Published by Inge Geerdens, on 13/05/2013
Being a female entrepreneur has its upsides, but also its disadvantages. Like having to find an answer to the question I – contrary to my male colleagues ? – get asked a lot. “As a mother of three children, how do you balance your work and your private life?”
This time the question came after I finished giving a guest lecture. I shared my advice on how to be an entrepreneur. I talked about how to learn from failure, how to engage employees, … Afterwards there was time for some questions and answers. In most cases, my lectures are very interactive, so there are always lots of questions. Some of them I love very much. Like: “How did you manage two companies at the same time?” “Didn’t you prefer to manage the new one more than the other?” I like these questions, because these are things I really struggled with and I learned a lot from that.
And then in came the question that everyone wants to ask, but almost no one dares. Maybe because they are afraid it could appear sexist, maybe because they are afraid that asking the question could imply they lack motivation themselves. But this one person stood up and asked: “How do you deal with your work-life balance, while having three children?”
To be honest, I have no idea.
I don’t need a balance; I’m not looking for a way to balance my private life with my professional life. I’m just trying to have a great life. Ever since I started my first company in 2003, my professional life has been taking up a lot of my time. There have been successes, failures, crises, expansions, new developments and the challenges of day-to-day management. Sometimes a crisis forced me to skip a family vacation. Often I came home too late from work to tuck my children in.
Does that mean my children are neglected? Of course not! At some point in our life my husband and I had the feeling we weren’t around enough for our children and we had to make a choice. And we did: we decided I would expand my business, while my husband became a stay-at-home dad helping me as well, but mainly during school hours. We are certain our children receive all the time, attention and care they need, while they also get to see the world, both literally and through stories about economy, failure, struggle, profit, VAT, …
My husband and I make a great team. We found a way to live the life we love, without feeling guilty. So the answer is: I never have to think about a balance. I work with the people I like, I live with the people I love and I love the job I do.
And for this, I am very grateful !
Ik hou van dergelijke artikels, je voelt de drive van een ondernemer, de liefde voor haar gezin en de liefde voor haar job en je voelt dat het altijd goed komt als je iets doet met passie! Doe zo verder, Inge!
Great article! We need more of this.
Very instructive article! It’s an example of how you can find balance in the team, when individuals act as a team.
We need more of this in society today to overcome the challenges we face!
So thank you Inge for this insight!
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