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Ask Sue
A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem

Balancing Home and Career

Dear Sue: Is it really possible to achieve any type of balance when juggling work and motherhood? I don't know how others are able to manage, but I am feeling stressed all the time. I have two children, a husband, and I work full time. It is hectic all day, from the moment we leave in the morning to the time we come home. There are times I bring work home with me although I try not to as my kids need me to spend time with them and help with homework. I never do anything for myself and feel pulled in too many different directions. What is the secret to achieving and maintaining balance? - Stressed

Sue Says: I am not sure there is a secret or just one thing and unfortunately, achieving a sense of balance is an ongoing struggle for many women. It is tough when you want to be a great mother, great employee, great wife, etc., because there are only so many hours in a day. You need to determine where you want to focus your time and energy when you are not working, and tough as it is, you should really try not to bring work home with you. Many women successfully balance work and motherhood, but give to get. I don't think most people can have it all, but if you are willing to give up something, you will get something in return.

Work at identifying the main cause of your stress. Is it that you feel as though you never get anything done? That you have more to do than you can realistically accomplish, or that you crave time alone and time to rest?

The most important question is determining what you are willing to do to gain more balance. For starters, the first thing you should try to do is to give yourself some time each day to do absolutely nothing. Even if it is just a few minutes, you deserve that time to yourself. Perhaps scheduling and structuring your time a bit more will be helpful. And, don't be afraid to ask for help. You may be surprised how much support you can get at work and at home, if only you acknowledge your stress and are willing to accept the support others offer.

Dear Sue: I am going to quit my job as soon as I have something else lined up. I am sick of the way my company continues to add job responsibility and expecting more of us when at the same time they are taking more and more away. A coworker of mine knows I plan on leaving and the day I announce I am leaving is the day I want to be my last day here. Why do I need to give notice and why should I go out of my way for people who have never done the same for me?

Sue Says: Because you might be sorry that you didn't, but probably won't regret that you did give a two week notice. There is a chance that once you resign that they won't care if you leave earlier, but you should make sure. It is important to leave a job on a positive note when possible as you never know when you might work with people again or in what capacity. It is customary to give an employer a minimum of a two-week notice. This gives you a chance to tie up any loose ends and gives your employer a chance to fill your position and gather any and all necessary information to pass on once you are gone.

Continue to act professionally the entire time of your employment, including the last day. Although it may be tempting to get back at those you feel have treated you unfairly, there is no point in doing so.

Sue Morem is a professional speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. She is author of the newly released 101 Tips for Graduates and How to Gain the Professional Edge, Second Edition. You can contact her by email at or visit her web site at

Send Sue your questions by clicking here: Ask Sue
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