “work life balance.” And it’s good that we try to leave our work at the office when we head home.
But one way we can help other parents—or prospective parents—is by making sure that we don’t leave our kids at home…figuratively anyway. By talking about our kids, by putting pictures of them up on our walls, by being honest and upfront about trying to balance our careers and family, we are all helping each other.
For too long, parents have had to struggle in silence. They’ve been overwhelmed or burned out. They’ve wrestled with priorities. They’ve worried, they’ve hurt, they’ve wondered what the hell they were going to do. They’ve done all this alone even as the person in the office next to them was going through the same thing, even as the boss was wondering the exact same thing about their kids.
We can all help each other if we end this charade. We can help the men and women we work with by creating an environment that’s open and safe, that doesn’t pretend we aren’t all trying to work two jobs at the same time or that we have some secret life once we clock out. We can help model what it means to be a good spouse and good parent. Our families matter to us–they are what matters most to us.
Be upfront about this. Be open about this. And you’ll help other people do the same.