During the Q & A session, a member of the audience asked Dana how she found a healthy balance between her incredibly demanding job and her life outside. Dana’s answer? She didn’t. As White House press secretary, she devoted herself fully to that position, and even now has had to make a New Year’s resolution to start taking her husband’s phone calls while at work.
As I left that evening, all I could think was that as much as I hope to achieve professional success in my life, I absolutely refuse to do so at the expense of my marriage or family.
Like me, I’m sure you’re very often heard couples describe marriage as being a 50-50 partnership. But in my eyes, this isn’t truly the case. I believe being married actually means giving 100 percent of myself, 100 percent of the time. Does this mean I have to give up all of my independence or that I’m no longer supposed to enjoy time by myself? Of course not. But it does mean prioritizing my marriage above any and all other commitments in my life, including work and outside projects.
Here on Capitol Hill, there are congresswomen who will step out of a hearing or meeting when they receive a call from their children or families, making no apologies about doing so. I respect and admire this, mostly because many people wouldn’t have the guts or the professional standing to do something like that. After all, it’s one thing for a congresswoman to set such an example, but in most workplaces, getting up to take a personal call during a meeting would be severely frowned upon, especially when done by a woman. Yes, I feel there are sadly still a lot of double standards when it come to issues such as these.
But finding my own balance and defining priorities has honestly been easy, since I have a very clear picture as to what I value most in my life. If Stephen calls during a meeting, I do most often have to call him back, but I do so immediately afterward. He also knows that if it’s urgent, he can call our main number and ask someone to come get me right away. And when we’re out to dinner or spending time together, I try to avoiding checking my email or taking calls.
After all, when I made a commitment to Stephen, I didn’t only commit to being there part of the time or when it was convenient for me, my bosses, my friends, or anyone else for that matter. I committed to being there all the time, and to giving 100 percent of myself to this marriage. Hopefully, I will never need a New Year’s resolution to help me reaffirm that promise.
How do you achieve a balance between the professional and the personal?
(Photo Credits: Alex Neumann Photography)