in the 21st century, we often hear the words, “Go big or go home.” The implication being this: in order to accomplish anything in the public realm – a career goal, training for a marathon, or a summer full of partying – you have to forsake domestic life. This one little sentence presents public success and a satisfying home life are presented as mutually exclusive. This is particularly true for women, who still find themselves earning less if they become mothers. If they’re in heterosexual relationships, ladies also do more of the household chores, even when they’re employed outside the home.
For millennials who grew up watching sitcoms that poked fun at women’s (always fruitless) attempts to “have it all,” the idea a happy home-life and a thriving career can’t co-exist sometimes feels like a truism. After all, the only dad we witnessed do equal – or more – parenting than his co-parent was Full House’s Danny Tanner, and that’s only because his wife was dead.
So, how do we get around the silly assumption that no one (particularly women) can truly have a happy home life while killing it at work? Enter Avery Swartz, Canadian marketing wiz, feminist hero, bestselling author, and social media personality extraordinaire. In addition to her considerable professional success, Avery’s also been blissfully married for fourteen years. On this week’s installment of You Do You: A Dating Podcast, one of our favourite ladies gives us advice on how to keep your relationships strong while your career heats up. To hear all her wisdom, you’ll have to listen to the full interview. However, we’ve also summarized memorable kernels of wisdom to whet your appetite!
1. Plan Ahead
Before entering a busy period, create a game plan. If you have a partner, give them a heads up about how your schedule is about to change. Will you stay late at the office through all of February to finish a big project? Will you have to bail on tasks like picking up your kids or running errands? These are only some of the questions to ask and answer. Yes, relationships are meant to be reciprocal, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be equal one hundred per cent of the time. There could be a months-long stretch when you’ll have to act as the supportive partner, and sometimes you’ll be the one who needs more support.
It’s totally okay to lean on your partner when you need to focus on your career; however, part of planning ahead for a busy period involves assessing their limits. Here, honest communication is key. What can they do for you and what can’t they? More importantly, figure out if there’s anything you can do for your partner before or after crunch time. Avery’s wonderfully supportive husband was happy to see her go on tour to promote her new book about digital marketing for small business, See You On The Internet. But he did have one request – that they still make time for a winter vacation somewhere sunny. Avery agreed to the holiday, and everyone was happy!
2. Don’t Hold Yourself To Impossible Standards
While Avery loves spending quality time with her daughter, she doesn’t hold herself to impossible standards. If she’s about to give a keynote speech for five hundred people, and the school calls to say her kid is sick, Avery’s okay letting her husband pick up their offspring. As long as your loved ones are cared for, it doesn’t matter if you’re not always the one to provide the care.
Now that her daughter is eight, Avery’s started explaining patriarchy to her daughter. When she can’t be at her child’s school for a parents’ event inconveniently planned for the middle of the work day, Avery simply explains, “The world is set up so mummy loses.” Sometimes it’s best to resist sexist expectations that mothers always drop everything to be there for their kids. Some people say, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Here at You Do You we’ve changed that saying to this: “Don’t sweat the sexist social constructs.”
3. Accept That Your Life Will Have Seasons
Avery Swartz’ philosophy is that life “has seasons.” What does that mean? Well, there are times when you’ll be focused on your career, just like there are phases when you’ll be more concerned about your family or your own health. Having it all doesn’t have to mean doing it all at once. You’re allowed to move at different speeds at different times. Sometimes you might need to take a break from going full throttle at your career, just like there will be times when professional success is your primary mission.